CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) gathered physician and medical student leaders from all corners of medicine at its Annual Meeting to shape guiding policies on emerging health care topics.

The AMA’s House of Delegates is the policy-making body at the center of American medicine, bringing together an inclusive group of physicians, residents, and medical students representing every state and medical specialty. Working in a democratic process, delegates create a national physician consensus on emerging issues in public health, science, ethics, business and government to continually provide safer, higher quality and more efficient care for patients and communities.

The policies adopted by the House of Delegates include:

Fertility Coverage, Flexible Work Policies for Physicians Desiring to Start a Family 

The high incidence of infertility in female physicians today has prompted the AMA House of Delegates to call for insurance coverage of infertility treatments and more flexible work policies for those undergoing fertility treatments. 

“Experiencing infertility, high-risk pregnancies, or miscarriage has been associated with higher rates of burnout among female physicians,” said AMA Trustee Madelyn E. Butler, M.D. “The lack of physician education on the risks and consequences of infertility worsens its potential emotional, physical, and financial impacts. Physician practices must employ principles that allow for family planning.” 

Opposing Mandated Reporting by Protecting Information of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

Pervasive stigma and discrimination are linked to a range of health disparities among sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, but not all families are aware and supportive of their child’s SGM identity. The AMA today calls for amendment to existing policy opposing mandated reporting of people who question their gender identity by adding language against disclosure of patient information related to sexual orientation, gender dysphoria, intersex identity, and any information related to gender transition for all individuals, including minors.

“To promote more positive health outcomes, it is beneficial for clinicians to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity information so they can provide space for discussing concerns, make appropriate referrals, and encourage family acceptance of SGM identities,” said AMA Trustee David H. Aizuss, M.D. “However, not all families are aware and supportive of their child’s SGM identity. For this reason, patients should have the basic right to privacy of their medical information and records.”

Supporting Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Offices and Initiatives at U.S. Medical Schools

The House of Delegates adopted changes to its Continued Support for Diversity in Medical Education policy to recognize the incorporation of DEI efforts as a vital aspect of medical training and directly oppose any local, state, or federal actions that aim to limit diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, curriculum requirements, or funding in medical education. The policy builds on AMA’s commitment to reimagining the future of health equity through supporting diversity in medical education and encouraging pathway programs for groups underrepresented in medicine. Diversity among health care professionals promotes better access to health care, improves health care quality for underserved populations, and helps physicians better meet the unique needs of each patient. 

“Ongoing efforts attacking DEI initiatives and opposing their funding hinders our common goal of creating a well-equipped and culturally responsible physician workforce. DEI work at academic medical institutions is already hindered by limited financial support and limited dedicated staff. We must continue to support and build up these programs to create a safe and welcoming environment for medical students and staff,” said AMA Board Member Pratistha Koirala, MD, PhD.

Opposing Legacy Preferences as a Factor in Medical School Admissions

The House of Delegates adopted policy opposing the use of legacy status as a screening tool for medical school admissions due to its discriminatory outcomes. The policy strengthens AMA’s ongoing efforts to enable admission of qualified medical students from historically marginalized groups and create a diverse physician workforce. The new policy recognizes an applicant may voluntarily disclose legacy status during interviews as a reason for interest in a particular medical school, but the AMA stands against formal and specific legacy questions by medical schools in the application process.

“Preferential legacy admissions are yet another barrier for students from underrepresented groups for entry into medical school. Physicians’ children are 24 times more likely to become physicians than their peers, and yet our workforce does not consistency reflect the population of patients we serve. It is important to level the playing field for disadvantaged students who may not have the same resources or knowledge of medical school admissions through an equitable admissions process,” said AMA Board Member Toluwalase Ajayi, MD.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.