AMA’s first gay president to take over at tumultuous time

April 9, 2023  -CHICAGO (AP) — The first openly gay person to lead the American Medical Association takes the reins at a fractious time for U.S. health care.

Transgender patients and those seeking abortion care face restrictions in many places. The medical judgment of physicians is being overridden by state laws. Disinformation is rampant. And the nation isn’t finished with COVID-19.

In the two decades since Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld first got involved with the AMA as young medical resident, the nation’s largest physicians’ group has tried to shed its image as a conservative self-interested trade association. While physician pocketbook issues remain a big focus, the AMA is also a powerful lobbying force for a range of public health issues.

Two years ago, the AMA won widespread praise for announcing a plan to dismantle structural racism within its ranks and the U.S. medical establishment. It has adopted policies that stress health equity and inclusiveness — moves that inspired critics to accuse it of “wokeness.”

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