The top 10 most-read medical ethics articles in 2021

Kevin B. O'Reilly , Senior News Editor

Each month, the AMA Journal of Ethics® (@JournalofEthics) gathers insights from physicians and other experts to explore issues in medical ethics that are highly relevant to doctors in practice and the future physicians now in medical schools, as well as the other health professionals who constitute the health care team.

Ethics in Health Care

Explore the AMA Journal of Ethics for articles, podcasts and polls that focus on ethical issues that affect physicans, physicians-in-training and their patients.

Below, find the 10 most popular AMA Journal of Ethics articles published this year.

  1. When Disability Is Defined by Behavior, Outcome Measures Should Not Promote ‘Passing’

    1. Defining typical appearance as a goal of health service provision is harmful and unnecessary for traits that are stigmatized but neither harmful nor distressing. Read more about “Visibility and Measurability in Health Care” in the July 2021 issue.
  2. How Should Clinicians Respond to Language Barriers That Exacerbate Health Inequity?

    1. Limited language proficiency is a driver of health inequity and exacerbates other social determinants of health. Read more in the February 2021 issue, “Racial and Ethnic Health Equity in the US: Part 1.”
  3. How to Apply the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act to Promote Health Equity in the US

    1. To achieve health equity, governments can use a variety of tools, including civil rights legislation and constitutional jurisprudence. Read more in the March 2021 issue, “Racial and Ethnic Health Equity in the US: Part 2.”
  4. What Should Clinicians Do When a Patient’s Autonomy Undermines Her Being Treated Equitably?

    1. Patients’ cultural, religious, and social norms deserve respect, but some decisions’ effects on patients’ outcomes can be unjust and ethically troubling.
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  5. How Should Physicians and Pharmacists Collaborate to Motivate Health Equity in Underserved Communities?

    1. Physicians and pharmacists play key roles in addressing social determinants of health and health inequity.
  6. Why Does Medical Participation in the Holocaust Still Matter?

    1. Grappling with a viral pandemic, resource shortages, and inadequate response coordination, coming to terms with clinicians’ roles in the Holocaust still matters. Read more about the “Legacies of the Holocaust in Health Care” in the January 2021 issue.
  7. How Should a Physician Respond to Discovering Her Patient Has Been Forcibly Sterilized?

    1. Sterilization requires physicians’ surgical skills. Forced sterilization requires many clinicians’ complicity.
  8. How Should We Regard Information Gathered in Nazi Experiments?

    1. Immorally acquired information, from Nazi experimentation or other sources, infects the body of scientific and biomedical knowledge.
  9. How to Measure Racism in Academic Health Centers

    1. Institutional racism mediates structural racism and is embedded in institutional policies, clinical practice, health professional training, and biomedical research.
  10. Invisibility of Anti-Asian Racism

    1. Resurgence of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia during the COVID-19 pandemic is considered in light of American history and personal experience. Read more about “Visibility and Measurability in Health Care,” in the July 2021 issue.

CME credit often is available for reading AMA Journal of Ethics articles. Those offerings are part of the AMA Ed Hub™️, an online learning platform that brings together high-quality CME, maintenance of certification, and educational content from trusted sources, all in one place—with activities relevant to you, automated credit tracking and reporting for some states and specialty boards. 

Learn more about AMA CME accreditation.

Also check out “Ethics Talk,” an AMA Journal of Ethics podcast that explores the ethical and professional challenges that medical students and physicians regularly confront during their education and practice careers.

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The journal’s editorial focus is on commentaries and articles that offer practical advice and insights for medical students and physicians. Submit a manuscript for publication. The journal also invites original photographs, graphics, cartoons, drawings and paintings that explore the ethical dimensions of health or health care.