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CEO DATELINE – AMA unveils anti-racism initiative

May 12, 2021
By William Ehart

The American Medical Association has released a plan to eliminate structural racism among its staff and within the field of medicine. AMA said the plan has been in the works for nearly three years.

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“We’re working very hard at AMA to increase not just diversity in the health care work force but in understanding of health inequities,” incoming AMA board president Dr. Gerald Harmon told the Associated Press.

Everyone deserves equitable health care and people of color “do better when their health care is delivered by providers of color,” Harmon said.

The AMA plan, released Tuesday, calls diversifying its staff and adding members to the overwhelmingly white organization who are Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and LGBTQ. Anti-racist activities and education will be conducted throughout the organization.

“We’re going to be holding ourselves accountable,” Dr. Aletha Maybank, AMA’s chief health equity officer, told the AP.

The association also will advocate for health equity in government policies as well as create and deliver anti-racist training for medical students, doctors and health systems.

In recent years, the AMA has publicly acknowledged its racist history, including efforts to bar Black physicians from joining and combating hospital desegregation. In November, it said racism is a public health threat.