Physician associations, in particular the American Medical Association (AMA), were long seen as a dominant force in health policy, using their symbolic power, access to politicians, financial resources, and collective strength to shape policy in their interest.1 However, with the rise of other policy actors (such as the hospital, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries) and tectonic shifts in the political economy of the health sectors of many countries, researchers have argued that the power of physicians has diminished, and that they are less relevant to policy change (Peterson 2001; Stevens 2001; Stone 1998). In this special section, we caution against overstating the loss of physicians' collective power (Timmermans and Berg 2003; Timmermans and Oh 2010) and draw attention to a casualty of this assumption—the scholarly neglect of physician associations. We argue that the techniques used by physician associations to affect policy change have evolved significantly,...
Introduction to “Recontextualizing Physician Associations: Revisiting Context, Scope, Methodology”
Sorcha A. Brophy is an assistant instructional professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research explores the challenges that organizations face as they attempt to create ethics policies. She has recently authored articles about the politics of physician associations in JHPPL and the Journal of Professions and Organization.
Veena Sriram is an assistant professor of global health policy at the University of British Columbia, jointly appointed between the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the School of Population and Public Health. Her research examines the politics of health policy in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on governance and health workforce issues. She has recently been published in Social Science and Medicine, BMJ Global Health, and Health Policy and Planning.
Sorcha A. Brophy, Veena Sriram; Introduction to “Recontextualizing Physician Associations: Revisiting Context, Scope, Methodology”. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 August 2021; 46 (4): 641–652. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-8970852
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