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American Medical Association

American Medical Association

515 North State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
U.S.A.
Telephone: (312) 464-5000
Toll Free: (800) 262-3211
Fax: (312) 464-4184
Web site: http://www.ama-assn.org

Nonprofit Corporation
Incorporated:
1847
Employees: 1,200
Sales: $242.8 million (1999)
NAIC: 81292 Professional Organizations; 92312 Administration of Public Health Programs

The American Medical Association is the oldest and largest advocacy group representing American physicians. The AMA represents about one-third of the nations doctors. It publishes the weekly Journal of the American Medical Association, one of the most prestigious and influential American medical journals, as well as a host of other journals and books. Members have access to data services and to insurance through its insurance arm. The AMA is one of the nations leading lobbying forces, and its political action committee, which dispenses money to political campaigns, is also one of the nations wealthiest. The association runs awareness campaigns on health issues and works to shape governmental policy that affects doctors and patients. The AMA derives about one-quarter of its revenue through its annual membership fees. Other revenue comes from corporate grants and from sale of its publications and data services. Policy for the AMA is set by its 550-member House of Delegates.

Roots in the 19th Century

The American Medical Association was founded by a group of doctors in 1847 who were affiliated with various local and state medical associations. The doctors were concerned that medical education in America was not regulated on a national level. Medical schools had inconsistent standards of what students had to study and master to graduate as physicians. A school that termed itself a medical school might actually have a curriculum that deviated from what had become traditional medicinehealing arts associated with mystic beliefs or unscientific precepts. The AMA opposed healing approaches such as homeopathy, a popular system based on the beliefs of a German physician that prescribed tinctures of herbs and minerals that had been so diluted as to render them biologically inactive. AMA members were traditional medical doctors, and the organization tried to ensure that institutions calling themselves medical schools were not teaching alternative or spiritual healing. It also called for the raising of educational standards. Even the nations leading medical schools, such as Harvard and Yale, turned out sadly underprepared doctors, and many other medical schools operated neither entry or exit requirements, accepting all who could pay and granting degrees to all who completed the course. The AMA also tried to combat the prevalence of quack medicinespotions with secret ingredients of doubtful use or safety, which were widely available before the invention of modern drugs. By 1849 the AMA had established a committee to educate the public about the dangers of quack medicines. The AMA also sought to raise standards of medical journals. Many scientific journals flourished briefly in 19th-century America, and few gave any guarantee that what they published was factual. In 1882 the AMA founded its Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The Journal promoted the AMAs views, and set itself high journalistic standards. Nathan Davis, one of the founders of the AMA, was the first editor, and it was published by a firm in Chicago. That city became national headquarters for the association.

The early AMA was a loosely organized group, and it was only one among many American medical associations. By 1901, the AMA had mostly failed in its efforts to influence national medical policy, and the group decided to reorganize. The association adopted a new structure in 1901. Abandoning its early structure of state and local chapters, the group adopted a new constitution in 1901 that gave it a more national character. Decisions were to be carried out by an elected body called the House of Delegates. In 1902 the AMA adopted official permanent headquarters in Chicago. The group was now a nonprofit corporation with the power to conduct business any-where in the United States. After the reorganization, the group redoubled its efforts to raise standards of medical education. In 1906 the AMA put out its first directory of medical schools. It also put out a directory of licensed physicians that year. After the reorganization, the AMA began to grow quickly, with many states doubling or tripling their membership. By 1906, the AMA had 50,000 members nationwide. The rejuvenated group continued its crusades to promote higher educational standards and to combat medical fraud and quackery. It also put out more journals, following JAMA with the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry in 1919 and the Archives of Surgery in 1920.

Response to Reform in the 1920s and 1930s

The AMA continued to grow through the 1920s and 1930s. The group spoke authoritatively on a variety of health issues, influencing national policy on such questions as food safety and psychiatric evaluations for people accused of crimes. This was an era of broad social reform, when labor-rights issues were prominent. Reformers and legislators worked to pass laws guaranteeing workers old-age pensions and reimbursement in case of injury. Many reformers were interested in passing legislation that would give workers mandatory health insurance coverage, thus ensuring them of medical treatment. The AMA registered its opinion on compulsory health insurance in 1920, when its House of Delegates passed a resolution condemning any national health insurance policy. The group feared that government would interfere in the relationship between doctor and patient, and that physicians would not be adequately compensated for their services under a compulsory insurance system. Throughout the 1920s, the AMA opposed changes in the way physicians were paid. It disapproved of contract medical practices, in which, for example, a mining company paid a doctor a salary to look after its workers at a mining camp. It also disapproved of group hospital plans, whereby employers or groups would pay a lump fee to hospitals to cover hospitalization costs for its workers or members.

