A doctor association is a professional organization or learned society developed to promote high standards in medical education, training and practice. A doctor association also works to promote and protect the interests of its physician members. Doctor associations are one of the oldest and most influential organizations in the world. The American Medical Association is the most famous of these organizations.
In this episode of The Disappearing Spoon, host Sam Kean tells the fascinating story of how a bloody gun duel between two doctors in Transylvania helped create the American Medical Association (AMA). The story begins with the petty squabbling that led to a gun duel in 1835 between the medical dean of the University of Transylvania and his colleague. They flipped a coin and then stepped off 10 paces to face each other, pistol in hand. They then began firing. Luckily, they missed each other and the incident ended the feud, but it was the start of a powerful medical society.
The founding of the AMA in 1847 was a milestone in medical history, resulting in the establishment of a national code of ethics for physicians, setting up a national pharmacopeia, and organizing the American Medical Colleges. In addition to these founding achievements, the AMA has spearheaded many other major developments in medicine.
A central mission of the AMA is to promote public health through research, education and the dissemination of medical knowledge. The AMA accomplishes this through various means, including publishing the Journal of the American Medical Association and a number of other books and pamphlets. It has also established a number of foundations that help fund medical research and student loans. In addition, it provides a standardized set of codes for identifying physicians’ specialty areas to aid in Medicare billing.
AMA committees address such issues as government regulations, continuing medical education, medical economics and peer review. It also maintains a database of medical information and provides a forum for discussion among its physician members. The AMA also serves as an advocate for its members, helping to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care and that medical practices are safe and ethical.
The AMA is an active member of the World Medical Association and has played a role in developing international health care policies. It has also been a leader in the battle against smoking, recommending nationwide vaccination programs to fight polio and encouraging doctors to report cases of AIDS to the authorities.
In addition, the AMA has worked to encourage more women to enter the field of medicine. It established scholarships and loan programs, created junior branches, awarded awards and mentored young women in medicine. It has also fought against cultural factors that discourage women from becoming physicians.
In an effort to strengthen its ties with other countries, the AMA sponsored a conference in London in 1946 that resulted in the formation of the World Medical Association. This organization is the world’s most influential medical society and includes a majority of African-American physicians. Its charter lays out an oath or promise that doctors from all over the world are required to make upon receiving their medical degrees.