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March 7, 2007

Political Activity of US Physicians—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(9):951-952. doi:10.1001/jama.297.9.951-c

In Reply: Dr Umscheid raises an important question: how should political activity as a responsibility or attribute of medical professionals be defined? We assumed a relatively narrow definition focusing on health-related concerns, whereas Umscheid takes a broader view that includes any political activity.

We contend that in a democracy, general activism in politics is a responsibility shared by all citizens, whether or not they are professionals. The majority of the 37 physicians that Umscheid et al1 surveyed, all primary care physicians in an urban university practice, were fulfilling their citizenship responsibilities by contributing time or money to political campaigns as well as discussing political issues with patients.

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