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February 17, 1999

Licensing Boards and the Stigma of Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(7):606-607. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-7-jbk0217

To the Editor: I applaud Dr Miles'1 courage and clarity in reporting his persecution by the Board of Medical Practice.

Many others have been caught in this web when private information is disclosed during the process of applying for staff privileges. To help avoid this conflict, I use an approach that has worked without fail during my 22 years as a residency program director. When asked to respond to written questions regarding psychiatric problems or treatment I left the space blank and attached the following: "All of our residents and faculty have emotional problems. Some are sensible enough to seek professional help. If I believed Dr X's problems interfered with his/her ability to perform the duties of the position he/she is applying for, I would tell you."

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