In its Declaration of Professional Responsibility, the American Medical Association (AMA) declares that physicians have a responsibility to “advocate for social, economic, educational, and political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.” Another perspective builds on this definition, and defines advocacy as, “action by a physician to promote those social, economic, educational, and political changes that ameliorate the suffering and threats to human health and well-being that he or she identifies through his or her professional work and expertise.”
A couple of months ago, I was in the middle of a discussion regarding what was considered the “best” specialties for women physicians. Many of the people involved in this discussion weren’t physicians, but some were. And while the discussion was mostly dominated by men in the group, some women were also present. Suffice it to say that I was shocked by the opinions voiced by this group, including that of some of the women present. Some believed that there were specialties “meant” for women, while others were specifically designed for our male colleagues.