By 1933, the Great Depression had exacerbated already existing problems in the nations medical care. Huge numbers of unemployed could not afford to pay doctors, and there was no national policy for dealing with this crisis. The AMA worked with the Roosevelt administration in drawing up some legislation that affected health care. For instance the AMA approved the administrations plan to have the government pay for medical care for federal employees under the Civil Works Administration, enacted in 1933. But the AMA continued to oppose any broader form of national health insurance. The AMA had formed a Bureau of Medical Economics in 1931, which spoke out against any insurance plans that might change the way doctors were compensated. The group put out pamphlets, spoke on the radio, and supplied high-school debating teams with material backing the AMAs position against compulsory insurance. The Social Security Act was passed in 1933, giving all Americans retirement benefits. But largely because of the vociferous opposition of the AMA, the act lacked any national compulsory health insurance. The AMA continued to oppose group health insurance practices in the 1930s, until in 1938 a federal prosecutor pressed charges against the group for threatening to expel doctors who worked for a non-profit cooperative Group Health Association in Washington, D.C. The case was long and complex, and eventually, the AMA paid a fine.

Meanwhile, the AMA continued to crusade against quack medicines. In 1936 the AMA began offering its Seal of Acceptance to food manufacturers who passed standards of safety and hygiene and who did not advertise unproved benefits of their products. The association also spoke out on issues of general nutrition. It recommended enriching milk with vitamin D in 1936, and promoted the use of iodized salt to prevent hypothyroid disease. In 1938 the AMA published a book called The Normal Diet. This was the first comprehensive and authoritative listing of what Americans should be eating.

A Strong National Voice in the 1950s and 1960s

The AMA continued to work on familiar issues during World War II and after. The group promoted public health issues such as the fluoridation of drinking water and the curbing of drunk driving. It worked on medical education standards, forming a new committee in the 1940s to accredit programs granting medical degrees in the United States. In 1950, the AMAs Council of Medical Education published for the first time a list of foreign medical schools that met the AMAs standards.

At the same time, the AMA continued to lobby Washington against national health insurance. When President Truman again raised the idea of mandatory national health insurance in 1948, the AMA quickly spoke out against it. The AMA began levying dues from its members for the first time in 1949, which gave the organization ready cash to pay for publicity. Over the 1950s, the association spent millions of dollars on various campaigns to influence opinion against national medical insurance. This fight intensified in the 1960s, when John F. Kennedy came to office pledging to provide medical insurance for the indigent aged, a program that became known as Medicare. The AMA spent heavily to block Medicare. The group claimed 180,000 physician members at that time, and all received posters and pamphlets for their offices to inform patients of their doctors opposition to Medicare. Its writers produced speeches for members use, put out radio advertisements and full-page ads in big-city newspapers, and came up with instructions for the AMAs Womens Auxiliary to begin a letter-writing campaign. In 1961 the AMA began contributing money to politicians election campaigns. As a nonprofit organization, the AMA could not contribute money directly, but it set up an organization called the American Medical Political Action Committee, or AMPAC, to filter money to its candidates. AMPAC apparently had vast resources from the beginning and is still one of the wealthiest political action committees in the nation.

Company Perspectives:

Core Purpose: To promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of public health.

The AMA brought in revenue through annual membership dues and by selling advertising in its publications. Ad revenues rose in the 1960s, peaking in 1967 with $13.6 million, which was more than 40 percent of the organizations total revenue. After 1967, however, advertising revenue fell sharply following the enactment of new regulations by the Food and Drug Administration that slowed the process of bringing new drugs to market. As a result, pharmaceutical companies cut their advertising budgets, and the AMA found its income shrinking. The AMA raised membership dues to take up the slack, bringing them up from $45 to $70 in 1967. Inflation and the lack of advertising revenue put the association in a perilous financial position at the end of the 1960s, and the AMA began the 1970s in the red.

