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Healthy Skepticism Announcements

Annual General Meeting 3 November 2009

The 2009 Healthy Skepticism Annual General Meeting will be held at 6:30 pm Adelaide time on 3 November 2009 in the Department of Psychological Medicine, Womens and Childrens Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia. This is a postponement of 2 weeks from the previously announced date.


If you plan to attend please let .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) know for catering purposes.

If you can’t attend in person and If you are a 2009 Paid or Honorary Member you can allocate a proxy vote to some one who is attending by sending them an email saying so, so that they can print it out and bring it to the meeting.  So far attendees include:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

According to our records your membership status is: Management Group
and your payment status is: Former

If you are planning to attend and would like to collect proxy votes please let Peter know so that all members can be informed.


i) confirmation of the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting

ii) consideration of the accounts and reports of the Management Group and the auditor’s report

iii) election of Management Group members

There are 3 vacancies. So far 3 members have nominated for election:

Vance Berger
Mathematical Statistician
Biometry Research Group, National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, MD, USA

Juan Gérvas
Rural general practitioner, Canencia de la Sierra, Garganta de los Montes and El Cuadrón (Madrid), Spain.
Visiting Professor, Primary Care, International Department, National School of Public Health (Madrid), Spain.
Honorary Professor, Public Health, School of Medicine, Autonomous University (Madrid), Spain.

Nicolas Rasmussen
Associate Professor
School of History and Philosophy
University of NSW, Australia

If there are not more nominations then those 3 members will join the management group without an election being required.

iv) appointment of auditors
v) any other business

We are not having a speaker this year. This will allow more time for member’s questions.


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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963