AMA policy review, educational sessions and networking opportunities with academic physician colleagues were part of the Academic Physicians Section (APS) meeting, June 7-8 in Chicago.

Participants—comprising deans and faculty from a wide range of medical schools, graduate medical education programs and academic health systems nationwide—voiced their opinions and reached decisions on recommendations for reports and resolutions to be acted upon by delegates at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD), June 8-12. Their work guides the section delegate and alternate delegate in the discussions and voting during the AMA meeting.

Issues covered included key topics of interest to academic physicians and those in medical education, including:

  • All-payer graduate medical education funding
  • Standardizing the residency match system and timeline
  • Maintenance of certification and Osteopathic Continuous Certification
  • Augmented intelligence in medical education
  • Medical student, resident and physician suicide
  • Education on climate change in medical schools
  • Scholarly activity by resident/fellow physicians
  • Evaluating barriers to medical education for trainees with disabilities
  • Medical student debt
  • Opioid education in medical schools

In all, the APS reviewed more than 30 business items to go before the HOD.

Educational sessions

The education component of the meeting featured two options of special interest to academic physicians, both of which offered the opportunity to earn continuing medical education credits:

  • Connecting the dots: Unprofessional behavior, mistreatment, impairment and their impact on burnout in education and practice
  • What’s in an acronym? Comparing and contrasting MD and DO education/training, clinical practice and research

“The STEM professions in particular are very poor compared to other fields in terms of sexual harassment. And, medicine is the worst. It’s time to think about what we can do about that,” said lead presenter Janis M. Orlowski, MD, chief health care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“There’s nothing that excuses these behaviors among our faculty,” noted Alma B. Littles, MD, senior associate dean for medical education and academic affairs at Florida State University College of Medicine, and alternate delegate for the APS. “We really need to look at the environment and culture that we’ve set up for our students.”

Serving on the reactor panel with Dr. Littles (who represented the academic physician perspective on this issue) were Rohit Abraham, MPH, medical student member of the AMA Council on Medical Education, and a graduating medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and Ellia Ciammaichella, DO, JD, a resident physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Attendees discussed three real-life scenarios related to disruptive behavior, impairment, and burnout and engaged in dialogue with the faculty on the need for both individual and institutional courage to face and address inappropriate behavior and unconscious bias in the “hidden curriculum” of medical education and practice.

On Saturday, the MD/DO educational session featured four distinguished faculty:

  • Tyler Cymet, DO, chief of clinical education, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Lynne Kirk, MD, professor in internal medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and past chair, AMA Council on Medical Education
  • Karen Nichols, DO, dean at the Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (2002 to 2018), and vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • Johannes Vieweg, MD, founding dean and Chief Academic Officer, Nova Southeastern University College of Allopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The presenters covered the medical education, practice and research aspects of both the allopathic and osteopathic professions, to encompass the need for cross-communication and collaboration to ensure the best quality of care for the nation’s patients. “We have to learn more from each other, and we have to communicate,” said Dr. Vieweg. “Talking about our differences is less productive than talking about what brings us together.”

Saturday’s segment also featured a joint meeting of the APS and the Academic Medicine Caucus, which brings together members of the AMA House of Delegates who are interested in medical education issues. Topics covered included inequity of compensation for female physicians, the implications of “Medicare for All” for U.S. hospitals and new enhancements to the AMA’s GME Competency Education Program (GCEP), related to faculty development and health systems science.

In addition, Liana Puscas, MD, chair of the Council on Medical Education nominations committee, presented on opportunities for service on national medical education organizations. These are listed on the council website.

Updates on key nationwide medical education activities

AMA staff leadership updated APS members on the association’s work in addressing issues affecting academic physicians, including:

  • Reducing disparities and increasing health equity to improve health of all populations: Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, vice president, AMA Health Equity Center
  • Attacking the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and barriers that interfere with patient care: Michael Tutty, PhD, group vice president, Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability
  • Reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning to help physicians adapt and grow in the digital age: John Andrews, MD, vice president, Graduate Medical Education Innovation
  • Improving the health of the nation by confronting the increasing chronic disease burden: Karen Kmetik, PhD, group vice president, Improving Health Outcomes

The APS meeting was led by Hal Jenson, MD, MBA, 2018-2019 chair, and founding dean, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Reflecting on the event, and the past year, Dr. Jenson said, “Having had the opportunity to lead this important arm of AMA policy, representing my fellow academic physicians and medical educators nationwide, has been personally and professionally fulfilling on many levels. The APS will continue to build its influence, membership and value to our AMA now and in the future. It has been an honor and privilege to contribute to its continued success and ongoing growth.”

Election of 2019-2020 APS Governing Council

For the annual elections to the APS Governing Council, the section’s nine-member leadership body, and the Membership Committee, members in attendance voted to elect the proposed slate put forward by the nomination committee, as follows:

APS Governing Council


  • Gary M. Gaddis, MD,  professor of emergency medicine, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Member at-large

  • Sharon P. Douglas, MD, associate dean for Veterans Administration Education, professor of medicine, University of Mississippi School of Medicine. (Note: Dr. Douglas was subsequently elected to the Council on Medical Education. Her vacancy on the Governing Council will be filled through an election at the next APS business meeting, in November 2019.)
  • Khanh-Van T. Le-Bucklin, MD, vice dean, medical education, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine
  • Charles Kent Smith, MD, senior associate dean for student affairs, and professor of family medicine and community health, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

APS Membership Committee

Committee member and chair

  • John L. Roberts, MD, vice dean for GME and CME, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Committee member

  • June-Anne Gold, MD, MBBS, professor, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • George C. Mejicano, MD, MS, senior associate dean for Education, and professor of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine
  • Mark Meyer, MD, associate dean for student affairs, University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Neel B Shah, MB, BCh, FACP, FHM, FACMG, assistant professor of medicine & medical genetics, Mayo Medical School

Next APS meeting

The next meeting of the APS is Nov. 15-16 in San Diego.

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