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September 16, 1983

How the AMA Develops Policy

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Communications, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1983;250(11):1426-1427. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340110040029

FEW ORGANIZATIONS are as rigorously democratic as the American Medical Association. Twice each year, its policymaking House of Delegates convenes to debate and act on a wide range of issues affecting medicine. Everything from attitudes toward arctic research to approaches to competition in the provision of medical services is given thorough scrutiny. And a representative voice from virtually every branch of medicine is offered an opportunity to be heard.

It is a somewhat Herculean task, involving mastery of hundreds of closely written pages of information supporting 220 or more resolutions and reports to be acted on at every meeting. Most of the information is mailed to delegates before the meeting begins. Additional resolutions typically await delegates when they reach the meeting site.

The 351 delegates, and like number of alternate delegates, are expected to assimilate the material and act on it in a judicious fashion, taking into account the action's