AMA makes push to increase diversity in physician workforce
The AMA adopted a policy it hopes will enhance the diversity of the physician workforce, according to a press release.
“Studies show that racial, ethnic and gender diversity among health professionals promotes better access to health care, improves health care quality for underserved populations and better meets the health care needs of our increasingly diverse population,” Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, a member of the AMA’s Board of Trustees, said in the release. “Yet, our physician workforce does not adequately reflect the actual racial, ethnic or gender makeup of the patients in the communities we serve.”
The new policy was adopted at the AMA’s House of Delegates annual meeting. Among other actions, it calls on the association to:
- acknowledge that some people have been historically underrepresented, left out of, and depreciated in medical education and medicine;
- pledge to advance “truth and reconciliation in medical education as it relates to improving equity”;
- recognize the damage caused by the Flexner Report to historically Black medical schools;
- work with stakeholders to develop and implement the recommendations of a “forward-looking, cross-continuum, external study” of 21st century medical education;
- encourage the creation of evidence-based programs to develop role models in academic arenas, the participation of physicians in their communities and the utilization of activities that boost efforts to incorporate and support those who are underrepresented in medicine;
- motivate federal agencies to create policies and initiatives that assist students from marginalized backgrounds;
- support funding earmarked for the development and upkeep of medical schools and residency programs affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Tribal College and Universities; and
- work with appropriate stakeholders to study reforms to mitigate demographic and socioeconomic inequities in the residency and fellowship selection process.
According to the release, the policy builds on the AMA’s 3-year initiative released last month titled, “Organizational strategic plan to embed racial justice and advance health equity,” which offers the medical community ways to obtain what the AMA called “optimal health for all.”