Public Release: 

Those involved in medical news invited to join an unprecedented gathering of experts

National conference presented by Mayo Clinic in September will assess the medical news dissemination process, audience interests and lead to formulation of recommendations and observations

Mayo Clinic

Sponsors of the conference are the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mayo Foundation, CONUS Communications, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and the Tom and Edwina Johnson Family Foundation.

ABC News Nightline host Ted Koppel will moderate two of the conference's seven panel discussions, including the opening night overview of the medical news dissemination process. During the opening night session, Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Polls, will highlight results of surveys tracking the public's expectations of medical news.

Medical, science and health journalists; editors of medical and scientific journals; Internet medical and health news providers; physicians and scientists; public relations professionals and public information officers; representatives from associations, industry and government; specialists in medical ethics; patient advocates and patients are invited to register attend the conference.

A series of presentations and roundtable discussions, led by national news media leaders, communications experts and government and industry representatives also will be part of the weekend agenda.

"Rarely do the sources of national health-care news have the opportunity to talk to media gatekeepers about ways to create win-win situations that satisfy the public's thirst for health-related information," says Tom Johnson, past chairman/CEO of CNN News and one of the conference's three program chairs. "This event is designed to help everyone involved in the process more reliably communicate news of medical and scientific discovery and health information."

Pat Mitchell, President/CEO, Public Broadcasting Services and Bill Lanier, M.D., Editor, Mayo Clinic Proceedings also will serve as program chairs for the conference.

Panels will include:

  • Whose Information Can Patients Trust?: An Overview of the Medical News Dissemination Process Moderator: Ted Koppel, ABC News Nightline

  • Mammography Screening: Conflicting Information About A Controversial Exam Moderator: Ted Koppel, ABC News Nightline

  • Lunch & Ombudsmen Hearing: Who Monitors the Media? Moderator: Gary Gilson, Executive Director, Minnesota News Council

  • The Patient Perspective Moderator: Sanjay Gupta, M.D., Medical Correspondent, CNN

  • The Influence of Money on the Message: Managing Inevitable Conflicts Moderator: Joanne Silberner, Health Policy Correspondent, National Public Radio

  • Formulating Observations and Recommendations Moderator: Pat Mitchell, President /CEO, Public Broadcasting Services

A special free pre-conference educational session for journalists only is scheduled on Friday, Sept. 20, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Topics will include:

  • Politics of Science: How Politics and Government Policies Affect Medical Research
  • Animal-to-Human Organ Sharing: The Frontier of Transplantation?
  • Gray Matters: Research on Aging
  • Women's Health Issues: Why Treat Women Differently
  • Pharmacogenetics: The New Era of Personalized Medicine
  • How will HIPAA Impact Health Care?
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Clinical Research Trials
  • Full-Body CT Scans: Are We Getting the Full Picture?

The conference will be held on Mayo Clinic's downtown campus in Rochester, Minn., located 80 miles southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Tuition is $475 for reservations placed before Aug. 21 and $525 thereafter. Scholarships will be awarded to the first 80 credentialed journalists on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply for a scholarship, to register for the conference or to find more information, go to the event Web site at or call 507-284-5005.


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