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Resident & Fellow Section (RFS) Guide to Writing a Resolution

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Participating in Policymaking

One of the unique benefits of membership in the AMA Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) is the chance to participate in the policymaking process. Policies set at the annual and interim assembly meetings help set the agenda for the section, giving guidance on projects to pursue, products to develop and issues to influence.

Through the RFS, an idea can become a resolution, which, by majority vote of the assembly, may become national policy that has the weight of the Resident and Fellow Section and in some cases the AMA, behind it.

What is a Resolution?

A resolution is a proposal that asks the Resident and Fellow Section to take a position and/or an action. Any RFS member can submit a resolution for consideration by the assembly.

  • A resolution consists of at least 1 directive ("resolved clause") accompanied by supporting statements or facts ("whereas clauses").
  • Once a resolution is submitted, it is debated by the Resident and Fellow Section Assembly. If passed by the Resident and Fellow Section, the resolution becomes a binding call to action.
  • Resolutions that ask the AMA to take a specific action or position must first be passed by the Resident and Fellow Section before moving on to the AMA House of Delegates (HOD).
  • Resolutions passed by HOD can lead to legislative proposals and lobbying efforts, national medical recommendations or other AMA-backed health policies.

How to Write a Resolution

A resolution should include:

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

Use the resolution template (DOC) to make sure the resolution includes all the necessary information.


The title should clearly state the issue addressed by the resolution.


The primary author or sponsoring society is listed first followed by co-authors or co-sponsors. Once the resolution is passed by a body of residents, that body may be listed as the introducing party (e.g., if the resolution is passed by the Texas Medical Association or RFS and forwarded to the RFS, the resolution would then read: Introduced by: Texas Resident and Fellow Section Delegation).

Whereas Clauses

The whereas clauses provide information on why the Resident and Fellow Section should consider the resolution.

  • Each whereas clause is 1 sentence long and flows in a logical order.
  • Whereas clauses 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.
  • Statements of fact are cited with the appropriate reference.

Resolved Clauses

Resolved clauses become Resident and Fellow Section policy.

  • Resolved clauses are 1 sentence long and contain an actionable request. The wording of the clause needs to stand alone, since the resolved clause represents the policy that will be adopted.
  • RFS resolutions that call on the Resident and Fellow Section to take a specific action or position ("internal resolution") should begin resolved clauses as: "RESOLVED, that our RFS…" Resolved clauses for Resident and Fellow Section resolutions that call on the AMA to take a specific action or policy ("external resolution") should read: "RESOLVED, that our AMA…"
  • Resolutions seeking both the Resident and Fellow Section and the AMA to take action need a separate resolved clause for each.


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 RFS and AMA policy, review both the RFS Digest of Actions (PDF) and the AMA Policy Finder.

Also try to find relevant statistics, analyses, surveys and commentaries that are both for and against the resolution. Use this information to develop the "whereas" clauses and to help defend the resolution during the debate at the Resident and Fellow Section Assembly, and possibly AMA House of Delegates (HOD).

For additional help or questions contact the Resident and Fellow Section representatives on the various RFS Councils and Committees.

Fiscal Note

The fiscal note includes staff time, meeting costs and consulting fees to develop and explore the resolution. Resident and Fellow Section staff will take care of filling in that information, but for now the item should be left blank.

Next Step After Writing the Resolution

Submit the resolution to the Resident and Fellow Section: [email protected]

Prior to the assembly meeting:

  • 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 hearing and the assembly meetings on time.

Resolution Deadlines

All resolutions must be submitted by a deadline determined by the chair and announced well in advance of the assembly business meeting. In general, the resolution deadline is 6 weeks before the meeting. Resolutions submitted after the resolution deadline are considered late resolutions.

Additional Resources

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