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November 17, 1975

Cooperation, Not Competition, in the Health Professions

Author Affiliations

AMA Executive Vice-President

JAMA. 1975;234(7):745. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260200061024

Medical care has become a complex science that involves not only physicians but also many other professionally trained people. Some health professions such as dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy, are licensed to perform specific services and have well defined roles in the health care system. Many other recognized groups also work as a team with the physician and perform highly technical and skilled tasks that result in high-quality and efficient care for the patient.

Unfortunately, persons with limited training and licensed to perform limited procedures may sometimes try to substitute for a fully trained medical specialist. Comprehensive schooling in the biological sciences, followed by intensive training and supervision in the clinical sciences, makes the physician the best equipped person to deal with illness in all its forms. Therefore, the AMA believes that the diagnosis and selection of treatment for any disease is best performed by a physician.

When each professional group