AMA policy review, educational sessions and networking opportunities with academic physician colleagues were part of the 2015 Interim Meeting of the Academic Physicians Section (AMA-APS) in Atlanta.

Meeting 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 several reports and resolutions to be acted upon by delegates at the Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD).

Issues covered included graduate medical education funding, access to mental health care services for medical students and resident/fellow physicians, education for future physicians in business and economics, and maintenance of certification. The AMA-APS reviewed 18 business items (reports and resolutions) to go before the AMA HOD.

APS members also voted in favor of a report from the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws that would update the section’s bylaws. This bylaws update would codify the section’s name change from “Section on Medical Schools” to “Academic Physicians Section” and clarify the pathways to membership in the AMA-APS.

After welcome and introductions from Alma Littles, MD, the APS chair for 2015-2016 and senior associate dean for medical education and academic affairs at Florida State University College of Medicine, a number of speakers covered key issues affecting academic physicians.

One of the meeting’s highlights was the welcome address from Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, the host medical school for the APS meeting. Morehouse is also one of the 21 new members of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium. Dr. Rice spoke of the critical work of her institution to ensure access to care for at-risk urban and rural populations in Georgia and increase the diversity of the nation’s physician workforce.

Susan Skochelak, MD, group vice president of medical education at the AMA, provided an update on the work of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education consortium to advance and disseminate innovations to all U.S. medical schools. She highlighted the new Turn Med Ed on its Head Innovation Challenge for teams of medical students. Dr. Skochelak was also recognized for her recent election to the National Academy of Medicine

Also presenting were representatives of the AMA’s two other strategic focus areas: Omar Hasan, MD, vice president of Improving Health Outcomes, and Michael Tutty, PhD, group vice president of Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability. Both speakers called for academic physician involvement in these key AMA initiatives.

Other highlights included a review of the APS role in developing and reviewing AMA policy, a legislative update from the AMA’s Washington, DC, office, an AMA academic physician membership update, a review of the work of the AMA Council on Medical Education, and the activities of the AMA Foundation presented by president William E. Kobler, MD, who also serves as a member of the AMA Board of Trustees.

The education component of the meeting focused on two topics of interest to academic physicians. The first session covered the single accreditation system for graduate medical education and featured Boyd Buser, president-elect of the American Osteopathic Association, and John R. Potts III, MD, senior vice president of surgical accreditation at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Both speakers highlighted the increased efficiencies, cost savings, and transparency of the new system, along with enhanced accountability and public trust. They also provided a timeline for full implementation of the move to a single accreditation system, with an anticipated completion date of 2020.

The second session looked at the educational implications of hospital/health system and insurer mergers, and featured Henry Allen, senior attorney at the AMA, and John Roberts, MD, chair elect of the AMA-APS and vice dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Mr. Allen profiled the AMA’s ongoing advocacy efforts to oppose anticompetitive mergers of health insurers, while Dr. Roberts provided a perspective on the educational impacts of a recent health system merger at his own institution.

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