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The AMA has announced a strong commitment to Health Equity

The AMA has announced a strong commitment to Health Equity

May 13, 2021 – The American Medical Association has released a 3-year work strategic plan to address long-standing health inequalities that affect marginalized communities and improve the performance of the AMA in its own right.

The 82-page report, created by the Association’s Health Equity Center, outlines how the AMA’s internal changes and race-based inequalities are addressed in general.

The report was released in just 2 months After WebMD reported a podcast The main newspaper organized by the AMA was racist and untouchable. In the podcast, “Structural Racism for Physicians – What Is It?” Under the title, one JAMA the editor argued that structural racism does not exist. He eventually resigned and the editor-in-chief of the magazine was left on administrative leave.

The strategic framework of the new AMA report “encourages the tremendous need for equity-focused solutions to address the damage caused by systemic racism and other forms of oppression to blacks, Latins, indigenous peoples, Asians, and other people of color. new. “Its need is underscored by the ongoing differences between COVID-19’s exacerbated situations pandemic, the ongoing police brutality and hate crimes against the Asian, black and brown communities. “

The plan includes five main approaches to addressing the differences in health care and AMA:

  • Implement equity strategies against racism through WADA practices, programming, policies and culture.
  • Make agreements with physicians and other actors to raise the experiences and ideas of historically marginalized and minority health care leaders.
  • Strengthen, empower, and provide physicians with the knowledge and tools to break down structural and social health disparities.
  • Ensure equitable opportunities in innovation.
  • Promoting the truth, past healing, reconciliation, and transformation of the AMA’s past, taking into account how policies and processes excluded, discriminated against, and harmed communities.

As the report acknowledges, the AMA has excluded and discriminated against black doctors, and the association publicly apologized in 2008. Over the past year, the AMA has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing this legacy and being proactive in health. equity.

Among other things, the association has described racism as a public health crisis, said race has nothing to do with biology, said police brutality is a product of structural racism and called on the federal government to collect and release COVID-19 race / ethnicity data. Nathan Davis, MD, also removed the name of the founder of the AMA from an annual award and exhibition for his contribution to explicit racist practices.

Equity-based solutions

The AMA launched the Health Equity Center in 2019 with the mandate to “incorporate health equity into the organization”. Aletha Maybank, MD, was appointed chief health officer of the AMA to run the center.

In a report that Maybank helped write, the AMA examines the effects of individual and systemic injustices on minorities. Among these findings, the report says, are “separate and inadequate health systems”.

The “equity-based solutions” that appear in the report include:

  • Complete segregated health care.
  • Establish national health equity and racial justice standards.
  • End the use of race-based clinical decision models.
  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination, exclusion and oppression in medical and medical education, training, recruitment and promotion.
  • Avoid and ensure the exclusion of black, indigenous, and Latino people in medical admissions, as well as in leadership positions in medical schools and hospitals.
  • Ensure equity in innovation, along with design, development, implementation, innovation opportunities and entrepreneurship support.
  • Strengthen links and coordination between health care and public health.
  • Recognize and repair past damage done by organizations.

Changing medical education

In an exclusive interview with WebMD, Gerald E. Harmon, MD, president-elect of the AMA, identified medical education as an area for change. “One of the most endangered phenotypes on the planet is the Black Medical Man,” he said. “The number of medical applicants continues to fall. We have more and more women in medical schools – more than 50% of practitioners are women – and more black women are entering medicine, but black men in medical school are endangered species.

“We’re trying to make the medical staff look like the sick staff.”

Harmon cited the “pipeline program” at Morehouse Medical School in Atlanta and the “return physician to school” program at AMA as examples of efforts to attract minority high school students to careers in health care. He added that much more needs to be done. “We need to put equity and representation into our medical staff so that we can provide higher quality and more reliable care to patients who are underrepresented.”

Putting the AMA house in order

In its report, the AMA also makes recommendations on how it can improve equity within its organization. Over the next 3 years, among others, tthe association aims to improve the leadership diversity of AMA and its journal. JAMA; training all employees in heritage requirements; and developing a plan to bring together racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ + people and the disabled.

Maybank, AMA’s chief health equity officer, told WebMD that he would not describe these efforts as an affirmative action. “This is beyond affirmative action. It is about the necessary activity and action to ensure equity and justice within the AMA. “

The AMA needs to look closely at its processes and determine “how day-to-day differences appear,” he said. “Through recruitment, innovation, publications or communications, everyone needs to know how differences appear and whether their mental models exacerbate differences. People need tools to deal with themselves and ask themselves critical questions about racism in their processes and what they can do to alleviate them. ”

WebMD Health News

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