American Medical Association (AMA), professional physicians' organization (founded 1847). Its goals are to protect the interests of American physicians, advance public health, and support the growth of medical science. The AMA investigates alleged cases of medical quackery, engages in medical research on drugs, foods, cosmetics, and other substances, and sponsors health education programs. The organization also approves in-hospital doctor training programs; it was largely responsible for the upgrading of American medical education in the early 20th cent. Other functions include monitoring professional ethics and supervising continuing medical education for physicians. In recent years, problems associated with the high cost of medical care and health insurance, as well as the ramifications of the AIDS crisis, have been extensively examined by the influential Journal of the American Medical Association. Another pressing issue has been complaints by many physicians about problems they have encountered in working for managed care organizations. AMA members have consistently voted to oppose a comprehensive system of national health insurance. Subdivisions of the AMA deal with such medical topics as maternal and child care, medical education, medicolegal problems, and mental health. There is also a section for each of the medical specialties. In 1999, the AMA had approximately 300,000 members.
See study by F. Campion (1984).