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Caroline Bass

Posted on November 14, 2014

Ethics Group of the American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois

Thanks to a generous gift from the Wellman Hill program, I spent a wonderful summer in Chicago, Illinois where I interned with the Ethics Group of the American Medical Association. The American Medical Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and advancing the art and science of medical practice. My internship was centered in the Ethics Group, which is responsible for maintaining the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics.

During my summer with the AMA, I spent most of my time researching. I helped the research associates prepare reports on medical ethics topics like immunization exemptions and physician communication skills. Though I am not a law student, I was exposed to legal research and had the opportunity to learn about relevant topics in health law like informed consent.

Throughout my internship, I was able to serve the public by assisting in the continuing education of physicians. I helped create short educational courses for practicing physicians to remind them of their ethical obligations to their patients and communities in areas including innovation, health promotion, and social media use. Additionally, I coauthored an article for the American Medical Association’s online ethics journal, Virtual Mentor. The article focuses on physician conflict of interest in the egg donation process and can be found online: http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/2014/10/pfor2-1410.html.

Perhaps the most exciting part of my internship was the annual meeting of the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates. The House of Delegates is like the congress of the American Medical Association. During the annual meeting, delegates discuss, debate, and vote on policy proposals and changes to the Code of Medical Ethics. It was thrilling to observe thousands of physicians from all across the country gather to deliberate the future of medicine and introduce important policy platforms. It was particularly meaningful to watch the House of Delegates address potential changes to the Code of Medical Ethics. I was so excited when they adopted our opinion on Health Promotion into the Code because I had learned the ethical value of preventive healthcare earlier in my internship.

My summer in the Ethics Group of the American Medical Association helped clarify my career goals and expand my knowledge of health policy and ethics. Due in large part to Judge Hill’s gift, I am sure that I want to pursue a career in public service.

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