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Public health priorities
  1. Center for Behavioral Epidemiology
  2. and Community Health
  3. Graduate School of Public Health
  4. San Diego State University
  5. San Diego, California, USA;

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    Editor,—The 15 July 1998 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was dedicated to reports on the process of research publication. It included an article lead authored by the then editor ofJAMA, entitled “A comparison of the opinions of experts and readers as to what topics a general medical journal (JAMA) should address.”1 The study concluded that tobacco issues were of lesser importance than issues such as managed care (the polled experts' top-ranked priority) and aging (the polled readers' top-ranked priority). This prompted the letter to the editor ofJAMA that follows. It was not accepted for publication. We feel it is important to discuss this here, not only for the issues we raise in our unpublished letter, but also for the implications that their decision to not publish this letter raises.

    “Dear Editor,

    “The recent poll …

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