Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society sets new policies on mental health of LGBTQ youth, gender-affirming care, climate change, and obesity

Massachusetts Medical Society sets new policies on mental health of LGBTQ youth, gender-affirming care, climate change, and obesity

WALTHAM – The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), the statewide professional association of physicians and medical students, has adopted several new organizational policies that will guide the group’s advocacy efforts, including those that affirm its position on climate change, caring for obese patients, access to mental health care for LGBTQ youth, and ensuring the safety of physicians who deliver gender-affirming care.

Physician-members of MMS’s House of Delegates attended the organization's 2023 annual meeting and considered a wide array of resolutions proposed by members and committee reports. Proposals accepted by the House of Delegates became organizational policy. Following are some of the newly adopted policies impacting public health and health care delivery in the Commonwealth and nationally.

Climate change

The MMS will advocate for effective Massachusetts state policies and legislation addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Caring for overweight and obese patients

The Medical Society recognizes that comprehensive pediatric and adult obesity prevention, evaluation, and treatment requires frequent and regularly scheduled visits with a member of a primary or specialty care physician-led team which may include nurses, non-physician practitioners, registered dieticians, behavioral health specialists, certified health coaches, physical therapists, and social workers, among others, and that such visits may be conducted in person or utilize telemedicine.

The MMS will advocate for the expedient implementation of supportive payment and public health policies that cover comprehensive obesity prevention, evaluation, and treatment, including lifestyle and behavioral counseling, anti-obesity medications, and bariatric surgery, by members of physician-led obesity care teams and all physicians trained to provide this care, including those who care for the co-morbidities of obesity. Additionally, the MMS will encourage Massachusetts medical schools and appropriate residency programs to include obesity prevention and treatment education in their curricula.

Mental health care for LGBTQ youth

In a policy authored by the MMS Committee on LGBTQ Matters, the Medical Society has pledged to work with appropriate stakeholders to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual youth with access to mental health resources through schools in Massachusetts.

Safety for physicians who provide gender-affirming care

The MMS will establish and maintain working relationships and serve as a point of contact with statewide and national reproductive health and reproductive justice organizations to engage in the feedback and advice of those organizations and collaborate in efforts to prevent and respond to threats of violence.

The Massachusetts Medical Society 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 Evidence, NEJM Catalyst, NEJM Resident 360, NEJM AI, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

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