About Us

What is HealthNewsReview.org?

The mission of HealthNewsReview.org is to improve the public dialogue about health care by helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions and by promoting the principles of shared decision-making reinforced by accurate, balanced and complete information about the tradeoffs involved in health care decisions. HealthNewsReview.org evaluates health care journalism, advertising, marketing, public relations and other messages that may influence consumers and provides criteria that consumers can use to evaluate these messages themselves. Improving the quality and flow of health care news and information to consumers can be a significant step towards meaningful health care reform.

What HealthNewsReview.org is not

We are not equipped to host a definitive forum on medical science.  We don’t give medical advice.  We are not an advocacy group.  Our hands are more than full “simply” with the job of reviewing daily health care news stories, journal practices and health care advertising, PR and marketing messages.  Almost every day, someone urges us to expand our scope of work beyond our capabilities and comfort limits – limits partially set by the reality of having a small editorial staff and a set budget.  We can’t review every story or every promotional message that we see.  The tsunami of health care information each day is simply too overwhelming.  Thanks for understanding.

Free from industry influence

HealthNewsReview.org does not accept advertising, nor do we accept funding from any entity whose support would represent a conflict of interest. We’ve written extensively about how such conflicts of interest erode trust in journalism and negatively impact the quality of medical care. We want readers to know that our content has not been influenced – directly or indirectly — by any commercial interest, and that the information you find here represents our best and honest effort to report the truth.

In addition, all of the expert contributors to this project pledge that they do not accept payments from drug or device companies or from any commercial entity whose support might represent a conflict of interest. We think it’s vitally important that the public receive objective, independent analysis of health care claims, which is why we recruit only independent experts to participate on our team. We also host a more extensive list of industry-independent health care experts for other journalists to quote in their stories. When we quote someone who’s not a member of our team, we’ll ask them about any financial interests they may have in the topic we’re writing about, and disclose those interests in the article.

How is HealthNewsReview.org funded?

In 2015, the project began benefiting from a generous two-year grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.  We are grateful for their support, and applaud their interest in research integrity.

From June, 2005 to July, 2013, the funding for HealthNewsReview.org was provided by the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.  We will always be grateful for the generous support from the Foundation over such a long period of time.

No funder has ever had, nor will they ever have, any editorial control over the operation of the project.

Through the years, many people have asked how they can make a donation.  In January, 2015, we have finally introduced a GIVE NOW button on the site, which takes you to a web page that allows you to make a donation. Any gift will be used to help support the operation of this project.  Thanks in advance for your interest and support.

I’m touched by the very first gift to come in the door – from my longtime friend and mentor, Dr. John E. (Jack) Wennberg.  Jack, the father of the Dartmouth Atlas, and early promoter of shared decision-making, is now Active Emeritus Professor of Community and Family Medicine in the Dartmouth Medical School and Active Emeritus Professor of The Dartmouth Institute.  He made a generous financial donation, after already consistently making a generous intellectual donation whenever I’ve been in his presence.

Where did the idea come from?

This website is modeled, in large part, upon the pioneering effort begun by an Australian team that launched the Media Doctor Australia website in 2004. We are grateful to David Henry and the Media Doctor team for sharing their ideas and perspectives with us. The Australian effort was also the inspiration for a Media Doctor Canada site.  Unfortunately, both the Australian and Canadian projects have shut down because of a loss of funding. Other similar sites launched in Germany, Hong Kong and Japan. The German site is the most active of these.


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