The 1970s and 1980s

In the early 1970s the AMA began to lose members when several state chapters stopped requiring their members to be AMA members as well. Mostly as a result of this, the AMA lost 11,671 members in 1971. The association was unable to convince board members to raise membership dues enough to make up for lost revenue. At the same time, journal publishing costs were rising quickly. By 1974, the AMA was at the point of having to borrow money to meet its payroll. A new president, James Sammons, took over that year, and he immediately instituted financial reforms. The AMA shut down some of its committees and cut some staff. Members were asked to send in a special $60 assessment to ease the organizations plight. This raised $7 million in 1975. Sammons and a fiscal committee reviewed the dues-collection system and worked actively to recruit members. The AMA began operating under a strict fiscal plan that aimed for increasing membership fees to cover operating costs for a period of five years. Though the number of regular members declined in the late 1970s, growing numbers of residents and students signed up. In 1975 the AMA had just over 179,000 total members. 8,700 were residents, and 8,100 students. By 1982, total membership was 213,400. The number of residents and students had risen sharply, to 27,900 and 26,900, respectively.

Sammons also overhauled the associations publishing ventures. A single group vice-president for publishing became responsible for all publications, and all were reviewed. As a result, some ceased to publish, and others were sold. By 1979, the AMAs publishing division was financially sound. It began bringing in money through new projects with broad consumer appeal, such as the AMA Family Medical Guide, published in 1982.

With its finances under better control, the AMA continued to fund national campaigns on public health issues in the 1980s. In 1981 the group recommended more study on the effects of dioxin and Agent Orange, chemical defoliants deployed in the Vietnam War, which could have lingering health effects. The AMA also began a renewed campaign to curb the harmful effects of alcohol in 1982. It called on its state chapters to work for legislation that would raise the legal drinking age to 21. The AMA began educating physicians and healthcare workers in 1984 about the symptoms and treatment of child abuse and neglect, and in 1985 the organization began working toward nationwide curbs on tobacco smoking. The AMA called for a ban on tobacco advertising, and also supported legislation that banned smoking on public transportation. That year the AMA also began an education campaign regarding AIDS that continued through the 1980s.

The 1990s and Beyond

Though total membership in the AMA continued to grow, the percentage of doctors who belonged to the organization declined from the mid-1960s on. At the height of the groups campaign against Medicare, the AMA claimed at least 70 percent of American doctors as members. By the mid-1990s, the AMA represented only about 40 percent of American doctors. The group spent lavishly on its public outreach campaigns, backed by money from its for-profit arms such as its successful publishing division. But revenue from membership did not keep up. The group lost money in 1993 and 1994. A sharp increase in advertising revenues made up the loss in 1995, but by the mid-1990s it was clear that the physicians group was troubled. Close to 90 percent of doctors over the age of 70 were members, but fewer than 35 percent of those aged 30 to 49. The group had worked hard to sign up students and residents at reduced rates, but the full rate for regular membership was over $400 in the mid-1990s, and apparently many younger doctors felt the price was too high. At the same time, the AMA had taken increasingly conservative political stances, and its political involvement in Washington often displayed mixed motives. For instance, although the group endorsed gun control as a public-health issue, its political action committee also gave generously to the campaigns of politicians who were outspoken supporters of the National Rifle Association. In 1997, the AMA suffered a scandal when it revealed an arrangement it had signed with the Sunbeam Corporation, a small-appliance manufacturer, to give the firms goods an AMA seal of approval in exchange for royalties. AMA members protested that the arrangement tarnished the groups image. The AMA was forced to break the deal with Sunbeam and eventually had to pay substantial damages to the company. The fracas meant a new loss of members, and that, combined with the payment to Sunbeam, sent the AMA into the red once again. The group also lost money in 1999, ending the year with a loss of $5.4 million. Revenue from dues continued to shrink, and the organization had also had to spend millions to prepare its computers for the year 2000.

Key Dates:

1847:
AMA first meets in Philadelphia.
1882:
AMA founds the Journal of the American Medical Association.
1901:
The group reorganizes.
1935:
AMA successfully inhibits passage of national health insurance as part of Social Security Act.
1949:
AMA begins charging membership dues.
1974:
The association is near bankruptcy.
1997:
AMA celebrates its 150-year anniversary.

