CHICAGO – At a virtual Special Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates, the AMA Board of Trustees today pledged action to confront systemic racism and police brutality, and released the following statement that was approved at its meeting on Friday:
- The AMA recognizes that racism in its systemic, structural, institutional, and interpersonal forms is an urgent threat to public health, the advancement of health equity, and a barrier to excellence in the delivery of medical care.
- The AMA opposes all forms of racism.
- The AMA denounces police brutality and all forms of racially-motivated violence.
- The AMA will actively work to dismantle racist and discriminatory policies and practices across all of health care.
The AMA also released a video of the Board reciting this statement as a symbol of its commitment to address racism.
The Board of Trustee’s statement builds on an AMA Viewpoint, “Police Brutality Must Stop,” by AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. and AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A.
The AMA recognizes that worsening inequities, unequal access to care, and the disproportionately small number of Black physicians all have roots in past actions of the AMA. In 2008, the AMA apologized for more than a century of policies that excluded Black physicians. In 2019, the AMA hired its first chief health equity officer to establish the AMA Center for Health Equity to solidify AMA’s commitment to embed health equity into the DNA of our organization and our work. Over the past few months, the AMA has issued strong statements denouncing police brutality, racism, and xenophobia in the language of public officials. The AMA fully understands that there is tremendous work still to be done to ensure that no one is left out and that everyone has the opportunity, conditions, resources, and power to achieve optimal health.
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