NATIONAL HARBOR, Md — The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy during its Interim Meeting today aimed at identifying patterns that could predict and ultimately prevent suicide among physicians-in-training. The new policy calls on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education—the accrediting bodies for medical schools and residency training programs respectively—to collect data on medical student, resident and fellow suicides.

“Studies have shown that physicians face a higher rate of suicide than any profession in the United States. While we have been working hard to reduce burnout and increase access to mental health services for physicians and medical students, it is imperative that we also work toward fully understanding the problem,” said AMA Board Member Ryan J. Ribeira, M.D., M.P.H. “We believe that collecting data on the incidence of suicide among physicians-in-training will help us identify the systemic factors that contribute to this problem, and ultimately save lives.”

The policy adopted today builds on the AMA’s continued commitment to reducing physician and medical burnout by fighting it on every front, improving wellness, and supporting physicians throughout their career journey. Through the AMA’s Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability initiative launched in 2013, the AMA is partnering with physicians, leaders, and policymakers to reduce the complexity and costs of practicing medicine so physicians can continue to put patients first.

As part of this work, the AMA’s Steps Forward program offers a series of practice transformation modules designed to improve the health and well-being of patients by improving the health and well-being of physicians and their practices. These online modules focus on improving physician wellness, preventing burnout, and increasing resilience.

The AMA is planning to issue a report on the most efficient and accurate mechanism to study the actual incidence of medical student, resident, and physician suicide that will be introduced at the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates with recommendations for action.

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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.