Fight censorship of scientific terms by the Trump Administration

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To: Captain William MacKenzie, MD, Acting Associate Director of Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We are concerned about an article published in the Washington Post on Friday December 15, 2017 (“CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity”) that reports the CDC has received direction from the Trump administration to censor all use of the words "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based" from CDC budget reports and other official documents.

 As public health scientists, we must be free to use language that clearly communicates scientific information and establishes common vocabulary for sharing scientific findings. It is hard to imagine how to research developmental malformations without using the word “fetus”; how to explain differential health outcomes without using the word “vulnerable”; or how to convey the credible substance of scientific findings without using phrases like “evidence-based” or “science-based.”

 We refuse to participate in this political game which is clearly an attempt to influence the content and substance of public health research. We will continue to use any and all words that effectively communicate the substance of our important work to improve the health of the U.S. population. We strongly encourage you, as a leader in the public health field, to take a strong position against this censorship as well.



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