Dear Editor:
The May 24 issue of the New Pittsburgh Courier printed a letter to the editor from Constance Parker, president of the NAACP, Pittsburgh Branch, “Shame on you Allegheny County Medical Society” Unfortunately, the letter does not provide all of the information relative to the article that Ms. Parker’s letter addressed or sufficient information to understand the context in which they appeared.

The opinion column referred to appeared in the May issue of the Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) Bulletin, a monthly member publication, and was clearly identified as an opinion column, not an editorial stating policy of the Allegheny County Medical Society. The opinion column was itself a comment on an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The author expressed an opinion on the issue of affirmative action as an element in medical school admissions. There are conflicting opinions on this subject. Dr. William Simmons, president of the Gateway Medical Society, has authored an opinion column expressing an alternative view, and it will appear in the June issue of the ACMS Bulletin. We have also received letters to the editor, including Ms. Parker’s, and they will be published in upcoming issues.

The purpose of opinion columns is to encourage discussion, debate, and consideration of subjects on which reasonable people can hold differing opinions. Open and respectful dialogue is a hallmark of our community, and it is critical that we engage in such discussion as we deal with challenging problems facing us as a community. The ACMS Bulletin is available online to all at http://www.acms.org. New Pittsburgh Courier readers are welcome to read all of the columns and letters to the editor as they have appeared, and will appear in June and July.

D. Scott Miller, MD, medial editor
John G. Kran, executive director
Allegheny County Medical Society


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