The Policy of Truth.

In the current climate of unbridled spewing of alternative facts (aka half-truths and untruths), practitioners of clinical medicine remain morally rooted in their efforts as public health advocates in the application of peer-reviewed scientific clinical research to patient care 1 . The provisions and recommendations of Model State Vital Statistics Act and Regulations form the basis by which States systematically, via policy-driven legislation, collect key pieces of information regarding human earthly milestones, namely birth, marriage, divorce, and death 2 . Maintaining records of these milestones with issuance of certificates not only allows individuals and families to fulfill certain legal requirements but also assists local, state, and national governments in evidence-based policy-making and fund allocation. Diagnostic and procedural information contained in medical records, autopsy reports, and cause-of-death information listed on death certificates are vital elements of public health policies 3,4.

As medical practitioners, we are all advocates for the truth.



  1. Fleming DA. The moral agency of physician organizations: meeting obligations to advocate for patients and the public. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(12):918-21.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics. Model State Vital Statistics Act and Regulations. .
  3. Ollove M. To Make Better Policy, States Seek Better Death Certificates. .
  4. Armstrong EJ. 2017. Essentials of Death Reporting and Death Certification-Practical Applications for the Clinical Practitioner.

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