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AMA Announces Anti-Racism Effort

The American Medical Association has released a plan to tackle systemic racism within the group itself and the wider medical establishment, according to the Associated Press.

As doctors in the US are predominantly white, the AP notes that so too is the AMA membership, which tallies in at about 270,000 members or about a quarter of US doctors. It adds that the organization in recent years has acknowledged its racist past, including its role in fighting against hospital desegregation.

In its three-year plan, which it says has been under development for more than a year, the AMA aims to incorporate racial and social justice in its practices and policies, build alliances with historically marginalized groups, educate physicians about the structural drivers of health and inequities, and more.

"We're working very hard at AMA to increase not just diversity in the healthcare workforce but in understanding of health inequities," Gerald Harmon, the incoming AMA president, tells the AP.

While some activists tell the AP that the AMA's plan is a step in the right direction, others are skeptical, especially following the organization's mishandling of a Journal of the American Medical Association podcast earlier this year that was dismissive of systemic racism in medicine. That incident led to the resignation of a JAMA deputy editor and the placing of JAMA's editor-in-chief on leave pending an investigation, as well as prompted calls for a boycott of JAMA.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

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Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.