Intended for healthcare professionals


American Medical Association confronts its racist past with plan for a more equal future

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 21 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1314
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York, USA

The American Medical Association (AMA) has set out a plan to dismantle structural racism, starting within the organisation, and to work towards a future of health equity.1

The AMA, which has among its members 240 000 doctors and more than 190 state and specialty medical societies, said that race is social, not biological. “Race is a socially constructed way of grouping people, based on skin colour and other apparent physical differences. It has been defined by an arbitrarily organised combination of physical traits, geographic ancestry, language, religion, and a variety of other cultural features.”

The plan began three years ago when the AMA’s annual House of Delegates meeting considered a report defining “health equity” and outlining the association’s role in tackling inequities in healthcare. It recommended that the organisation set up a centre to initiate, coordinate, and track its health equity activities.

The plan presents what the AMA …

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