The Honorable Brian Setencich
Speaker California State Assembly
State Capital, Room #219
Sacramento, CA ** 95814
916/ 445-7558

Attention: Trudy Hughes 
                                                                                                            Rev. Faith Gibson

                                                                November 19th, 1995

Re:  Recommendation to the State Assembly for appointment to the recently vacated public seat on the Medical Board of California.

Dear Speaker Setencich,

            I believe that it is critical to the public interest that non-physician and non-allopathic health care issues receive adequate representation in the decision making process of this California state agency which commands a $31 million budget. Being personally interested and informed in the legislative history and legal aspects of the Medical Board,  I respectfully request that you consider recommending me for the public seat currently vacant on the MBC.

            I have lived and worked in the 22nd Congressional District for the last 15 years, lawfully practicing traditional (non-medical) midwifery under the religious exemptions clause.

            Over the course of the last 3 years I personally researched the historical medical practice regulation (1876-1911), the current Medical Practice Act (1913), medical case law and associated legislative and legal issues. My purpose was to develop an intelligent public dialogue with the Medical Board for purposes of public oversight. I believe that I have achieved this goal (see enclosed copies of my letters to MBC). Most recently, I have requested that quarterly Board meetings be telecast over educational cable (as C-SPAN does the US Congress). I have also requested the Board to greatly expanded the use of "Public Letters of Reprimand" (an early warning system) in order to reduce the need for extremely punitive actions by the Board against physicians.

            In addition to my legal research, I have become a regular attender of the quarterly public meetings of the MBC, which rotate thru Sacramento, SF, LA and San Diego. It is my observation that meaningful public participation, and therefore public oversight of agency functions, is absent. During the last few hours of an important public meeting in Los Angeles this July, there were only eight non-board members in the large empty meeting room -- five were on the staff of the Medical Board and two were paid lobbyists for the CMA. I was the only private citizen present.

            My own family, including three grown children and grandchildren, as well as all other families in California are ever in the shadow of the decisions made by this august body. I wish to represent those families like ours who utilize a variety of non-allopathic healthcare practices. The unfortunate trend over the last 50 years has been to define non-medical remedies as an illegal practice of medicine.  When these same unorthodox remedies or treatments are used by physicians, the Medical Board subsequently defines it as a sub-standard practice of medicine which can result in the loss of the doctor's medical license.

            Medical practice regulations, as interpreted by the allopathically-oriented medical board, disallows far more than it permits, leaving a large number of benign natural methods outside of the scope of legality while compelling us to use strong prescription drugs which can have catastrophic side effects. According to a physician (Dr. Jarvis, MD) for the National Center for Disease Control, more American die of iatragenic (doctor) and nosoconial (hospital-based) causes than die in all the auto accidents, plane crashes and house fires combined (80,000+). At the present time, these many issues of major importance are unrepresented in the official proceeding of the Medical Board.  

            From the earliest days of the medical practice act passed in 1876 until 1980, only physicians could be appointed to the Medical Board. In 1980, the law was amended to add 7 public members.  However, public membership is restricted to "such persons as are NOT licentiates" of the medical board.  While the Medical Board regulates 18 Allied Health fields, including the recent addition of direct-entry midwives (1993 Licensed Midwifery Practice Act), none of those licensed to practice midwifery (or any of the other 17 non-physicians disciplines) can represent their own professions on the Board. I practice under the lawful category of the religious exemptions clause (B&P code, Ch. 5, sec. 2063); therefore I am not a licentiate of the Board and thus eligible to serve on the Board. If appointed, I would also be the only representative of religious practitioners.

            As a Mennonite (similar to Amish) I come from an "Old Order" religious background that has historically sought separation from "worldly" aspects of politics. I however believe that our democracy is a God-given model that calls on every adult to participate every day. Like driving a car, we can't put democratic process on "auto-pilot" and we dare not go to sleep at the wheel.  Each of us must "labor" -- do the sustained hard work -- to forward the actions of our democratic institutions in the direction of a just society. Our country has this magnificat potential for self-correcting systems -- if only we don't go to sleep at the wheel.  While I cannot pledge the rest of my life to these political concerns, I am willing and able to serve in this capacity at this time.

            Included for your information are a few examples of letters written by me to California regulatory agencies. A biography and resume is attached, as is a completed copy of the questionnaire sent by the Senate Rules Committee.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,  

Faith Gibson, domiciliary midwife (1917 Article 24, Exemp) North American Registry of Midwives