Medical Community Unites Behind Extraordinary Global Effort
Project Calls for Additional Qualified Editors
SAN FRANCISCO, July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Medpedia Project today announced the formation of the world's largest collaborative online encyclopedia of medicine called Medpedia. Physicians, medical schools, hospitals, health organizations and public health professionals are now volunteering to collaboratively build the most comprehensive medical clearinghouse in the world for information about health, medicine and the body. This free public site will officially launch at the end of 2008, and a preview site becomes available today at www.medpedia.com.
Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, the University of Michigan Medical School and dozens of health organizations around the world are contributing to The Medpedia Project in various ways. Many organizations will contribute seed content free of copyright restrictions. Harvard Medical School will publish content to uneditable areas that members of their faculty have created as part of a medical school wide effort. Others organizations, such as University of Michigan Medical School will encourage members of their faculty to edit Medpedia as individuals.
Other health and medical organizations that are supporting Medpedia include the American College of Physicians (ACP), the Oxford Health Alliance (OxHA.org), the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, (FOCIS), and the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). These groups are contributing content and promoting participation in Medpedia to their members. Medpedia is also receiving content and cooperation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and many other government research groups who are eager to have that public domain information distributed to both the general public and to healthcare professionals.
"Medpedia has the potential to become a vital tool for scientists, researchers and educators, as well as for the general public across the globe, providing easy access to the latest and best information on medicine," said Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Health Publications Division of Harvard Medical School. "Sharing what we know, we can help each other and help ourselves."
"Making high quality, unbiased medical information freely available to everyone via a collaborative, open and constantly evolving website has the potential to dramatically impact both public and individual health," said Dr. Henry Lowe, Senior Associate Dean for Information Resources and Technology at Stanford University School of Medicine. "That's why we are supporting Medpedia."
Over the next few years, the growing community of Editors on Medpedia will create and interlink Web pages for the more than 30,000 known diseases and conditions, the more than 10,000 drugs being prescribed each year, the thousands of medical procedures being performed and the millions of medical facilities around the world. These pages will provide insight into the latest health and medical discoveries along with photographs, video, sound, and images. The site has been designed so that everything on a subject will be simple to access. The main topic pages will be written in language the general public can easily understand, and each topic page will have with it a "Technical" page for professionals to discuss the same topic in more clinical and scientific language. Medpedia will constantly improve in real time, keeping up to date with discoveries in health and medicine.
"It's feeling inevitable that all the medical and health information will be available worldwide at no charge via an open, collaborative platform like Medpedia," said Dr. Linda Hawes Clever, M.D., M.A.C.P., Clinical Professor University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical School. "Medpedia will also serve as an important place for medical professionals to get credit and become known for their specialties."
"Medpedia offers an exciting vehicle to enhance discussions of medical topics through an interactive format. I believe it will facilitate transfer of medical knowledge in ways not currently available" said Dr. Joseph Martin, former Dean to both the Harvard and UCSF Medical Schools. "Becoming an Editor-Contributor to Medpedia will provide tens of thousands of medical professionals around the world the opportunity to make a difference in improving the health of our patients."
In anticipation of its launch later in 2008, today Medpedia is calling for the world's qualified M.D.s, biomedical research Ph.D.s, and clinicians to go to www.medpedia.com to apply to become Editors of content. Only licensed medical professionals and organizations in good standing who are screened through a rigorous internal review process will be approved to provide and edit information.
"The enthusiastic support Medpedia is receiving from all over the world tells us the time is right for this type of resource," adds high-tech legend, Mitch Kapor. Kapor serves on the Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation, is the Founding Chair of Mozilla Foundation, the Co-Founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Founder of the Lotus Development Corp. "The Medpedia Project is doing a great job of customizing the Wikimedia technology platform to the unique requirements of medical and health information while staying true to the proven methods of open-source, collaborative knowledge building," he said.
"In recent years, we have witnessed the benefit that a website like Wikipedia can have on all knowledge," said James Currier, Medpedia Founder and Chairman. "With ongoing experimentation and guidance from the medical community, Medpedia could provide a similar benefit to the world in the specialized area of health and medicine."
Medpedia's Board of Advisers includes Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., Professor University of Michigan Medical School; Linda Hawes Clever, M.D., M.A.C.P., Clinical Professor University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical School; Joseph B. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University; and tech-luminary and philanthropist Mitch Kapor.
A group of distinguished individuals have provided valuable advice and guidance to Medpedia, including Henry Lowe, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Information Resources and Technology at Stanford University School of Medicine; John E. Swartzberg, M.D., Professor at University of Berkeley School of Public Health and Editor of the UC Berkeley Wellness Newsletter; Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., Professor at Harvard Medical School and Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Publications Division of Harvard Medical School; and Robert Lash, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School and School of Public Health.
