CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today applauded the Biden Administration’s first-day actions that tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, re-engage with the World Health Organization (WHO), and advance racial equity, among other policies. The executive orders, memoranda, and other actions are first steps on issues critical to improving the health of the nation.

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Launching a “100 Days Masking Challenge”
  • Re-engaging with the WHO
  • Coordinating a unified federal response to COVID-19

“Defeating COVID-19 requires bold, coordinated federal leadership and strong adherence to the public health steps we know stop the spread of this virus—wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “We are pleased by the Biden Administration’s steps today, including universal mask wearing within federal jurisdictions, providing federal leadership for COVID-19 response, and re-engaging with the World Health Organization. Taking these actions on day one of the Administration sends the right message—that our nation is laser focused on stopping the ravages of COVID-19.”

Rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change

“Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement is a critical step to demonstrate American leadership in the prevention of the devastating health harms of climate change,” Dr. Bailey said. “Climate change has massive public health implications, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and the poor. We are encouraged by today’s action by the Biden Administration to rejoin the world community in this monumental global effort.”

Immigration issues

  • Rescinding the exclusion of undocumented aliens from the census
  • Preserving and fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
  • Rescinding the immigration ban on Muslim countries

“The AMA strongly opposed the previous administration’s efforts to rescind DACA and was part of the successful Supreme Court case overturning that decision,” said Dr. Bailey. “Today, thousands of Dreamers are working in, or training to join, health care professions and our country is in need of their services in the fight against COVID-19. Giving Dreamers certainty about their legal status is a critical step in the right direction by the Biden Administration. People with DACA status contribute to a diverse and culturally responsive physician workforce, which benefits all patients.”

Prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation

“The AMA believes that LGBTQ+ individuals must be protected from workplace discrimination in order to prevent negative health outcomes,” said Dr. Bailey. “We were proud to join 15 other leading health organizations in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the recent Title VII case, and we are encouraged by today’s action by the Biden Administration to ensure equality. The AMA supports access to quality, evidence-based health care for all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and we will continue to work diligently at all levels to expand access to health care, reduce stigma in treating patients with unique needs, and break down discriminatory barriers to care.”

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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.