November 30, 2001
AMA Bioterrorism Conference
Agenda Includes Expert Speakers, Resource Room and Several Resolutions From
- Seizing upon its vital role in educating physicians on recognizing and
responding to biological attacks, the American Medical Association is
devoting an unprecedented seven hours of discussion to bioterrorism during
its interim meeting Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco.
"Bioterrorism is one of the most important issues facing America's patients
and physicians right now," said AMA President Richard Corlin, MD. "With our
interim meeting bringing together physicians from across the country and
across the medical spectrum there is no more appropriate forum to tackle
this issue and forge the medical response strategies and solutions that can
protect America's patients against this threat."
The bioterrorism agenda for the nation's largest physicians' group includes
a videotaped speech by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson,
three educational sessions and numerous resolutions from delegates on
matters relating to the use of bioweapons. There also will be a resource
room open throughout the meeting where physicians can access the very latest
information on combating anthrax, smallpox and other biological agents.
At the heart of the bioterrorism program are the educational sessions
planned for Monday and Tuesday. These include a clinical overview of
biological and chemical agents of mass destruction, a session on enhancing
disaster preparedness at the local level, and a discussion of the long-term
medical and health issues that surface in the aftermath of a disaster,
including dealing with the "worried well" and helping children cope. These
sessions will be videotaped for use later in online educational materials.
"The AMA wants every physician in the country to have access to the vital
information being shared during our meeting," Dr. Corlin said. "Developing
an online program will ensure that all physicians have access to this
important information whenever they need it."
AMA Delegates also will be asked to consider several resolutions and reports
related to terrorism and medical preparedness, including:
-- Bolstering Public Health Preparedness, which calls on the AMA to request
that federal and state authorities make surveillance, response and
leadership capabilities of state and local public health departments the top
considerations in the nation's bioterrorism efforts.
-- Board of Trustees Report on Drug and Vaccine Shortages, which notes that
such shortages have increased in frequency and severity, and some of these
shortages may have significant public health consequences. This report
examines the various causes of recent shortages, and recommends that the AMA
support the formation of a task force to identify solutions to this problem.
-- Physician Involvement in Disaster Preparedness, which instructs the AMA
to urge the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization to
revise its new standard on disaster preparedness to incorporate physician