Massachusetts Medical Society: The Policymaking Process

The Policymaking Process

The Society is governed by a democratic process that starts with the HOD. This is how the MMS creates policy. Follow a resolution from start to finish. (.pdf, 1 page)

Types of Policy
The HOD has the authority to establish two general types of policy: health policies and directives. Health policies are statements of philosophy based on professional principles and scientific standards. These policies define what the Society stands for as an organization. 

Directives are action items which articulate a strategy for accomplishing an objective and/or activate the Society's health policies. Directives are based on a statement of philosophy or health policy. While a health policy sets forth the Society's position, a directive instructs the Society to take some action. A complete list of current MMS Policy may be viewed here

Step 1: Resolutions and Reports
Any member of the Society can submit a resolution . Resolutions are drafted and submitted prior to each House meeting. In addition to resolutions, the House also considers reports from committees, membership sections, or MMS leadership groups. 

Step 2: The Delegates’ Handbook
All resolutions and reports are compiled in the Delegates’ Handbook and are posted online roughly three weeks before the HOD meeting. 

Step 3: HOD — First Session
At its first session, the House determines whether to accept any late items of business and hears various informational updates from committees and other areas of the MMS.

Step 4: Reference Committees
Reference committees are groups of delegates who conduct open hearings on the resolutions and reports assigned to them. Resolutions and reports are assigned to reference committees and are organized by a general subject. Any member of the Society may testify online or in person. Hearings are also open to the public and the media. Click here to read about the rights of Non-MMS Members. Following the hearings, the committees deliberate and drafts a report with recommendations to the House for a vote at the second session.  

Step 5: HOD — Second Session
During its second session, the House considers each reference committee's report and votes whether to accept or reject the committee's recommendation. 

Step 6: Implementation of HOD Policies and directives
The Board of Trustees is responsible for prioritization, oversight, and implementation of policies and directives approved by the HOD.

The Department of Governance Meetings and Services
For additional information please email the Department of Governance Meetings and Services at

Share on Facebook

Get Involved

Contribute your unique talents to the society's efforts. Elected, appointed and volunteer positions are available at district and statewide levels.


Registration for the 2024 Annual Meeting is now available.

Facebook logoLinkedInYouTube logoInstagram

Copyright © 2023. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311