The group continued to struggle with ways to attract and retain members in the 2000s. At a meeting in June 2000, the AMA revealed a new plan, to let doctors pay a one-time fee to join for life. At the same time, the AMA entertained proposals to drop dues altogether, and automatically grant membership to all American physicians. By 2000, the AMA claimed only about 30 percent of American doctors as members. The organization had struggled with dwindling membership for decades, and the trend did not seem as if it would reverse easily.

Faced with this probability, the AMA looked for ways to trim its budget and to bring in more money. At its 2000 national meeting, the group announced it would begin to peddle its information technology services. The AMAs executive vice-president, E. Ratcliffe Anderson, claimed in an article in Modern Healthcare (June 19, 2000) that the AMA was probably the most data-rich entity anywhere in the world of medicine. Information technology initiatives, such as a new online health network called Your Practice Online, would bring the group the financial success it needed in order to continue to fund its work.

Principal Competitors

American Nurses Association; American Academy of Family Physicians.

Further Reading

Booth, Bonnie, AMA Seeking New Lifetime Membership, American Medical News, August 7, 2000, p. 17.

Burrow, James G., AMA: Voice of American Medicine, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1963.

Campion, Frank D., The AMA and U.S. Health Policy Since 1940, Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1984.

Dreyfuss, Robert, Which Doctors? The AMAs Identity Crisis, New Republic, June 22, 1998, pp. 2226.

Fishbein, Morris, History of the AMA 18471947, Philadelphia and London: W.B. Saunders, 1947.

Gibbons, Don L., Dr. Sammons Weathering Storm, Medical World News, December 25, 1989, p. 17.

Gorman, Christine, Doctors Dilemma, Time, August 25, 1997, p. 64.

Harris, Richard, Medicare: We Do Not Compromise, New Yorker, July 16, 1966, pp. 3570.

Jaklevic, Mary Chris, AMA Loses Millions, Modern Healthcare, June 14, 1999, p. 3

, AMAs Profits Climb 17% in 1996, Modern Healthcare, June 23, 1997, p. 20.

McCormick, Brian, Re-Organized Medicine, American Medical News, February 2, 1998, p. 7.

Melcher, Richard A., The AMA Isnt Feeling So Hot, Business Week, September 1, 1997, p. 33.

Thompson, Elizabeth, and Kristen Hallam, AMA Reminds Members of What It Can Do, Modern Healthcare, June 19, 2000, p. 6.

A. Woodward

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American Medical Association

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA) was founded on 7 May 1847 as a response to the growing demands for reforms in medical education and practice. Dr. Nathan S. Davis (1817–1904), a delegate from the New York State Medical Society who later came to be known as the "founding father of the AMA," convened a national conference of physicians to address reforms in medical education, medical ethics, and public health. On 7 May 1847 more than 250 physicians from more than forty medical societies and twenty-eight medical colleges assembled in the Great Hall of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and established the American Medical Association. A Committee on Medical Education was appointed, and minimum standards of medical education were established. The first national code of American medical ethics, the cornerstone of professional self-regulation, was adopted. Written by Dr. John Bell (1796–1872) and Dr. Isaac Hays (1796–1879) and published in 1847, the Code of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association provided guidelines for the behavior of physicians with respect to patients, society, and other medical professionals.

Throughout the nineteenth century the AMA worked to expose fraudulent and unethical practitioners and to limit licensure to allopathic physicians. In 1883 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was established with Nathan Davis as the first editor. By 1901, JAMA was reporting a circulation of 22,049 copies per week, the largest of all medical journals in the world.

Membership, however, remained small, including only 10,000 of the 100,000 orthodox physicians. In 1901 the AMA underwent a major reorganization to become a more effective national body by providing proportional representation among state medical societies. The House of Delegates was established as the legislative body of the AMA. Each state society was allowed a specific number of delegates with voting rights. By 1906, membership in the AMA exceeded 50,000 physicians, and educational and licensing reforms began to take hold.

The newly established Council on Medical Education inspected 160 medical schools (1906–1907), and in 1910 the Flexner Report, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, was published. Funded by the Carnegie Foundation and supported by the AMA, the report exposed the poor conditions of many schools and recommended implementing rigorous standards of medical training. By 1923 the AMA had adopted standards for medical specialty training, and in 1927 the association published a list of hospitals approved for residency training.

