Support dermatology’s role in the AMA; become a member by Dec. 31

To maintain the Academy’s four delegates and four alternative delegate in the AMA House of Delegates, AAD members need to join the AMA by Dec. 31, 2016. Cyndi Yag-Howard, MD, chair of the AMA House of Delegates Dermatology Section Council, explains that by joining the AMA or renewing your membership, you ensure dermatology’s presence and voice in affecting the house of medicine’s priorities.

M2M: Why is the AMA important to dermatology?

cyndy_yag_howard.pngDr. Yag-Howard: The AMA is the only body in the country that represents all physicians and their patients. It offers the broadest representation of any physician group.

It's a policy making body and a collaborative body. It encompasses physicians from all different specialties throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. There's no other organization quite like it.

Even though dermatology is a very small specialty representing less than 2% of all physicians in the country, we actually have a very strong representation in AMA. Because the AMA is a collaborative body, we work with like-minded or like-practicing physicians, such as plastic surgeons, pathologists, allergists, and rheumatologists. This collaboration becomes critical when issues important to our specialty arise.

A good example is the issue of compounding. The FDA has gone beyond what the Congressional intention was with regard to regulations on compounding, and they are trying to limit our ability to compound. That would limit our ability to dilute Kenalog, which is used in dermatology and in other specialties, as well. It would also hinder our ability to reconstitute neuromodulators, like Botox or Dysport. We wouldn't be able to buffer lidocaine. All these things that we do on a daily basis would be affected by the FDA's ruling.

That's a great cross-specialty issue because it affects every specialty in some way. So it's a great example of how the AMA can lead advocacy around an issue that impacts the entire house of medicine.

Dermatology was instrumental in getting a compounding resolution passed at the AMA. Dermatologist delegates insisted that the AMA advocate, rather than simply support, a change to the FDA's compounding regulations. As a result, the AMA must actively engage resources to advocate on the issue.

If we don't increase dermatology's membership in the AMA by even a small amount, we stand to lose one-quarter of our representation.

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M2M: Why is it essential that dermatologist belong to the AMA?

Dr. Yag-Howard: The AMA recently passed a resolution requiring parity between the states and the specialties. That means there would be the same number of physicians representing the states as there are physicians representing the specialties.

Each member can either represent their state or their specialty, but not both. The AMA wants to have parity so that the specialties don't outweigh the states’ interests and vice versa.

What that means is if we don't increase dermatology's membership in the AMA by even a small amount, we stand to lose one-quarter of our representation.

Currently, AAD has 4 delegates and 4 alternate delegates. If we can't increase our membership in the AMA, we will lose one delegate and one alternate delegate. That decrease in representation would be a huge loss for dermatology particularly because each delegate provides not only a vote, but an integral part of a well-structured networking plan.

Dermatology's delegates are selected based on where they live and practice, what their interests are and what they subspecialize in. We have one delegate who is very involved in dermatopathology. We have another who is very involved in Mohs surgery. We have one from California, and one from Arizona, and another from Florida, etc. We ensure that all off dermatology's interests are represented at the AMA. So, losing a quarter of our delegates would be a huge loss.

Help the AADA keep dermatology's voice strong in medicine and in advocacy. Please join the AMA.

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