In 1986, less than one third of 31509 pediatricians were members of the American Medical Association. This minority membership undermines the goals that the AMA and pediatricians share for the betterment of child health and the profession. Why are there so few AMA members? The actual reasons are not known, but certain factors seem obvious.
These factors are multiple and complex and include economic, philosophic, and personal reasons. In terms of economy, the dues appear to be costly, especially to a specialty that ranks near the bottom of the income scale for all medical disciplines.
Philosophic reasons include (1) membership in another national organization, ie, the American Academy of Pediatrics; (2) presumed or actual differences in philosophy between the AMA and individual pediatricians; and (3) history, including a belief that the AMA did not advocate for the same issues that pediatricians espouse.