I agree with the group of doctors calling for the removal of Dr. Oz from his faculty positions at Columbia University in that an academic evaluation needs to be made as to whether there is legitimate evidence to suggest the celebrity doctor has upheld his academic credentials and mission as a medical leader.
The group, made up of physicians from various medical universities throughout the country, has accused Oz of an “egregious lack of integrity” for promoting what they call “quack treatments.” Columbia University responded by saying it “is committed to the principle of academic freedom.”
Oz is currently vice chairman and professor of surgery for the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, meaning he is training America's future surgeons while, as recent reports have shown, spouting out weight loss advice that is not backed by science. Columbia University is consistently ranked among the top U.S. universities for medical research, and so its medical faculty is highly esteemed in the overall field of medicine. Because Oz has clearly prioritized his fame at the expense of factual accuracy, I think it is only appropriate to call into doubt whether he needs to be part of the faculty of Columbia University.
Oz has chosen to become a celebrity doctor on the back of medical information that is highly superficial and sensational. Rather than putting forward information that really tackles serious medical issues in the world, he has opted to entertain and create a forum for celebrity spokespeople and supplement companies -- which keep pushing products onto the American populace -- but with the absence of real, hard scientific facts.
I know that serious medical news is not sexy. But medical journalism should not be sexy. It should be factual, yes, sometimes boring, sometimes confusing -- but that's what medicine is. And to me, Oz has put his personal celebrity status in front of what all doctors' mission should be.
Now, I know a lot of people may perceive these comments as jealousies because, certainly, I don't get invited to Hollywood parties or make the front cover of People magazine. But when you have serious doctors that wake up every morning and publish scientific papers, conduct scientific research, and deal with clinical issues day in and day out quietly in the background of academic medical centers, and these doctors have said, "We have had enough," I have to agree that their request is a legitimate one. And I have to hope, if this doctors group succeeds in its efforts, that maybe once and for all, we'll be able to take the tabloid-oriented attitude out of medical news and focus on real, hard facts, and real stories that help advance, not jeopardize, the health of the American public.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.