Healthy Skepticism

The Medicine and the Media program at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice helps journalists, policymakers, physicians and the general public develop “healthy skepticism,” a more balanced view of medical care.

Our research seeks to clarify the evidence: What are the benefits, harms and uncertainties of prescription drugs?

  • How extensive is the problem of overdiagnosis?
  • How much exaggeration is there in medical news, drug ads and public service announcements?
  • How can medical journals and journalists do a better job communicating the results of research to the public?
  • What are the most effective ways to present health statistics?  

In addition, we teach journalists to approach medicine as skeptically as they do politics by teaching them how to interpret and present scientific information.  We also work with policymakers to adopt policies that standardize and improve how evidence is communicated to doctors and patients, such as the Prescription Drug Facts box that was incorporated into the Affordable Care Act.  And we reach out directly to the public through books, op-eds and essays to help them to develop the skills needed to see through exaggeration and help them make good health decisions.



Prescription Drugs
Medicine in the Media
Documenting Exaggeration
Science of Effective Risk Communication


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