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December 21, 1994

Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1994;272(23):1871. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520230081048

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This sometimes on-target but largely off-target book seeks to discredit the major health charities such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society. If the authors are to be believed, because of the health charities, scientific progress in cancer research has been impeded, fortunes have been siphoned off for personal gain, and the public is a dazed, confused, hypochondriac horde.

The authors present some powerful facts, which we should all seriously examine. The major health charities support educational programs for health professionals and public education of sometimes dubious quality, which the authors rightly suggest is often thinly veiled fund-raising. Other expenditures include items such as buildings, automobiles, endowment investment, and savings for future programs. The authors' viewpoint is that all such expenditures are improper. They believe health charities should function in a continuous "war mentality" and spend every dollar as though it were the last. They

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