The executive vice president of the American Medical Association, James S. Todd, M.D., announced last week that he will retire when his contract expires in June 1996.
Todd has served as the AMA's top executive since 1990. He decided to retire, he said, because he had largely fulfilled the objectives he set for himself when he took the job.
"It's also time for a younger person to speak for the AMA. The average age of doctors is considerably lower than mine," said Todd, who is 63.
Todd, a surgeon in Ridgewood, N.J., joined the AMA in 1985 as senior deputy executive vice president. He was a member of the board of trustees from 1980 to 1984.
In a written statement, the AMA said Todd would leave an "indelible" mark on the association and the medical profession. He changed the way the organization operates and carried it "through one of the most turbulent and challenging eras in its history," including President Clinton's healthcare reform bill debate. The AMA also developed a new strategic plan under Todd and is going through the first stages of its implementation.
Sidney Wolfe, M.D., head of Public Citizen's Health Research Group-a consumer-advocacy organization-and a longtime critic of the AMA, said Todd's views are far more progressive than those of the AMA on matters such as the organization's financial support of congressmen sympathetic to tobacco interests.
"Todd must be leaving frustrated that the organization has not moved much farther forward than it has," Wolfe said.
Todd has written numerous articles on professional liability in healthcare and is a past president of the Physician Insurers Association of America.
Todd, who made $452,000 a year in the post, will assist the board as it undertakes a search for his replacement.