Weekly Now: American Medical Association Grapples With Past Racism

The AMA’s CEO and executive vice president takes steps to reconsider the controversial founder of the organization. Also: Learn strategies for effectively repurposing content.

While the American Medical Association’s founder played an important role in laying the foundation of the country’s most important medical association back in the 1840s, he also did controversial and discriminatory things throughout his career—including taking steps to exclude women and Black doctors from representation within the organization.

For that reason, the AMA’s current leadership has decided to scale back Nathan Davis’ modern presence within the association, including removing a bust of Davis at its headquarters in Chicago and changing the name of a government service award named after Davis.

James L. Madara, M.D., the AMA’s current CEO and executive vice president, explained in a blog post last week that Davis doubled down on discriminatory policies and even prevented integration of its membership.

“Dr. Davis made considerable and important contributions to medicine in his long career, but his decisions at the AMA, coming in a crucial period of reconciliation for America, severely limited opportunities for Black and women physicians,” Madara wrote. “The decisions silenced their voices in organized medicine and led to a host of inequities and injustices in healthcare that remain today.”

He added that Davis’ bust will be placed in the AMA archives as an educational tool. “We can’t erase history, but we can decide the appropriate way to recognize individuals from our past,” he wrote.

The move builds on a 2008 apology [PDF] the organization released regarding its past discriminatory practices.

Other recent headlines:

An anti-trafficking success story. Last year, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) launched an initiative to make industry workers aware of the signs of human trafficking. By training distributors—who have access to many locations where human trafficking is practiced—the industry is helping combat this crime, training 6,000 workers since last summer. It ramped up the campaign last month during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and far outdid its goal of training 1,000 workers in January. Instead, according to Brewbound, it trained 5,164 last month alone. “Beer distributors’ enthusiasm for this program gives hope that our collective efforts will have a tangible impact in the important fight against human trafficking in local communities,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser in a statement to the outlet.

A glossary for annuities. If the word “confusing” comes to mind when you think of annuities, you may find the work that the Alliance for Lifetime Income has done on its Annuities Language Glossary helpful. The group, which sponsored a Rolling Stones tour in 2019, has updated its glossary, based on consumer feedback, to offer clear definitions to work with. “By creating the industry’s first-ever glossary specifically for consumers, we’re not only making an important financial product easier to understand, but also honoring one of the Alliance’s guiding principles and commitments: to reduce complexity and give consumers simple, clear, and transparent information about annuities,” said CEO Jean Statler in comments to InsuranceNewsNet.

Give Your Content a Stretch

When it comes to content, it can be difficult to feed the beast and have enough to go around. But with a solid repurposing strategy, you can make things go far further than they might on their own, writes Michelle Schweitz, marketing manager for Community Brands, on YourMembership.

“You don’t always have to start from scratch. Get more mileage out of your content by reusing what you’ve already developed,” she writes. “You likely have more than you think—content that can be reused, repurposed, and even used as a launching point for new content.”

Check out Schweitz’s post on YourMembership to get an idea of what a good repurposed content strategy can look like.


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(Sergey/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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