Health Care News and Ideas for Medical Conference Organizers ASSOCIATION NOTES There are about 10,000 naturopaths practicing holistic medicine in the U.S., part of what the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates is a $27 billion market in alternative medicine. Naturopaths are licensed to practice in 11 states, and in 1998, bills to license them were introduced in six more. The AMA's AMNews reports that the Seattle-based American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) favors licensure; the larger and older American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMP), based in Las Vegas, opposes it. AANP's members are mostly graduates of naturopathic schools, which are not recognized by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits American medical schools.

Should licensure pass in the six states (Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas), conference organizers will have an audience with increased motivation to attend continuing education classes to obtain licensure, while organizers of meetings for intern-ists and family practitioners may see their members face increased competition. For the full story, see www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/pick_99/pick0222.htm

Ever consider offering CME in one of the world's most widely spoken languages? The Interamerican College of Physicians and Surgeons (ICPS), the largest association of Spanish-speaking physicians in the U.S. (39,000 members), plans to offer Spanish-language CE programs in partnership with Medivision, a producer and distributor of health care video programs. The product will be called HealthLink Network for the Americas, and its initial focus will be on programming provided via satellite teleconference and the Internet to Spanish-speaking physicians.

Faith healing? One of the fastest growing medical associations is the Chicago-based Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS), which teaches physicians how to talk to patients about spiritual beliefs. According to an article in the AMA's AMNews, the organization now has 13,000 members, up from 8,000 four years ago. "There are a lot of frustrated doctors who are looking for relevance in their practice," David Stevens, MD, CMDS's executive director told AMNews. "They're looking again for the meaning behind why they're doctors."

MEDICAL NOTES Do physicians understand many patients cannot read medical instructions? According to a study by the Prudential Center for Health Care Research in Atlanta, 34 percent of Medicare recipients over age 65 whose first language is English and 54 percent of those whose first language is Spanish do not understand basic instructions written in their native language. Physicians don't understand "how little is getting through," says Joanne R. Nurss, PhD, professor emeritus of educational psychology at Georgia State University in Atlanta. CME providers looking for a speaker on the subject might consider Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, author of A Guide for Public Health and Adult Literacy Practitioners, Policy Makers and Funders. Drew Hohn directs the Northeast System for Adult Basic Education Support, (978) 688-6089; mdrewhohn@aol.com.

In a serious bid for credibility, Medscape (www.medscape.com) as named George D. Lundberg, MD, as its editor in chief. CME providers can expect the combination of Lundberg, whose distinguished and controversial career at the Journal of the American Medical Association lasted 17 years, with the pioneer medical Web site to make obtaining Category 1 CME credit via the Web even more attractive.

Medscape, a free site, also recently celebrated a milestone: one million registered members (of which about 180,000 are physicians). Medscape features online CME, and offers access to tens of thousands of full-text articles and interactive features, and also contains an interface to MEDLINE and other databases of the National Library of Medicine.

NOTABLE MEETING Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century was the title of an AMA-sponsored National Leadership Development Conference held in March at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. In addition to sessions on using the Internet, Y2K problems in health care, and collective negotiation (yes, the AMA is interested in labor organizing), the program's star-studded speaker list included former President George Bush and former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.