By World War I, the AMA had become a powerful political lobby. Wary of governmental control, it fought proposals for national health insurance. The 1935 Social Security Act passed without compulsory health insurance due to AMA influence. Physician membership grew steadily to over 100,000 physicians by 1936. The AMA continued to fight government involvement in health care with a campaign against President Truman's initiatives in 1948. In 1961 the American Medical Political Action Committee (AMPAC) was formed to represent physicians' and patients' interests in health care legislation.

The AMA continued to work on numerous public health initiatives, including declaring alcoholism to be an illness (1956), recommending nationwide polio vaccinations (1960), and adopting a report on the hazards of cigarette smoking (1964). AMA membership exceeded 200,000 physicians by 1965. From 1966 to 1973, the AMA coordinated the Volunteer Physicians in Vietnam program and in 1978 supported state legislation mandating use of seat belts for infants and children.

In 1983, membership included 250,000 physicians. As AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980s, the AMA passed a resolution opposing acts of discrimination against AIDS patients (1986) and established the office of HIV/AIDS (1988).

By 1990, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and other third-party payers were involved extensively in health care delivery. Health care reform had become a political priority. In 1994 and 1995 the AMA drafted two Patient Protection Acts, and in 1998 the AMA supported the Patient's Bill of Rights.

In 2001, AMA membership included 300,000 physicians. As new threats to the nation's health, such as bioterrorism, began to emerge in the twenty-first century, the AMA continued to rely on the principles in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics (revised 2001) and the democratic process of the AMA House of Delegates to guide its actions and policies to fulfill its mission as "physicians dedicated to the health of America."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baker, Robert B., et al. The American Medical Ethics Revolution: How the AMA's Code of Ethics Has Transformed Physicians' Relationships to Patients, Professionals, and Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Duffy, John. From Humors to Medical Science: A History of American Medicine. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Starr, Paul. The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry. New York: Basic Books, 1982.

Stevens, Rosemary. American Medicine and the Public Interest: A History of Specialization. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1998.

Karen E.Geraghty

See alsoMedical Profession ; Medical Societies ; Medicine and Surgery .

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American Medical Association

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

The American Medical Association (AMA) is a federation of state and territorial medical associations. The AMA seeks to promote the art and science of medicine, the medical profession, and the betterment of public health. Its purposes include obtaining, synthesizing, integrating, and disseminating information about health and medical practice; setting standards for medical ethics, practice, and education; and being an influential advocate for physicians and their patients.

The AMA was founded in 1847. At its organizing convention, the AMA adopted the first code of ethics in the United States, a detailed document that addressed the obligations of physicians to patients and to each other and the duties of the profession to the public at large. The delegates also adopted the first national standards for medical education through a resolution establishing prerequisites for the study of medicine. Since that time, the AMA has grown into a large organization, with great influence over issues involving health care and medicine. Its headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois.

The AMA speaks out on issues important to the medical community. AMA policy on such issues is decided through a democratic process, at the center of which is the AMA House of Delegates. The house is comprised of physician delegates from every state, the national medical specialty societies, the surgeon general of the United States, and sections representing organized medical staffs, young physicians, resident physicians, medical students, and medical schools.

Before the opening of the House of Delegates, which meets twice a year, individual committees consider resolutions and reports in hearings open to all AMA members. Each committee prepares recommendations for the delegates. The house then votes on these recommendations, deciding the AMA's formal position and future action on an issue.

The AMA has been active in numerous healthcare initiatives that affect the U.S. populace as a whole. In the 1990s the AMA launched a campaign against family violence and violence in schools and called on tobacco companies to refrain from engaging in advertising practices that target children. The AMA also launched a national campaign against so-called "drive through" baby deliveries that ended with the passing of legislation requiring insurance companies to provide appropriate hospitalization and maternity stays. In 2000 the AMA announced the first stage of its health literacy campaign that was aimed at increasing patient comprehension of basic healthcare communications such as prescription instructions and insurance forms. The AMA also began an initiative to reduce under-age drinking.

The AMA opposed the creation of medicare in the 1960s and in the early 2000s has remained opposed to national healthcare insurance. It has sought, however, to extend access to the health-care system and to contain its costs while improving its quality. The AMA has maintained the position that the problems of rising health-care costs are due to the costs of medical malpractice suits and has vigorously supported medical liability reform legislation.

