Dr. C. Everett Koop deserves a fair hearing and a fair opportunity to demonstrate his competence as Surgeon General. The position
of the American Public Health Association that Dr. Koop is "uniquely unqualified" since he has been a practicing physician,
not an administrator, is totally wrong. Many national health programs such as the FDA are inefficient, counter-productive,
and actually reduce overall national health precisely because they are top heavy with administrators and have too few practicing
physicians who understand the health problems of patients throughout the nation.
We understand that Dr. Koop has been a conscientious, caring physician all of his adult life, and it would be a tragedy if
that were considered a disqualification for the post of Surgeon General. He is just as entitled to his views on abortion as
anyone else. The abortion issue is one to be decided by Congress and the President, not the Surgeon General. I do not know
the views of the members of Citizens' Committee for the Conquest of Cancer on the abortion issue. I presume that there
are about the same proportions pro and con as in the population as a whole. We do not, however, believe in linking the abortion
issue to other issues.
We do not know Dr. Koop's position on support of the National Cancer Institute. As a practicing physician and surgeon,
he has seen the marked improvement in the outlook for children and young adults afflicted with cancer since the cancer program
accelerated in 1972. We hope that he will wish to see the improvements continue and increase and that he will give full support
to the NCI program, budget, planning independence, and to elimination of unnecessary restrictions on clinical testing of new
and promising anticancer drugs. Since we do not yet know Dr. Koop's position on these matters, we cannot either endorse
him or oppose him, but we believe he is entitled to a fair opportunity to show what he intends to do and what he can do.
I serve as Chairman of Citizens' Committee for the Conquest of Cancer on a voluntary basis without any pay. I am a Clinical
Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Medical School. In the past, I have served as an Associate Professor of
Community Health at the University of Missouri Medical College, and for ten years was the Director of a small cancer hospital
and research institute. Thus, I have had considerable experience in public health and administration, as well as in patient
care. Based on that experience, I believe that we need more physicians with Dr. Koop's background in key positions and
hope he will receive a fair opportunity.