Abstract

This article documents the public positions taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Medical Association on five topics with implications for public health: access to care for undocumented patients, fracking, gun control, climate change, and same-sex marriage. There are stark divisions on each of these issues between political parties, and taking a strong public position on them runs the risk of alienating some members of Congress, but each of these associations has done so. At the same time, there is a clear distinction between the public positions of these organizations and the priority given to them by their offices in Washington, DC. Drawing on an organizational maintenance framework, the author argues that taking these public positions is explained, in part, by a growth in the number of women and the number of physicians that affiliate with the Democratic Party in the United States.