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American Medical Association to push a nationwide ban on ‘conversion therapy’

AMA supports state and federal bans on conversion therapy

The AMA adopted several policies related to conversion therapy and treatment of LGBTQ patients at an interim meeting this week.

The House of Delegates announced the group will develop “model state legislation and advocate for federal legislation to ban so-called reparative or conversion therapy for sexual orientation or gender identity.” Delegates said this “support for legislative bans strengthens AMA’s long-standing opposition to this unscientific practice.”


“The AMA heard testimony, including first-hand accounts, regarding the significant harms triggered by conversion therapy, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts and attempts,” the group said in a statement. “Only 18 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy for people younger than 18, and no states have banned conversion therapy for adults. The AMA agrees with medical experts that the lack of regulation on conversion therapy opens the door to fraud, harm, and trauma for many adults and children in the U.S.”

“It is clear to the AMA that the conversion therapy needs to end in the United States given the risk of deliberate harm to LGBTQ people,” said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D. “Conversion therapy has no foundation as scientifically valid medical care and lacks credible evidence to support its efficacy or safety.”

Inclusive records for LTBGQ patients

“Failure of electronic health records to promote inclusive medical documentation is a major barrier to providing quality care to transgender patients. To fill the gap in needed information on transgender patients, the AMA today strengthened its existing policy promoting inclusive gender, sex and sexual orientation options in medical documentation for LGBTQ patients,” the statement continued. “To create [records] that are fully inclusive of transgender patients, the newly amended policy now supports the voluntary inclusion of a transgender patient’s preferred name and clinically relevant sex-specific anatomy in medical documentation.”

“The newly amended policy reinforces the importance of EHRs that contain inclusive information on transgender patients,” said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D.  “Without this information, transgender patients and their specific health care needs cannot be identified or documented, the health disparities they experience cannot be addressed, and the provision of important health care services may not be delivered.”

The amended AMA policy aligns with the recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health that medical documentation include a patient’s preferred name, gender identity, and pronoun preference, along with a means to maintain an inventory of a patient’s medical transition history and current anatomy.

Medical training related to sexual orientation and gender identity

To improve health equity, the AMA also adopted a policy aimed at ensuring medical students and residents have a better understanding of the health issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, the new policy encourages medical education accreditation bodies to continue to encourage and periodically reassess education on health issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the basic science, clinical care, and cultural competency curricula in medical school and residency programs.

“With research showing significant disparities among patients facing health issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, it is important that our future physicians have the training they need to recognize these health issues and better treat their patients,” said AMA Board Member Grayson W. Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H.

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