AMA Adopts Minnesota Resolution to Stop Using Race as a Proxy for Biology

A Minnesota-submitted policy that calls for halting the use of race as a proxy for biology, genetics, or heredity when treating patients was adopted by the AMA’s Interim House of Delegates (HOD) this past week. 

The resolution also asked that medical education at all levels recognize the harmful effects of presenting race as biology, while also recognizing that race does have an influence on health outcomes through racism and systemic oppression.

In a related matter, the AMA also adopted policy that clearly states that racism is a serious threat to public health and that the AMA will work to prevent and combat the influences of racism and bias in innovative health technologies.

In other action, the HOD passed policy strongly supporting the continued growth of telehealth services, including calling for equitable coverage throughout all parts of the country, appropriate payment for services comparable to in-person, and use of telehealth to reduce health disparities and promote access.  

The Minnesota AMA delegation was led by Paul Matson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Mankato who was attending his last AMA meeting as part of the Minnesota Delegation. Matson has been a member of the delegation for more than 20 years. Other delegation members included: David Estrin, MD; Cindy Firkins Smith, MD; J.P. Abenstein, MD; David Thorson, MD; Andrea Hillerud, MD; Laurel Ries, MD; Ashok Patel, MD;  Dennis O’Hare, MD; and MMA President Marilyn Peitso, MD.

Two additional Minnesotans were elected to serve as delegates and will join the Minnesota delegation starting in 2021. Adrina Kocharian, a fourth-year MD/PhD student was elected for a Region 2 Delegate position representing the Medical Student Section and Dan Pfeifle, MD, an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, was elected a regional delegate representing the Resident and Fellow Section. Regional delegates review MSS-authored resolutions and represent the medical students' and resident and fellows’ interests at the AMA HOD as full voting members.

Dionne Hart, MD, MMA Trustee from the Southeast District, was named the AMA representative to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). The NCCHC is a voluntary accrediting organization for the nation’s correctional facilities on which the AMA has a liaison seat.