SAN DIEGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) has voted to fight “conversion therapy” and take other pro-equality actions during its Interim Meeting this week.
The AMA announced on Tuesday that it would develop model state legislation and advocate for federal legislation to ban so-called reparative or “conversion therapy” for sexual orientation or gender identity. The support for legislative bans strengthens AMA’s long-standing opposition to this unscientific practice.
The AMA heard testimony, including first-hand accounts, regarding the significant harms triggered by conversion therapy, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.
“It is clear to the AMA that the conversion therapy needs to end in the United States given the risk of deliberate harm to LGBTQ people,” said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D., in a press release. “Conversion therapy has no foundation as scientifically valid medical care and lacks credible evidence to support its efficacy or safety.”
The medical association also voted to promote transgender inclusive electronic health records, voluntary inclusion of a transgender patient’s preferred name and clinically relevant sex specific anatomy in medical documentation.
The AMA approved a policy that encourages medical education accreditation bodies to both continue to encourage and periodically reassess education on health issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the basic science, clinical care, and cultural competency curricula in medical school and residency programs.
“With research showing significant disparities among patients facing health issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, it is important that our future physicians have the training they need to recognize these health issues and better treat their patients,” said AMA Board Member Grayson W. Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H.
The AMA also voted to work on ways to decrease the racial pay gap in medicine.
“The statistics on racial pay disparities in medicine are jarring, and more must be done to spur change and eliminate the imbalance and bias that adversely affect members of our profession,” said AMA Board Member Michael Suk, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “The new policy is a step in the right direction for bringing positive change to physicians of color and strengthening the AMA’s commitment to improving equity in medicine.”