Andrew W. Gurman, MD, an orthopedic hand surgeon from Hollidaysburg, Pa., was recently sworn in as the 171th president of the American Medical Association (AMA).
In leading the nation’s largest physician organization, Dr. Gurman will focus his tenure on advancing the AMA’s three strategic focus areas, to: improve health outcomes for Americans living with pre-diabetes and hypertension; accelerate change in medical education and prepare students for today’s health care system; and enhance physician satisfaction and practice sustainability, according to a press release from AMA.
“I am honored to serve as AMA president during this pivotal time and be a voice for physicians nationwide,” said Gurman. “We must work together to build a healthier nation, but the gravity of challenges physicians face today is severe; challenges that have and continue to push many out of the profession. It is my privilege to lead this organization to ensure physicians’ needs are met.”
Born in New York and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Gurman is a graduate of Syracuse University. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, in 1980.
“There are profound changes happening in medicine right now and as leaders of our profession we must respond,” said Gurman. “I have learned quickly about the prevalence of burnout, which affects more than half of U.S. physicians today. I have also witnessed the suffocating impact of administrative paperwork and burdensome regulations, which have no real connection to quality care delivery. It is critical that we find solutions, respond to the tremendous challenges we face, and prepare for those we know are coming.”
After completing his surgical internship and residency in orthopedic surgery at the combined Montefiore Hospital/Albert Einstein program in New York, and a fellowship in hand surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute, Gurman entered practice in central Pennsylvania and became active in the local medical society and civic organizations.
In addition to being a past president of the Blair County Medical Society in Pennsylvania, Dr. Gurman’s distinguished record includes past service as vice speaker and then speaker of the Pennsylvania Medical Society House of Delegates, and as a two-time chair of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Political Action Committee. He has also served as professional chair for the United Way campaign and as a member of the board of trustees of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Gurman served as AMA president-elect this past year, and previously served as speaker and vice speaker of the House of Delegates — the AMA’s major policy-making body — for eight years. He has served as board liaison to the AMA Foundation and represented the AMA at the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, which aims to enhance health care quality; and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Stakeholders Group on Opioid Prescribing and Dispensing, a group committed to preventing inappropriate prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.
Dr. Gurman has maintained a practice in Altoona, Pa., for 30 years.