The American Medical Association (AMA) is an organization of doctors, resident physicians and medical students. Founded in 1847, it once represented over 90% of all doctors and doctors in training; today that is closer to 22%, but it nevertheless remains the largest association of doctors and medical students in the United States. The AMA functions as a political lobbyist for doctors, funds charitable activities and publishes the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. The AMA also publishes the Physician Specialty Codes, which is the standard for the identification of specialties in the U.S. medical industry.
The AMA lobbies Congress to pass laws favorable to doctors. In the 1950s and 1960s, for example, it opposed Medicare, and in the 1990s, it opposed healthcare reform supported by the Clinton administration. The group has been active in promoting anti-smoking campaigns, maternity leaves, better medicine for the uninsured and healthy lifestyles. About $1 million in AMA scholarships to medical students with financial needs is awarded every year. The AMA has been involved in setting standards for medical schools and specialty training, and was partly responsible for the formation of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Physicians and the American Hospital Association. There are standing AMA committees concerning medical ethics, global and world health, minority issues and many others. The motto of the AMA is “Helping Doctors Help Patients,” and its headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois.