Office of International Relations

AMA leadership and policy development through the World Medical Association

Image of stethoscope around a globe

The AMA Delegation to the World Medical Association plays a major role in proposing and authoring global policy on many important issues. As the predominant U.S. medical association, the AMA is the only national medical association eligible for membership in the WMA.   

Founded in 1947, the WMA is a non-governmental, not-for-profit voluntary organization representing 9 million physicians from 115 national medical associations.

Since its founding, the WMA’s scope of agenda has expanded to include social, public health and medical practice concerns.

WMA Council Meeting
Officers and attendees at the WMA Council Meeting in Seoul, April 2024.

The AMA’s longstanding WMA membership creates a beneficial synergy and strong working relationship between the two organizations.  

The AMA sends a delegation (consisting of the three AMA presidents) to the WMA to propose, debate and adopt WMA policies and an advocacy agenda on global health issues.  

Several AMA delegates have been elected by WMA members to high-level leadership positions within the WMA, including WMA president and council chair. 

AMA's three presidents—Immediate Past President Jack Resneck, Jr., MD, President Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, and President-elect Bruce Scott, MD, represented the AMA at the recent Council meeting in Seoul.

AMA delegation to the World Medical Association Council Meeting
AMA Delegation at the WMA Council Meeting in Seoul (Left to right: Dr. Resneck, Jr., Dr. H. Linder, President of the Austrian Medical Association, Dr. Ehrenfeld and Dr. Scott.)

WMA policies contribute to an international policy database that influences global health policy. The AMA’s large and well-developed policy base serves as a starting point for many of the WMA’s policies, both ethical and social. Explore WMA policies or learn how to join as an associate member.

Recent AMA-led policies at the WMA include:

Dr. Resneck was appointed to chair a workgroup to lead a multiyear effort to revise the Declaration of Helsinki Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects, a seminal WMA document. Multiple international regional meetings have occurred since fall 2022 including in Israel, Brazil, Denmark, Japan, the Vatican and South Africa. A public comment period on proposed changes took place in January 2024 with another scheduled for summer 2024. The work continues with anticipated adoption of a new declaration in October 2024.

Learn more about the AMA’s international activities under the direction of the AMA Office of International Relations.