The AMA needs to be the voice of American medicine, prepare physicians for a changing culture, become financially stable and grow membership rolls, the group's new chief executive says.
Michael Maves, M.D., named CEO and executive vice president Nov. 19, says the AMA will recognize the changing world, especially in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and continue to educate physicians about bioterrorism.
"The AMA is sort of an American icon," Maves says. "It's a valued part of the American culture. We want to maintain that status that we're respected and trusted and that we have an authoritative voice when we speak."
Maves, 53, heads the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington, which represents manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements. He will start at the AMA on Jan. 15.
He replaces E. Ratcliffe Anderson, M.D., who was fired in summer, a few weeks after suing the AMA and its top officers for breach of contract and slander. That case is pending.
Maves, an otolaryngologist, says he believes there are a lot of important issues the AMA needs to address.
"What I've been focused on is looking forward with the strong people skills that help me to work with people with diverse backgrounds," he says. "I'm someone who can craft a consensus decision. I'm someone who will work hard to get a consensus decision, which is needed more and more."
To do that, Maves says he plans to focus on the AMA's core areas of competence: private sector advocacy, ethics and standard settings.
But he is not ruling out new ventures, including e-commerce.
Maves was executive vice president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery from 1994 to 1999 and has served as an alternate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates and as governor of the American College of Surgeons.
He co-chairs the medical/surgical panel of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee and serves on its executive committee. He also served as professor and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at St. Louis University College of Medicine from 1988 to 1994.
Maves received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo and his medical degree from Ohio State University. He has an MBA from the University of Iowa College of Business Administration. He is a former captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Bringing in an outsider with few formal connections to the AMA was a smart move, says Howard Wolinsky, co-author of The Serpent on the Staff: the Unhealthy Politics of the American Medical Association.
Wolinsky says that is what AMA leaders tried to do when they hired Anderson.
"They finally looked to improve the stock by bringing in Anderson," he says. "And that turned into a disaster.
"The easy thing would've been to look inside. That would've brought up the whole
But Maves' affiliation with the vitamin and dietary supplement industry is "a little curious," Wolinsky says. "The question is: Does he have credibility within the physician ranks? Is this the gallant savior for the AMA? Only time will tell."
Wolinsky says he doesn't know much about Maves. "Will the champion of the herbal and supplement industry be the champion for organized medicine? This patient may be so sick, he'll have to apply the paddles and see if he can bring (the AMA) back to life."