• A
  • |
  • A
  • Text size

AMA-MAS Resolution Writing Guidelines

A resolution is a proposal that asks the AMA to take a position, and/or an action.  A resolution consists of at least one directive ("Resolved clause") accompanied by supporting statements or facts ("Whereas clauses"). Reports and resolutions are submitted for consideration at each meeting of the AMA House. The reports and resolutions are generated by AMA delegates/delegations, the AMA Board of Trustees, AMA Councils, and AMA Sections. The actions that the House takes on the reports and resolutions establish AMA policy. The actions of the House can (1) establish AMA policy on health care issues; (2) modify the AMA Bylaws; (3) modify the AMA Constitution; and/or (4) direct the AMA Board to take specific actions. If passed by the HOD, the resolved clauses can lead to legislative proposals and lobbying efforts, national medical recommendations, or other activities through which the AMA affects health policy.

How to write a resolution

You should use the resolution template to document your resolution. The basic elements of a resolution include:

  • Title
  • Author(s)
  • Whereas clauses
  • Resolved clauses
  • References
  • Relevant AMA Policy
  • Fiscal note

The Title should succinctly state the main issue addressed by the resolution.

The Authors should include the primary author or sponsoring society first, followed by co-authors (co-sponsors). If multiple authors are listed, they should all be prepared to discuss the resolution at the meeting.

The Whereas clauses should paint a picture of why the topic should be addressed by the AMA. Whereas clauses will not be voted upon. Instead, they offer an explanation and the rationale of the resolution.

  • Each Whereas clause should be succinct – no more than one sentence long.
  • Whereas clauses can describe the problem that the Resolved clause is intended to address, explain how the Resolved clause will correct the problem, or otherwise defend or support the Resolved clause in any other way.
  • Whereas clauses should flow in a logical order.
  • Statements of fact should be cited with the appropriate reference.

The Resolved clauses, if passed, will become AMA policy, and are the most important part of the resolution. Each Resolved clause must be able to stand on its own.

  • Each Resolved clause must contain an actionable request and makes sense when read alone, since the Resolved clause represents the policy that will be adopted. Thus, Resolved clauses should each be a single sentence in length.
  • Resolved clauses should be stated in the affirmative, since the negative form is often confusing to the Assembly.

Each resolve clause in a recommendation must be followed by a phrase, in parentheses, that indicates the nature and purpose of the resolve (HOD Action, A-02).  These phrases are the following:

  1. New HOD Policy
  2. Modify Current HOD Policy--This designation is intended for resolutions that call for specific amendments or modifications to a specific policy (e.g., RESOLVED, That our AMA amend Policy H-123.456 by insertion as follows...)
  3. Modify Bylaws
  4. Rescind HOD Policy
  5. Reaffirm HOD Policy (specific policy to be reaffirmed should be included in the resolve clause)
  6. Directive to Take Action

Remember that strong Resolved clauses will be specific enough to get your point across, but flexible enough to be relevant in the long-term.

The References and Relevant AMA Policy are extremely important. All resolutions must include pertinent references and clearly state present AMA policy on the issue or explicitly state that no such policy exists.

  • To research AMA Policy, please review AMA Policy Finder.
  • Also try to find relevant statistics, analyses, surveys, commentaries, etc. both for and against your resolution. This information will be used to develop your Whereas clauses, and will guide the defense of your resolution during debate at the AMA-HOD meeting.
  • Resolutions seeking endorsement or AMA adoption of specific screening tests must include an evidence-based review that determines the strength or quality of the evidence supporting the request (see AMA Policy G-600.064).
  • State and specialty societies are strongly encouraged to communicate directly with the AMA Executive Vice President to obtain specific action on issues for which there is already existing AMA policy (HOD action, I-99).

The Fiscal Note will be estimated by AMA staff and inserted into the resolution.

Next steps

Once your resolution is completed, submit to:
American Medical Association
Minority Affairs Section
E-mail: mas@ama-assn.org

Prior to the HOD meeting where your resolution will be discussed, you should:

  • Talk to other delegates to recruit support for your resolution.
  •  Prepare a brief statement of introduction for the Reference Committee hearing.
    Be prepared to counter opponents.
  • Be at the reference committee hearings on time.

Additional resources

Please use the following documents to ensure you have completed the necessary steps and documentation.
Resolution template 
Resolution submission checklist  
AMA Policy G-600.061, “Guidelines for Drafting a Resolution”

Also, the AMA Governing Council and Staff are available year-round to help develop your resolution idea. Specifically, the AMA Delegate and Policy Analyst can answer questions and provide further resources if needed – just send an e-mail to mas@ama-assn.org.