CHICAGO - The American Medical Association is issuing a formal apology for more than a century of discriminatory policies that excluded blacks from participating in a group long considered the voice of U.S. doctors.
It comes more than 40 years after AMA delegates denounced policies at state and local medical societies dating to the 1800s that barred blacks. For decades, AMA delegates resisted efforts to get them to speak out forcefully against discrimination or to condemn the smaller medical groups that historically have had a big role in shaping AMA policy.
The apology might seem belated, but it isn't the AMA's first for its discriminatory history. Dr. John Nelson, then AMA's president, offered a similar apology at a 2005 meeting on improving health care and eliminating disparities, sponsored by the government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
That came a year after the AMA joined the National Medical Association, a black doctors' group, and other minority doctors' groups in forming the Commission to End Health Care Disparities.