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February 27, 1981

On Policymaking in Medicine

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

JAMA. 1981;245(8):825-826. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310330015015

WHEN Abraham Flexner made his study of medical education and presented his findings and recommendations to the public in 1910,1 he did not foresee the complex issues that presently exist in medical education. Currently there are approximately 268 national specialty organizations, 23 specialty certifying boards, 125 medical schools, 55 state and territorial medical societies, and 412 county medical societies. Some of the issues debated by and activities of these organizations include the accreditation of medical schools, residency training programs, and continuing medical education; certification and recertification; foreign medical graduates and US citizens studying medicine abroad; and government regulation of hospitals, drugs, and health care delivery—the list could go on and on. All of the organizations listed have an impact on the lives of more than 350,000 physicians in this country and on their involvement with their patients.

The membership of the governing and policymaking bodies inthese organizations largely consists