Better Working Conditions Begin with You

Resident & Staff Physician®, April 2005, Volume 0, Issue 0

Dear Colleague,

Imagine

you were in a residency program that was scheduled to close this year. The residency program received permission to delay closure for 1 year. Now consider that you have two years left in your training. You would want to transfer, right? You would think it would be easy, right? Not so fast! If you were a family medicine resident, your Board would not view this situation as a "hardship," and you would not be allowed to transfer.

Imagine

you were a foreign medical graduate who is training here in the United States. You are about to finish your final year of training, but unlike your peers who graduated from US medical schools, you may not apply for a license until you have finished your third year. You are months behind in applications and in salary—not because of a different amount of training, but because of a nonsense rule.

Imagine

your debt payment is almost due, and while you are not watching, Congress passes legislation that turns all your low fixed-rate loans into higher variable-rate loans. Your debt, already a behemoth, seems to have found its herd and stampedes toward you. We are watching and that is what may happen when the Higher Education Act (HEA) goes up for reauthorization this year. So, please log on to www.ama-assn.org and search HEA to find out more.

Imagine

that you, a sixth-year neurosurgical resident, were involved in a malpractice case. The prosecution trots out its "expert," who is board certified in some other specialty, and who has not practiced in 20 years. With all due respect to our colleagues across specialties, it seems apparent that experts should be defined within a certain set of parameters. Should we ever be in such a horrific situation, at the very least we would hope that no hired hand without expertise in the case would be allowed to testify against us.

Your American Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section (AMA-RFS) and AMAHouse of Delegates each passed resolutions at our last meeting to fix all these issues for you, and we are working on them right now, but we need your help.

Finally, imagine there were issues you felt passionate about and wished to change. Smoking in airplanes? The law that rid us of that pariah had its genesis in the AMA Medical Student Section. Residency work conditions? Many groups worked hard to improve your work conditions, and it took all of us working together to achieve this. The language that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education finally used found its genesis in your AMA-RFS.

We Need Your Passion and Imagination

Our hope is that you will never stop imagining, and that you will use your imagination, your knowledge, and your passion to write a resolution that will right some wrong in our world of medicine. It can be something that affects residents and Fellows, or something that affects all doctors. It can be something that will change health care in your community or it can be something that will change health care in our United States.

Attend Our Next Meeting

Our next AMA-RFS meeting is June 16-18, in Chicago. Write a resolution, come and debate, make health care better for your colleagues and your patients. The AMA exists to serve you, our member. We will continue working to do all that we can to help you be the best advocate you can, and to right the wrongs that we or better yet, you, find in health care. It has become increasingly clear that together we are stronger. Join us—with your membership and, ideally, with your ideas and passion. Together we get stronger, and together we will ensure abetter future forour colleagues and our patients.

David A. Rossman, MD,MBA

Alternate-Delegate, AMA House of Delegates

AMA-RFS Governing Council

American Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section 2004-2005

Chair:

Jeff González, MD

Chair-Elect:

Joe Craft III, MD

Vice Chair:

Sunny Ramchandani, MD, MPH

Secretary:

Brad Butler, MD

Delegate:

Charles Mashek, MD

Alternate Delegate:

David Rosman, MD

Member-at-Large:

Kristin Ognibene, MD

Member-at-Large:

Parag Parekh, MD

Resident Trustee:

Kevin C. Reilly, Sr, MD

Director

Julie Talbott,

Department of Resident and Fellow Services

All questions, suggestions, or requests for additional information should be sent to the AMA Department of Resident and Fellow Services, 515 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60610, or phone 312/464-4751. The American Medical Association-Resident and Fellow Section (AMARFS) is this nation's strongest voice for residents and their patients. Visit our Web page at www.ama-assn.org/go/rfs. To join or renew your membership, call the AMA-RFS at 800/AMA-3211.