Dr Harriet Hall and her 26 "Founding Fellows" created the "Institute of Science in Medicine" [ISM] in mid-2009 as a "501(c)(3) organization for US federal tax purposes" registered in Colorado.
It self-describes as:
ISM is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting high standards of science in all areas of medicine and public health.and in PDF files includes:
Institute for Science in Medicine, Inc. (ISM) is an international, educational and public-policy institute, incorporated in the State of Colorado, and recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization for US federal tax purposes.The local Australian variant, "Friends of Science in Medicine" [FoSiM] self-describes as:
Our Association was formed at the end of 2011 out of concern about the increasing number of dubious interventions, not supported by credible scientific evidence, now on offer to Australians.
- Dr Hall appears in the first list of "Friends", January 2012.
- The "mini-me" relationship extends further with their DNS names:
- Dr Hall's group has the obvious website name:
- Where the local "mini-me" has a website name unrelated to it registered name, "Friends of Science in Medicine", but exactly congruent with being the local arm of ISM.
- There is a test/development site at:
If you read the first policy document of ISM [PDF] as a Declaration of Intent, it finishes with some very worrying 'Recommendations':
This unambiguous Declaration of Intent gives the ISM, and it's mini-me, FoSiM, a specific Agenda:NEEDED POLICYThe world’s health care systems need to be rooted in a single, science-based standard of care for all practitioners.Effective, reliable care can only be delivered by qualified professionals who practice within a consistent framework of scientific knowledge and standards.Practitioners whose diagnoses, diagnostic methods, and therapies have no plausible basis in the scientific model of medicine should not be licensed by any government, nor should they be allowed to practice under any other regulatory scheme.Any statute permitting such practices should be amended or repealed as necessary to achieve this policy.Unscientific practices in health care should further be targets of aggressive prosecution by regulatory authorities.
- It is an explicit recognition that this is a Political not Academic or Scientific 'debate'. In no way are either of these bodies "Educational" or "about Science". They are only Political Lobby groups, yet aren't registered as such.
- ISM/FoSiM want nothing less than making the practice of "Alternative" Medicines illegal ["change of statues"] and practitioners subject to "aggressive prosecution".
- Who will judge what has, and has not, a "plausible basis in the scientific model of medicine"?
- They don't define either "Science" or it antithesis, "Pseudo-Science", i.e. on the formal, strict basis for this rather extreme decision.
- There seems to be no idea of Professions being able to defend themselves on any other grounds but an undefined "scientific model" and seemingly without means of Appeal or cause for Redress.
- What isn't spelled out here, but is noted on the FoSiM site, is the assumed Dawkins Appropriation: anything ISM and their "mini-me"s decide is "Medicine" is automatically included in their Field of Practice. Which, by definition, makes that practice or technique now illegal for any other Profession to practice.
Having an organisation like FSM to kick-start a public debate about the value of science in healthcare is invaluable.
So to the extent that FSM can get the media and the general public thinking about how much they might value science as opposed to pseudoscience in their healthcare it can only be a good thing. That’s why I stopped sitting on the sidelines of the debate and signed up when I found out about them.No, this is not a "debate", this is not something of little concern, an effort of well-intentioned, altruistic experts. It is anything but that.
ISM and their clones want any type of Healthcare they declare "not science" to be illegal, and practitioners "aggressively pursued". Once started, this is a very slippery slope.
Ultimately, internal Politics reliant on funding and 'connections' will determine what treatments are allowed and which will be deemed "unscientific".
The world of Medical Politics is already riven with such extreme dysfunction and violent internecine warfare that few outsiders understand how bad it is.
This campaign by ISM is hard-core Political Lobbying by the dominant Healthcare Profession for exclusive control of the domain.
They seem to not be happy with having captured over 99% of the Healthcare Dollar and now want everything, presumably in anticipation of making a grab for a much larger slice of our income.
After all, you wouldn't want to die from poor Medical care, would you?