AMA to lead on work force diversity

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 4, 2006

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The AMA House of Delegates voted to have the Association take the lead in fighting the underrepresentation of women, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, people with disabilities, and gays, lesbians and transgender individuals in the physician work force.

Specifically, the AMA will work with the Assn. of American Medical Colleges to advocate for more federal, state and private money for pipeline programs, medical school minority affairs offices, financial aid and recruitment programs. Delegates also asked the AMA to lobby to restore federal funding for Title VII programs that recent budget cuts endangered. These programs pay for medical education for racial and ethnic minorities and also target geographically underserved areas. The AMA will report back at its 2009 Annual Meeting on progress in these areas, and also update delegates on the recruitment and retention of physicians to work with underserved populations.

When last measured in 2004, Hispanics totaled only 5% of doctors in the AMA Physician Masterfile, while blacks counted for 3.7% and Native Americans/Alaska Natives tallied fewer than 1% of physicians. According to the Council on Medical Education report the house adopted, 60% of medical students who matriculated between 1987 and 2003 came from the nation's wealthiest families, while 20% came from the bottom two income quintiles. Minority physicians are more likely to practice in underserved areas, the council report said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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