I am pleased to launch the first of many Medscape columns to come on the subject of preventive medicine. The writers will be members and fellows from the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), a national medical specialty founded in 1954. ACPM actively promotes the practice, teaching, and research agenda of preventive medicine. ACPM's members are committed to preventing disease and promoting the health of the individual, the community, and the nation.
ACPM's members, who specialize in occupational medicine, general preventive medicine/public health, or aerospace medicine, hold clinical, research, teaching, administrative, and leadership positions in public agencies, managed care organizations, industry, the military, and academia. ACPM works closely with many governmental and nongovernmental agencies to strengthen the practice of preventive medicine, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Preventive medicine is becoming more and more prominent. Never has there been more attention by the public, the media, government, health professionals, and health plans focused on prevention. My main complaint is that too many people are still saying "preventative medicine." Please help me to educate the world that the extra "ta," although in the dictionary as an alternate spelling, is not needed.
The Internet has become an exciting means of informing consumers, clinicians, and others about prevention, self care, and evidence-based tools such as the Guides to Clinical and Community Preventive Services (see Resources section below). Prevention and self-care books, magazines, and newsletters continue to sell well and enjoy large readerships.
National organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, although often devoted to a single disease or system, are also promoting preventive medicine in a big way. National measures, standards, and goals such as Healthy People 2010 and the Health Employer Data and Information Set (see Resources section below) have focused enormous attention on preventive medicine. What gets measured gets managed, so metrics such as immunization and mammography rates are often in the news.
The Partnership for Prevention (see Resources section below) has produced groundbreaking, widely acclaimed studies about evidence-based priorities in preventive services and policy interventions. Even cure-oriented subspecialists are beginning to appreciate the value of prevention, spurred on by the tertiary prevention practiced in disease-management programs.
Let's have some fun and look ahead to the year 2010 at "A day in the life of Dr. I. M. Wired"...
So here is my bigger vision for the year 2010:
Accomplishing these goals will require a lot of new thinking and a willingness to change. And I don't mean change as reflected by Dilbert's quote. He said, "Change is good. You go first!"
With the renewed dedication and commitment of you -- Medscape's dedicated readers -- this vision can become reality. Thanks in advance for the opportunity to share important, timely prevention information with you in our new monthly column.
Guides to Clinical and Community Preventive Services
Health Employer Data and Information Set
Partnership for Prevention