AMA Apologizes for Discrimination Against Black Doctors Posted by Jacob Goldstein “For more than 100 years, many state and local medical societies openly discriminated against black physicians, barring them from membership and from professional support and advancement. The American Medical Association was early and persistent in countenancing this racial segregation.” Those are the conclusions of a panel convened by the AMA to look into the “historical roots of the black-white divide in U.S. medicine.” The panel’s report was published online by JAMA yesterday, as the AMA issued a formal apology for “its past history of racial inequality toward African-American physicians.” The report doesn’t offer any revelations; it was no secret that black physicians were largely barred from the AMA as late as the 1960s. Nor will the apology change the past. “In offering an apology, the AMA recognizes that contrition cannot remove the stain left by a legacy of discrimination,” Ronald Davis, the association’s immediate past president, wrote in a JAMA commentary that was published in conjunction with the report. But the National Medical Association, which was founded in the 19th century by black physicians who were barred from the AMA, welcomed the apology. “We commend the AMA for taking this courageous step and coming to grips with a litany of discriminatory practices that have had a devastating effect on the health of African Americans,” the group’s president said in a statement.