Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society adopts resolutions on physician education, substance use disorder, human trafficking, and weight stigma

Massachusetts Medical Society adopts resolutions on physician education, substance use disorder, human trafficking, and weight stigma

Richard P. Gulla
(781) 434-7101

House of Delegates approves new policies at annual meeting

Waltham, Mass. – May 7, 2016 -  Resolutions on  the clinical skills assessment for physician licensure, physician education about patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, jail diversion for individuals with substance use disorder, human trafficking, and weight stigma were among a number of policies adopted by the Massachusetts Medical Society at its annual meeting in Boston on May 7.

The MMS annual meeting brings together hundreds of Massachusetts physicians from across the state to consider specific resolutions on public health policy, health care delivery, and organizational administration by the Society’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body. Resolutions adopted by the delegates become policies of the organization.

Among the policies adopted by the organization on Saturday:

Clinical skills assessment for physician licensure.  In a show of support for medical students in Massachusetts and across the U.S. who are advocating for the elimination of the Step 2 Clinical Skills Assessment exam as a requirement for physician licensure, MMS members voted to urge the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine to eliminate the test as a prerequisite to obtain a license to practice medicine.  Objections to the test have arisen because of cost and the lack of published evidence of its value as a measure of a student’s clinical skills.


Physician education about patients with intellectual disability/developmental disability. Recognizing the importance of physician knowledge about patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the MMS adopted a resolution to provide continuing medical education opportunities that address the medical care of this population.


Jail diversion for individuals with substance use disorder. As the state and nation battle with an opioid epidemic, drug courts and jail diversion programs have increased, reflecting the value of treatment over incarceration. The resolution adopted by the MMS states the organization’s support for the state-wide implementation of jail diversion programs for those with substance use disorder and declares that the MMS will advocate for expanded government funding for treatment programs to increase the capacity to treat more individuals.


Preventing weight stigma and discrimination of persons with obesity. Declaring that weight bias is prevalent throughout the health care system, MMS expanded its policy on obesity and resolved to develop and promote educational information to physicians and medical students about weight stigma and to advocate for legislation and practices to prevent stigma and discrimination.


Human trafficking. Understanding that physicians have a unique and critical role to play in preventing, identifying, and treating the victims of human trafficking, the MMS called for the integration of human trafficking education into medical school curricula and the schools of other health professions, to promote continuing medical education and training on the subject for all health care providers, and encourage research to advance the understanding of human trafficking.


Advertising by pharmaceutical companies.  Expressing a concern for the rising costs of prescription drugs paid by patients, MMS physicians voted to advocate that all direct-to-consumer advertising expenses by pharmaceutical companies be reported publicly, to advocate that such costs not be passed on to patients, and to request that all relevant government agencies require reporting of direct-to-consumer advertising costs.


Physicians also adopted resolutions to improve physician knowledge about oral health and support efforts to make basic dental care accessible and affordable to homebound and nursing home patients; and to support the education of parents, grandparents, and legal guardians of minors about the benefits of stress reduction through mindfulness training and to encourage mindfulness-based education in Massachusetts schools.


Among other policies adopted by the physicians were those related to organizational bylaws, medical malpractice reform, and electronic health records. 

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with some 25,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society, under the auspices of NEJM Group, publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education providing accredited and certified activities across the globe for physicians and other health care professionals.  Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information please visit,, or 


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