Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society announces policies on racism, cannabis

Massachusetts Medical Society announces policies on racism, cannabis

WALTHAM – After considering several resolutions submitted by member-physicians, the Massachusetts Medical Society, supporting 25,000 physicians in the Commonwealth, has adopted several new organizational policies, including public health-focused policies on racism, pollution, and cannabis.

Physicians and medical students from across the state attended virtually the organization’s Interim Meeting Dec. 5 and considered resolutions proposed by members to the House of Delegates, the medical society’s governing body. Resolutions that were accepted by the House of Delegates are now organizational policy.

The Massachusetts Medical Society recognizes racism as a public health crisis and acknowledges that "racism is pervasive in all sectors and industries, including health care, and has detrimental effects on MMS members and the public in Massachusetts."

Further, the medical society committed to being an antiracist organization and will work to promote equity and racial justice by prioritizing antiracism in its policies, strategic plan, governance, and activities.

The organization also will continue to address social determinants of health. It committed to advocacy work that will address housing insecurity and will support "food is medicine" interventions that consist of healthy foods that are nutritionally tailored to meet the specific needs of patients living with or at-risk for serious health conditions affected by diet and/or food insecurity.

In recognizing there is a growing body of evidence regarding the benefits and risks of cannabis, the medical society adopted new policies on medicinal and recreational cannabis. The organization will base its advocacy activities on the strength of the available scientific evidence and will advocate at the state and federal levels for policies and funding to advance research into cannabis.

Additionally, the medical society will advocate for efforts at the state level that protect public health, with particular attention to protecting vulnerable populations, preventing impaired driving, and preventing and treating cannabis misuse and cannabis use disorder. The organization will continue to encourage open communication between physicians and patients regarding the use of cannabis.

In order to promote and protect the health of vulnerable populations in Massachusetts, the medical society will urge action by state legislative and regulatory entities as well as industry to improve ambient air quality.

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being. Under the auspices of the NEJM Group, the MMS extends our mission globally by advancing medical knowledge from research to patient care through the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Catalyst, and the NEJM Journal Watch family of specialty publications, and through our education products for health care professionals: NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

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