The AMA is the world's largest publisher of scientific medical information. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is printed in 12 languages and reaches physicians in 42 countries worldwide, making it the world's most widely read medical journal. The AMA also publishes nine monthly medical specialty journals as well as a newspaper of social and economic health news, American Medical News.

further readings

American Medical Association. Available online at <www.ama-assn.org> (accessed May 30, 2003).

Rosenberg, Charles E. 1989. In the Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System. New York: Basic Books.

Starr, Paul. 1984. Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York: Basic Books.

cross-references

Health Care Law; Medicare.

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American Medical Association

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 to "promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health." Since its beginning, the AMA has been dedicated to improving health and well-being through both clinical and community strategies.

Before the discovery of antibiotics, physicians had few effective clinical tools. In its early years, the AMA directed policy recommendations toward implementing strategies related to emerging discoveries in sanitation and hygiene. For example, the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) recommended that each state develop a board of health and that medical schools include hygiene in curriculums. Physicians became crusaders for prevention in their communities. Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, the twenty-ninth president of the AMA, founded the Massachusetts State Board of Health in 1859 the first agency of its kind in the United States. In 1872, Bowditch was instrumental in starting the American Public Health Association (APHA).

During the twentieth century, biological and technological advances were used by both medical and public health practitioners to implement highly effective strategies for improving public health. It became possible to treat diseased individuals effectively within a clinical setting with less reliance on community interventions. By the mid-1950s, cancer and other chronic diseases had replaced infectious diseases as the main causes of mortality and morbidity, and during the latter half of the century it became clear to both medical and public health practitioners that personal behaviors such as tobacco use, violence, alcohol misuse, and unsafe sexual practices were responsible for most morbidity and premature mortality.

Although medicine and public health diverged through much of the twentieth century, changes in clinical and public health practice and financing led medicine and public health to form a new alliance in the mid-1900s. Today, the AMA provides leadership to organized medicine in public health areas such as preventive services for adolescents; tobacco control; prevention of alcohol use among youth; special care of the elderlyincluding health literacy; organ donation; training in end-of-life care; and both domestic and youth violence prevention. Together, the AMA and the APHA chair the Medicine/Public Health Initiative, a national program that uses the power of collaboration to improve health.

Structurally, the AMA functions as a federation. Representatives from medical societies in all states and many counties, from medical specialty organizations, and from federal health organizations (including branches of the military) comprise the AMA House of Delegates. The HOD reviews resolutions from these member organizations, decides on policy for the AMA, and provides direction for AMA programmatic efforts. Thus, the AMA both represents and is responsive to the "house of medicine." Because of this relationship, the AMA works to build consensus among both medical societies and specialty societies as it promotes its public health agenda. With almost 300,000 members, the AMA maintains a stewardship for ensuring both the standards of the profession and for promoting the health of the nation.

Arthur Elster

(see also: American Public Health Association; Nongovernmental Organizations, United States )

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American Medical Association

American Medical Association (AMA), professional physicians' organization (founded 1847). Its goals are to protect the interests of American physicians, advance public health, and support the growth of medical science. The AMA investigates alleged cases of medical quackery, engages in medical research on drugs, foods, cosmetics, and other substances, and sponsors health education programs. The organization also approves in-hospital doctor training programs; it was largely responsible for the upgrading of American medical education in the early 20th cent. Other functions include monitoring professional ethics and supervising continuing medical education for physicians. In recent years, problems associated with the high cost of medical care and health insurance, as well as the ramifications of the AIDS crisis, have been extensively examined by the influential Journal of the American Medical Association. Another pressing issue has been complaints by many physicians about problems they have encountered in working for managed care organizations. AMA members have consistently voted to oppose a comprehensive system of national health insurance. Subdivisions of the AMA deal with such medical topics as maternal and child care, medical education, medicolegal problems, and mental health. There is also a section for each of the medical specialties. In 1999, the AMA had approximately 300,000 members.

See study by F. Campion (1984).

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American Medical Association

American Medical Association (AMA) US federation of 54 state and territorial medical associations, founded in 1847. The AMA develops programmes to provide scientific information for the profession and health-education materials for the public. by the mid-1990s, there were c.300,000 members.

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