The AMA doesn't waste any time

I just got an invitation to join (simultaneously) the AMA and Mew York State and Erie County Medical Associations. It’s $80 for a four-year membership which seems a l.ow price to pay to have my opinions heard…

It’s because you are a student…I’m sure that once you becomea full-fledged doctor, it’ll go up.


The AMA is desperate to make sure you join–because more and more doctors are only joining and being active in their specialty organizations (e.g., American Assoc of Pediatrics; American College of Physicians–for internists; etc.) and the AMA has been in decline for thirty-plus years compared to its strength in the 40s-60s. Perhaps one could mark its decline to the late sixties when when Medicare and Medicaid were enacted over its objections. (The ultimate sign of its decline: the people who will now have to be beaten to make a decent healthcare system are the insurers, not the AMA.)

All of these organizations will give students discounts to try to build some brand loyalty and get students involved now. Also, my vague memory makes me think the AMA’s student membership is actually a surprisingly large proportion of its membership–numbers being part of how they try to keep their paper tiger’s worth of clout.

An alternative to the AMA is the National Physicians Alliance, at This is actually an outgrowth of the American Medical Student Association. AMSA in turn is the product of part of the AMA student section breaking away from the AMA in the late 60s/early 70s because of the AMA’s conservative politics. The NPA and AMSA now represent the direct alternative to the AMA that might better suit your particular politics; although the AMA isn’t the rabid nightmare it once was, it’s still not representing me well, nor probably you.


AMSA has no love lost for the AMA (I was a Chapter Pres)

I have no great love for the AMA, I agree with the AMSA stance on Pharmaceuticals and Advertising, I personally think there should be none, information should come from professionals and the drug companies should not be giving “Gifts” (Bribes) to the Docs…end soap box

Matt, don’t send in any money, at least not yet. Chances are good that after you’ve filled out a bunch of forms during your orientation at SUNY-Buffalo that you’ll magically start getting JAMA and God knows what all else in your mailbox without coughing up the $$$.

I have a vague recollection of someone from the D.C. Medical Society talking to us and next thing ya knew, we were all members! Hold onto your wallet.


Good advice from all. Like Joe, I’m really hesitant about joining organizations unless they are mostly in concord with my political views.

Which will remain private and secret :wink: You can all go wild speculating, haha!

Update: so I listened to the pitch from AMA with an open mind. It turns out that the dean of our clinical years is the president-elect of the AMA nationally and she really made a case for membership that I could embrace, including a pledge that AMA was working for universal health coverage in the USA. (She also emphasized her support for gay docs and patients without any prompting from me or anyone else and won my allegiance.) And I want to get the journal because one thing I’ve discovered here at Buffalo is that my science background is a bit spotty for a med student.

However, I also joined AMSA and that is where I am going to be really active-- go to conferences, chair a committee, etc.

SOMA did not waste time either!

During orientation week they were on campus twice, recruiting members for $70. You got a FREE Netter atlas…

I did not join because I feel they are somewhat hipocritical. The osteopathic philosophy emphasizes prevention and whole body wellness…but the health insurance offered by them does NOT cover child checkups and immunizations! Yet they wanted to charge me over $350/month to add my 5 month old!

They explained that these visits “cost too much” so they don’t cover them…

Sounds like an organization that is not really interested in osteopathy…