AMA History

The American Medical Association's 175th Anniversary

AMA's 175th Anniversary logo
AMA's 175th Anniversary logo

For 175 years and counting, the American Medical Association (AMA) has been meeting each moment in medicine by advancing science and research, standardizing physician training and medical education, improving public health and uniting the profession around a common set of ethics.

Since its founding in 1847, the AMA has been the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care and an unrivaled force that promotes the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. From our pioneering work to protect the public from potentially dangerous treatments, to championing the safety and efficacy of vaccines, to helping reduce public smoking and advocating for seat belts to be standard in all American automobiles, the AMA has been at the forefront of sweeping movements to improve the health of our nation.

The physicians' powerful ally

Today, the AMA delivers on its mission by representing physicians with a unified voice to government and other stakeholders across the country by working to remove obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises, and driving the future of medicine through innovation and improved physician training and education.

As the convening national body of medicine through its House of Delegates—comprised of more than 190 state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders—the AMA is the largest and most influential medical organization in the U.S. through the policies adopted that underpin our advocacy and influence medical practice for millions of physicians in the U.S. and around the world.

While we celebrate the AMA’s legacy, we also must acknowledge our history is complicated. We recognize our organization’s historic contributions to health inequities that still exist today, and how we made it difficult for women and Black physicians to join the AMA for more than a century. Today, we are working to address and rectify past wrongs. In partnership with other leading health organizations, we are striving to eliminate inequities, educate physicians and aspiring physicians about the legacy and impact of structural racism in health care, and help advance policies and programs that will achieve optimal health for all.