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AMPAC Celebrates 50 Years of Physician Political Engagement

First non-union PAC pioneered use of political education programs

For immediate release
June 9, 2011

WASHINGTON Fifty years ago, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted to become the first non labor union organization to form a political action committee, known as the American Medical Association Political Action Committee (AMPAC).

"Physicians have a proud history of participation in the American political process, beginning with the four physicians who signed the Declaration of Independence. AMPAC's innovative work over the past 50 years has amplified that involvement," said Ardis D. Hoven, M.D., AMA Board Chair.

Over the past 50 years AMPAC has created new ways for physicians to be involved in the political process, including beginning the first political education program for a PAC in 1984. The political education program includes a candidate workshop and campaign school, taught by leading political strategists from both sides of the aisle. The program has trained over 1,500 physicians and their spouses from across the country to be candidates for office and advocates in the political arena. Alumni of AMPAC's programs have been elected to office at every level of government, and include 6 of the 20 physicians currently serving in Congress. 

"Physicians have a unique perspective to offer on issues at every level of government, from city council to Congress," Dr. Hoven said. "Whether they are running for office themselves or supporting the candidates or causes they believe in, AMPAC makes sure physicians' voices are heard."

AMPAC raises and contributes money to federal candidates, conducts political education programs, and coordinates issue- and candidate-related communications for America's physicians. AMPAC also was an early leader in the use of independent expenditures, establishing a program in 1978. During the 2010 election cycle, AMPAC contributed to 355 candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate. Ninety-one percent of those candidates were elected.

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Heather Lasher Todd
AMA Media Relations