Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2006

Doctor Warns that Mixing Medicine and Marketing Can Lead to Heartburn

Annual Science & Society Series at Whitworth College to feature
Nov. 13 lecture by Group Health's Thomas Schaaf, M.D.

The annual Science & Society Lecture Series at Whitworth College will feature Dr. Thomas Schaaf, a 1979 Whitworth alumnus who is the assistant district medical director of Group Health Cooperative Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Health Care Centers. Schaaf will present a lecture, "The Color Purple: Why TV Drug Ads Should Give You Heartburn," at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre at Whitworth. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3707.

Schaaf's lecture will explore the nature of biomedical research and how that research is co-opted for marketing purposes, and how evidence-based medicine can be used as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of various therapies.

Schaaf helped design Group Health Cooperative's Hospitalist Services and served for eight years as the program's clinical director. Hospitalists are physicians who practice exclusively in the hospital setting. They work closely with primary care doctors, specialists, and hospital staff, and evaluate a patient several times a day. They also meet regularly with family members, review labs on site, and make decisions about medical procedures, tests and treatment options.

Schaaf is a family-practice specialist who has practiced medicine in Spokane and Laguna Hills, Calif. Schaaf earned his M.D. in 1983 from the UCLA School of Medicine, where he conducted research on isolating bone morphogenic protein and on an assay for 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D.

The Science & Society Lecture Series was created by Whitworth trustees, faculty and administrators to increase understanding and awareness of scientific advances and issues that influence areas including public policy, law, ethics and business. The annual series features experts who address current scientific issues that are of interest to the general public.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, Academic Affairs program assistant, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3707 or jtoulouse-lee@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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