In her talk, Snyderman encouraged the mostly female audience to take charge of their well-being and become informed participants in their health-care decisions, and she stressed the importance of science in making decisions about health care. She advised that:
If you don't have a great relationship with your physician, divorce your doctor and find one you can have a good relationship with.
Snyderman also discussed the increasing problem of health information being politicized. She cited the reaction to the controversial November 2009 recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women in their 40s not get routine mammograms. The recommendation was based on studies showing the tests were not accurate enough to warrant the unnecessary procedures and worry they instigated. Snyderman said:
Within 24 hours, people came out saying that women are going to be denied mammograms tomorrow. What was lost in the message is that we are all individuals. For most women, it's just not a particularly accurate test.
A medical correspondent for ABC News for nearly two decades, Snyderman is author of Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life. Last December, she was a guest on the School of Medicine's 1:2:1 podcast series, where she discussed common medical myths as well as the difficulty of communicating health-care news to a skeptical public.
Video from the presentations from the forum will be available here after the event.
Previously: Dr. Nancy