The conference was attended by medical and health journalists, scientific journal editors, physicians, industry representatives, government officials, public information officers, public relations professionals, patients and representatives of patient advocacy groups.
"Reports on medicine and health consistently rank among the top five topics covered by national and local media," says William Lanier, M.D., one of three co-chairs of the conference. "The goal of this conference was to bring together all facets of the medical news dissemination process in hopes of identifying ways to more effectively serve the public."
The conference, attended by more than 400 participants, started with a keynote address by Secretary Tommy Thompson, United States Department of Health and Human Services, on the nation's preparedness for bioterrorism. The remainder of the conference included case studies and panel discussion groups that stimulated significant debate.
Pat Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Service, one of three conference co-chairs, led advisory panel members and attendees in review of the conference's preliminary observations at the conclusion of the conference. Preliminary key observations included: