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l Introduction The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sought an independent evaluation of its Hanford Thyroid Disease Study (HTDS) by the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council. in January 1999, at the time ofthe release ofthe Draft Final Report of that study, it addressed three questions to the Research Council's Committee on CDC Radiation Studies: Has the analysis been carried out appropriately and completely? Are the presentation and the discussion of results complete? Are the conclusions reasonable? In April 1999, CDC, prompted by its own concerns and those of interested members of the public, asked the committee to review and comment on material that had been prepared by CDC and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and provident to the public at the time of release of the HTDS Draft Final Report or thereafter. The material included a congressional briefing, overhead slides, a CDC press release, HTDS fact sheets, a series of CDC fact sheets, and a mailed update on the HTDS Draft 40
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Introduction 41 Final Report. The committee was asked to consider three additional questions: Was the material accurate and appropriate in providing guidance to the public in understanding the study findings? If these messages about findings need to be amended, how should the revised messages best be communicated to the public? With regard to release of future study reports, how can CDC improve the public communication process?