CHICAGO The American Medical Association (AMA) brought together physicians and medical student leaders from all corners of medicine at its Annual Meeting to outline policy guidelines on emerging health topics.
The AMA’s House of Delegates is the decision-making body at the heart of American medicine, bringing together an inclusive group of physicians, residents, and medical students representing every state and medical specialty. Working in a democratic process, delegates build a national medical consensus on emerging issues in public health, science, ethics, business and government to continuously deliver safer, higher quality and more efficient care for patients and communities.
Policies adopted by the House of Delegates include:
Fertility coverage, flexible working policies for doctors wishing to start a family
The high incidence of infertility in female physicians today has prompted the AMA House of Delegates to call for infertility treatment insurance coverage and more flexible work policies for those undergoing fertility treatment.
Experiencing infertility, high-risk pregnancies or miscarriage has been associated with higher rates of burnout among female physicians, said Madelyn E. Butler, MD, trustee of the AMA. and financial impacts. Medical practices must employ principles that allow for family planning.
Oppose mandatory reporting while protecting the information of youth from sexual and gender minorities
Pervasive stigma and discrimination are linked to a number of health disparities among sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, but not all families are aware of and supportive of their children’s SGM identity. The AMA is today calling for an amendment to existing policy that opposes mandatory reporting of people who question their gender identity by adding language against the disclosure of patient information related to sexual orientation, gender dysphoria, intersex identity and any gender transition information for all individuals, including minors.
To promote more positive health outcomes, it is helpful for clinicians to know the sexual orientation and gender identity information of their patients so they can provide space to discuss concerns, make appropriate referrals, and encourage family acceptance of SGM identity, said AMA trustee David H. Aizuss. , MD However, not all families are aware of and supportive of their children’s SGM identity. For this reason, patients should have a fundamental right to the privacy of their information and medical records.
Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices and initiatives at US medical schools
The House of Delegates adopted changes to its Continuing Support for Diversity in Medical Education policy to recognize the incorporation of DEI efforts as a vital aspect of medical education and directly oppose any local, state or federal action that seeks to limit diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, curriculum requirements, or funding in medical education. The policy builds on AMA’s commitment to reinventing the future of health equity by supporting diversity in medical education and encouraging pathway programs for underrepresented groups in medicine. Diversity among healthcare professionals promotes better access to healthcare, improves the quality of healthcare for underprivileged populations, and helps clinicians better address each patient’s unique needs.
Ongoing efforts to attack DEI initiatives and oppose their funding hinder our common goal of creating a well-equipped and culturally responsible medical workforce. DEI work at academic medical institutions is already hampered by limited financial support and limited dedicated staff. We must continue to support and develop these programs to create a safe and welcoming environment for medical students and staff, said AMA board member Pratistha Koirala, MD, PhD.
Oppose hereditary preferences as a factor in medical school admissions
The House of Delegates has adopted a policy opposing the use of legacy status as a screening tool for medical school admissions because of its discriminatory results. The policy bolsters the AMA’s ongoing efforts to enable the admission of qualified medical students from historically marginalized groups and create a diverse medical workforce. The new policy recognizes that an applicant can voluntarily disclose legacy status during interviews as a reason for interest in a particular medical school, but the AMA opposes formal, specific legacy applications by medical schools in the process. application.
Preferred legacy admissions are another obstacle for students from underrepresented groups to enter medical school. Doctors’ children are 24 times more likely to become doctors than their peers, yet our workforce does not reflect the consistency of the patient population we serve. It’s important to level the playing field for underprivileged students who may not have the same resources or knowledge as medical school admissions through a fair admissions process, said AMA board member Toluwalase Ajayi, MD.
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