Dr. Bobby Mukkamala Elected as President-Elect Of The American Medical Association (AMA)

Feature and Cover Dr Bobby Mukkamala Elected as President Elect Of The American Medical Association (AMA)

Bobby Mukkamala, MD, an otolaryngologist from Flint, Michigan was elected president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA)by physicians and medical students gathered at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago on June 11th, 2024.

Mukkamala will take over the presidency of AMA starting in June 2025 after the current President, Bruce Scott, M.D., who was inaugurated as AMA president on June 11, 2024. Mukkamala will serve a one-year term for the physician advocacy group, which has been focused on reforming Medicare physician pay, reducing prior authorization burden and mitigating provider burnout, including through the use of technology to augment provider workflow.

“It is a turbulent time to be a physician in this country,” said Dr. Mukkamala. “Challenges like an unsustainable Medicare payment system, excessive prior authorization, and physician burnout have put our health system in a precarious place. But the AMA is fighting these battles in Congress, in state capitals, and in our communities to achieve a better future where physicians can spend more time with their patients. I am honored to be chosen by my peers as the AMA’s president-elect and I am eager to continue fighting for better health care for all our communities.”

Dr. Mukkamala has been active in the AMA since he was a resident physician at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. He is chair of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, serving as a strong voice in advocating for evidence-based policies to end the nation’s overdose epidemic.

Dr Bobby Mukkamala Elected as President Elect Of The American Medical Association (AMA)

The son of two immigrant physicians, Dr. Mukkamala was inspired to go into medicine and return to his hometown of Flint to serve the community that welcomed his family decades before. He played a central role in response to the Flint water crisis, serving as chair of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint with a focus on funding projects to mitigate the effects of lead in children.  

As an otolaryngologist, Dr. Mukkamala sees patients at all stages of life and all phases of health. He will succeed Bruce A. Scott, MD, as the second consecutive AMA president to specialize in otolaryngology. Explore why the AMA is the otolaryngologist’s powerful ally in health care.

Dr. Mukkamala is a past recipient of the AMA Foundation’s “Excellence in Medicine” Leadership Award. He was elected to the AMA Council on Science and Public Health in 2009 and chaired the council 2016– 2017, before being elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2017. He won reelection to the board in 2021.

He has served as a member of the Michigan State Medical Society’s board of directors since 2011, as board chair for two years, and as its president. He is also a past president of the Genesee County Medical Society and continues to serve on its board of directors.

Mukkamala has served in leadership roles within the American Medical Association and for local health initiatives in Michigan. Mukkamala attended the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.

Mukkamala was among 10 honorees awarded the Governor’s Service Awards in Michigan for supporting his community during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the state of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity website, Mukkamala served the Flint community on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic at testing sites and mobile clinics. He also partnered with his son to make N95-like masks for healthcare professionals with 3D printers within their homes and worked on vaccination efforts.

Mukkamala said in an interview with the media that he hopes to work on prevention of chronic diseases rather than the “sick care” model that costs the health system millions.

Mukkamala is interested in chronic disease detection and prevention from community work in Flint, Michigan. He said that at a local farmer’s market, he offered blood pressure screenings. Nearly 30% of people entering the farmer’s market had stage one hypertension, and they didn’t know it.

“That’s the sort of observation that I make in my hometown that is perfectly aligned with exactly what the priority stories of the AMA is, which is to identify that and decrease the burden of chronic disease in our country,”Mukkamala said.

Mukkamala also hopes to continue in the AMA’s advocacy of modernizing technology in healthcare and facilitating interoperability.

“If, during my three years, we can kind of call attention to the foolishness of this lack of interoperability of health information, I will leave the AMA in three years as a happy man knowing that I put my fingerprints on the work that makes that rights that wrong,” he said.

He continued, saying: “If somebody has an allergy to a medication…  they don’t have to worry about remembering that in every physician’s office that they go to because it automatically populates the allergy field of their medical record. It’s just something so basic that we’re missing out on. That’s one thing that is my sort of pet project.”

The AMA House of Delegates passed a resolution addressing prior authorization at its annual meeting in Chicago. The resolution, which will ultimately be passed onto lawmakers, would create greater oversight of health insurers’ use of prior authorization controls on patient access to care. A statement by AMA says the group will advocate for increased legal accountability of health insurers, increased transparency for prior authorization denials, and support real-time prescription benefit tools .

Mukkamala said, one of his priorities as future AMA president is to increase the physician supply in the country. He advocates for the addition of international medical graduates to the workforce as well as fostering growth of U.S.-educated doctors. He said residency slots need to be increased to address the shortage.

He also pointed to restrictive laws, like one in Michigan, that require internationally-trained physicians to re-do residency training before working as physicians in the U.S. He advocates a shorter acclimation period for international doctors to work in the U.S.

AMA delegates also elected Bobby Mukkamala, MD, an otolaryngologist in Flint, Michigan, as the organization’s president-elect. They also re-elected David Aizuss, MD, a Los Angeles ophthalmologist, and Ilse Levin, DO, MPH, a Washington-area internist, to the board of trustees. And they elected first-time trustees Melissa Garretson, MD, a pediatric emergency physician in Forth Worth, Texas; Lynn Jeffers, MD, MBA, a plastic surgeon in Oxnard, California; and David Welsh, MD, MBA, a general surgeon in Batesville, Indiana.

Bruce Scott, MD, an otolaryngologist from Louisville, Kentucky, was sworn in as the American Medical Association’s (AMA) 179th president; he promised to “fight for our profession [and] fight for our patients.” In his inaugural address, Scott said, “I still believe the AMA can and does make a difference for our patients and our profession. We are committed to protecting the patient-physician relationship. Standing up for science and the ethical practice of medicine. Pushing back against reckless scope expansions. Fighting for fair payment that supports thriving practices. Pressing for relief from administrative burdens — so that physicians can focus our attention on what matters most — our patients.”

Mukkamala said, in the next year as president-elect, he hopes to learn from incoming president Bruce Scott, also an otolaryngologist, who has been a mentor to him for many years.

“He’s been a mentor for more than a decade now, and I certainly there’s a lot of fire in my belly about a lot of things, but I’m hoping to learn from him about how to translate that passion into conversations with people to accomplish solutions,” Mukkamala said. “So I’m really looking forward to honing my skills, honing my communication, my ability to communicate what’s on my mind and what’s that fire in my belly in a way that’s constructive. And so I’m glad to have this year as president-elect to kind of brush up my skills.”

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