Physicians and organizations have begun to contribute content to Medpedia and the site will be available to the general public at the end of 2008.
About The Medpedia Project and Medpedia.com
The Medpedia Project is a collaborative effort to build and support a community of volunteers to create the world's best and most comprehensive resource about medicine, health, and the body and to make it freely available to the world. The result of this effort will be to transform how both medical professionals and the general public acquire and understand information about health. Contributing to Medpedia gives health professionals the chance to become known around the world for their areas of expertise.
Medpedia is created in association with Harvard Medical School, the Stanford School of Medicine, The University of Michigan Medical School, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and health organizations around the world.
Medpedia runs on open source Mediawiki software, and like Wikipedia, content on the Medpedia site will be available for reuse under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This means that anyone is free to reuse the Medpedia content for non-commercial reasons as long as there is a link back to Medpedia.com. In the future, in order to cover operating costs, non-invasive, text-based advertising will be shown on the Medpedia website through third-party ad networks such as Google's Ad Sense. A link will be provided to users asking them to "Flag Inappropriate Ads." Such flagged ads will be reviewed by Editors and potentially prevented from being shown on Medpedia in the future.
Medpedia.com Inc. is funded and managed by Ooga Labs (www.oogalabs.com) a technology greenhouse in San Francisco developing several for-profit, mission-oriented companies to address worldwide needs in health, education, and activism.
About Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is one of the world's preeminent institutions in medical education and research. The student body comprises more than 700 men and women in the M.D. program, more than 600 students in the Ph.D. program, and of those many are in the joint M.D.-Ph.D. programs, part of which is sponsored in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are taught by a faculty of more than 9,000, the largest graduate faculty at Harvard and the largest medical faculty in the world. The research carried out by Harvard Medical School faculty is at the forefront of basic biomedical science and clinical research. In the school's distinguished 224-year history, 15 faculty members have been recognized for their work with the Nobel Prize. Harvard Medical School has, since 1975, published information about health for the general public, through books, newsletters, magazines, a syndicated weekly newspaper column, and content licensed to Web sites (www.health.harvard.edu). Over 300 members of the faculty are engaged in writing and editing health information for the general public.
The content on Medpedia that is identified as "Created by the The Faculty of the Harvard Medical School" will not be editable. Harvard Medical School will not have a role in, nor be responsible for, the content that appears in the "wiki" section of Medpedia.
About the Stanford University School of Medicine
The Stanford School of Medicine is a premier research-intensive institution that improves health through collaborative discoveries and innovation in patient care, education and research. We foster a two-way transfer of knowledge between research laboratories and patient-care settings with faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students engaging in interdisciplinary efforts that transfer this knowledge into therapies to treat and prevent disease. Stanford's current community of scholars includes 16 Nobel laureates, four Pulitzer Prize winners and 24 MacArthur Fellows. Stanford is particularly noted for its openness to interdisciplinary research, not only within its schools and departments, but also in its laboratories, institutes and research centers.
About University of California Berkeley School of Public Health
Since its founding in 1943, the School of Public Health has become one of the world's preeminent centers dedicated to the promotion and protection of the health of human populations and is noted for the excellence of its programs in teaching, research, and service activities. These programs emphasize the interdependence of biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that produce health in individuals, families, and communities throughout the world. The School of Public Health serves as the center of health-related research on the Berkeley campus. Among the world's leading research universities, Berkeley is home to seven Nobel Laureates, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 225 elected members of the National Academies and Institute of Medicine and four Pulitzer Prize winners.
About the University of Michigan Medical School
Internationally renowned for patient care, research and education, the University of Michigan Medical School has been a leader in American medicine for more than a century and a half, producing generations of outstanding physicians and medical scientists. It was the first medical school in the United States to own and operate its own hospital–a tradition of close integration with clinical care that continues today as the Medical School forms an integral part of the university's Health System. The U-M Health System also includes three nationally ranked hospitals, 40 outpatient health centers, and a number of specialized programs for treatment and research in cancer, cardiovascular disease, geriatrics, depression, diabetes, vision, women's health, organ transplant and other specialties. The Medical School's research community is one of the nation's largest, winning more than $342.5 million in funding, and generating more than 120 newly disclosed inventions each year.
The content on or accessible through Medpedia.com is for informational purposes only. Medpedia is not a substitute for professional advice or expert medical services from a qualified healthcare provider. Information on Medpedia is for educational and informational purposes only; it is not intended as and does not substitute for professional medical advice. If you are a patient, see your doctor for advice and diagnosis. If you are affected by any potential health or medical emergency, call your local emergency service immediately.
Organizations associated with Medpedia are not responsible for the content that appears in the editable pages of Medpedia, which can contain content submitted by other health professionals or other persons, including those who may not be affiliated with these organizations.
SOURCE The Medpedia Project