March 28, 2024

2023 Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates

In November 2023, I attended the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) as the ACR® RFS Executive Committee AMA Delegate and Advocacy Liaison to discuss AMA policy with more than 500 other healthcare professionals.

I’ve also had the honor, as an ACR delegate to the AMA Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) Assembly Meeting and a member of the Radiology Section Council (RSC), to bring a mix of radiology and trainee perspectives to these larger groups.

The ACR is a national medical specialty society that is part of the Federation of Medicine. Thus, the ACR can endorse members of the ACR RFS to the AMA RFS. In this role, I review resolutions submitted to the AMA RFS and AMA HOD and discuss whether and how these resolutions may impact radiology and/or trainees.

On a larger scale, it is important that the ACR is present to provide input on AMA policies that impact radiologists and the patients we serve. The ACR is included in the RSC, which consists of physicians in diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology and nuclear medicine who participate in the AMA in multiple capacities.

Searching for my voice in this new role, many residents and attendings told me it took them years to understand the complex structure of the AMA. The AMA includes multiple levels of organization including the Board of Trustees, state delegations, councils, committees, specialty society delegations and member groups/sections (e.g., Women Physicians, Minority Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues).

With more than a century of history, the AMA is the singular voice of representation for the house of medicine to Congress. AMA HOD meetings bring all the specialties together to discuss the latest advancements, challenges and opportunities in the ever-evolving field of healthcare.

Witnessing physicians from across the country stand before the HOD to testify on behalf of their states, specialties and patients is an inspiring experience, one I recommend wholeheartedly to anyone considering applying for the AMA Delegate position in the ACR RFS.

One of the main ways the HOD advocates for its members is through introducing resolutions. A resolution is a proposal that asks the AMA to take a position and/or an action. A resolution consists of at least one directive to take action — or proposes a new/amended position statement — accompanied by supporting statements or facts. Once a resolution is submitted, it is debated at the meeting and considered by the AMA Reference Committee. The AMA HOD uses Parliamentary Procedure (or ParliPro), which ensures a thorough but timely discussion of issues.

A key theme from the HOD meeting in November was the importance of collaboration and allyship across medical specialties, especially as interim meetings focus on advocacy-related resolutions, from promoting healthcare equity to advocating for fair reimbursement policies. A big focus at this interim meeting was the #FixMedicareNow campaign.

One resolution that was brought forth by the Women Physicians Section and adopted was “Increasing Practice Viability for Physicians Through Increased Employer and Employee Awareness of Protected Leave Policies,” which puts into AMA policy that the AMA oppose any discrimination related to physicians taking protected leave during training and/or medical practice for medical, religious and/or family reasons. This resolution impacts trainees and physicians across specialties, including radiology.

The HOD meetings provide an invaluable platform for residents like us to engage with leaders in the AMA and/or in our own fields. I received this interesting insight from RSC Chair Loralie Ma, MD, PhD, FACR (also a Maryland delegate), “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Through the Women Physicians Section mentorship program, I was paired with Willarda Edwards, MD, MBA, an internal medicine physician and member of the AMA Board of Trustees. She emphasized the importance of connections and told me about the Sequoia Project, which is dedicated to advancing implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health data sharing — something we could implement in radiology.

I also had the chance to sit down with Daniel H. Johnson Jr., MD, FACR, former AMA President and Speaker, about his hopes of healthcare reform that would balance cost, access and quality; give patients choice, opportunity and responsibility; and drive innovation and efficiency.

The opportunity to attend the AMA HOD Interim Meeting helped me realize the importance of leadership, interspecialty communication and engaging in discussions on healthcare policy.