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Resident Physician Forum
March 1, 2000

New AMA Policies on Public Health

Author Affiliations

Prepared by Ashish Bajaj, Department of Resident and Fellow Services, American Medical Association.

JAMA. 2000;283(9):1216. doi:10.1001/jama.283.9.1216

The 2 previous Resident Physician Forum columns summarized policies on medical education adopted by the American Medical Association House of Delegates (AMA-HOD) at its Interim Meeting in December 1999. This week's column focuses on newly adopted public health policies that were discussed by the AMA Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) and forwarded to the HOD in the past year. A complete summary of all HOD actions is available through the AMA Web page at http://www.ama-assn.org/meetings/public/interim99/reports/reports.htm.

Inflight Medical Emergencies, a report prepared by the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA), calls on US airlines to report details of inflight medical emergencies to the Federal Aviation Administration and presents several guidelines regarding medical equipment on commercial airlines, training for flight crews, and procedures for coordinating emergency medical care with hospitals and emergency personnel on the ground.

School Violence, a CSA report, reviews the literature on the incidence of school violence, the effectiveness of school violence prevention programs, and the effects of media coverage of events. The report concludes that schools in the United States are generally safe but increasing concerns about school violence need to be addressed. It also recommends that the AMA work with the Surgeon General to develop a report on youth violence prevention.

Low Literacy as a Barrier to Health Care asks the AMA to encourage the development and distribution of health education materials that consider the cultural differences and literacy levels of patients.

Sexuality Education, Abstinence, and Distribution of Condoms in Schools, a CSA report, urges schools to implement sexuality education programs that (1) are based on peer-reviewed science; (2) show promise for delaying the onset of sexual activity; (3) include a strategy that integrates condom availability with education on abstinence, human reproduction, and preventing pregnancy and the sexual transmission of disease; and (4) involve parents, health professionals, and concerned community members.

Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies calls on the AMA to (1) work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strongly encourage physicians and the public to report adverse events that may be associated with dietary supplements and herbal remedies to the FDA; (2) urge Congress to require that these products undergo FDA approval for evidence of safety and efficacy; and (3) continue efforts to educate patients and physicians about the possible ramifications associated with the use of dietary supplements and herbal remedies. The resolution also provides specific language for labeling dietary supplements and herbal remedies.

Impaired Drivers and Their Physicians, a report prepared by the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, makes several recommendations on physicians' responsibility to recognize and report impairments in patients' driving ability to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The report discusses when to assess impairment, options to discuss with the patient, and factors to use when deciding to report the patient.

Domestic Violence Prevention Information and Movie Theaters asks the AMA to study the Baltimore County Medical Association's domestic violence awareness and referral initiative that uses promotions at movie theaters and, if appropriate, inform other medical associations of the program.