I couldn’t agree more with Dr Salvian (BCMJ 2007;5:227) that medical journals and physicians should be discussing crime. I think that physicians and experts in public health can make real contributions to this area and to community safety in general.
I do not agree, though, with Dr Salvian’s approach. In fact, I do not recall reading such a mean-spirited screed in a reputable medical journal for a long time. Certainly crime needs to be taken seriously and most people clearly are to be held responsible for their actions. However, a more thoughtful approach than Dr Salvian’s knee-jerk reaction is more becoming to us as medical professionals. Piling on penalties, throwing people into jail, and removing youth from their communities is just perpetutating problems. Many more effective alternatives exist including mental health diversion, drug treatment programs, school- and family-based interventions, such as multisystemic therapies, restorative justice programs, and so on.
Please in the future contribute valuable discussions to this serious matter.
—Bruce Williams, MD
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org