Attempts to ban seven words at CDC are condemned by public health advocatesBMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5912 (Published 21 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5912
All rapid responses
Let's d/c PC. It sensitizes us to the negative nuances of norms, but it paralyzes palaver with pseudo-peccadillos and faux-pas phobia. Scripted and insipid, PC stupifies us with semantic antics, veridical indirectness, and lame sameness. So PC is a parody of parity that leaves us languishing in language.
Competing interests: No competing interests
Public health specialists work with populations, including groups of people who may be very different from us, hold very different views or simply be anonymous residents of a defined practice area. CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) exist to serve the whole the American population. On their website (https://www.cdc.gov/about/organization/mission.htm) anyone can see their 'mission'. CDC makes this Pledge to the American People:
1. Be a diligent steward of the funds entrusted to our agency
2. Provide an environment for intellectual and personal growth and integrity
3. Base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data that is derived openly and objectively
4. Place the benefits to society above the benefits to our institution
5. Treat all persons with dignity, honesty, and respect
All of these values are undermined by their recent self-censorship for an 'ideological reality' in Congress.  CDC was not created and sustained to serve a few hundred people in Washington DC. All public services learn to listen to and work with policy-makers in goverments. The wide, global community of public health professionals must urgently show solidarity with the American Public Health Association. Specifically as a member of the British Society for Population Studies, I was deeply saddened to read that ideologues had banned the term 'evidence based' from CDC documents. However, all our professional organisations could learn from CDC's 4th Pledge, to 'Place the benefits to society above the benefits to our institution' !
 Roehr B. Attempts to ban seven words at CDC are condemned by public health advocates. BMJ 2017;359:j5912
Competing interests: I have been involved in groups addressing professional Ethics for Public Health