The AMA Journal of Ethics invites original submissions for peer review consideration on the following themes that will be explored in 2020 and 2021:

October 2020: Caring for Native American Patients

Disparities in health status and in access to services are pervasive and largely unrecognized or poorly addressed in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Articulating the nature and scope of health care professionals’ duties, understanding the origins of historically-entrenched and present-day practices and policies governing Indian Health Service units, and innovating health professions education partnerships with AI/AN communities can motivate health justice. The October 2020 issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics considers ethical complexities of providing equitable care to Native American patients living on rural sovereign reservations and everywhere else in America.

Manuscripts submitted for peer review consideration and inclusion in this issue must follow Instructions for Authors and be submitted by 31 January 2020.

November 2020: Risk Management Ethics

Patient-centered approaches to care guides health care professionals to includes patients’ cultural traditions, personal preferences, and values as integral components of care planning and management. But, expressing respect for patients’ choices can test typical risk management tendencies to prioritize patient safety. When risk managers find themselves at odds with a patient’s right to self-determination or right to refuse treatment, they might engage a colleague in ethics to consider particulars that could justify deviating from standard of care or justify not implementing a routine legal risk mitigation strategy. Collaborations among ethicists, risk managers, and clinicians can be particularly helpful in situations in which patients do not feel safe or feel dissatisfied with clinicians or services. Disciplines of ethics and risk management also prepare their practitioners to field and consider a broad range of possible responses to situations in which patients don’t progress clinically or situations in which care tasks are not executed—by clinicians or by organizations—safely, efficiently, or equitably. The November 2020 issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics investigates these and other intersections of ethics and risk management.

Manuscripts submitted for peer review consideration and inclusion in this issue must follow all Instructions for Authors and be submitted by 28 February 2020.

January 2021: Legacies of the Holocaust in Health Care

Health professionals played leading roles in the National Socialist (Nazi) movement in Germany in the middle of the 20th Century. Nazi ideology was appealing to many physicians and scientists, who saw the movement as an opportunity to apply genetics, biology, and statistics to national governance and creation of a “master race.” It is commonly thought that Nazi physicians ignored or rejected their professional ethical values when committing heinous crimes. But a tragic fact is that Nazi political stances were explicitly crafted as ethical guidelines for medical practice and research, and were openly developed and taught in medical curricula during the Third Reich.

Health professionals’ involvement in atrocities of the Holocaust has influenced contemporary bioethics in critical ways that warrant reminding and further ethical investigation. Contemporary bioethical inquiry about equitable care, genetics, informed consent, public health, cost-benefit analysis, military and civilian clinical ethics, death and dying, abortion, research ethics, and refugee care has been shaped by Nazi medical crimes. So, one question worth exploring is What do health professions students today need to know about health professionals’ roles in the Holocaust to more fully and deeply internalize values that should guide clinical practice, research, decision-making, and policy-making?

Medicine was a powerful profession in Nazi Germany and it is, perhaps, even more powerful across the world today. Risk of medical abuse remains substantial, so investigating health professionals’ roles in Holocaust history and motivating clarity about how this history can, does, and should inform contemporary bioethics is critical. The January 2021 issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics is devoted to orienting and reorienting contemporary bioethics to legacies of this tragic history.

Manuscripts submitted for peer review consideration and inclusion in this issue must follow all Instructions for Authors and be submitted by 28 February 2020.

February 2021: Racial and Ethnic Health Equity in the US

Health equity is defined by the World Health Organization as the “absence of unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health among social groups.” Historically, health inequities have persisted along axes (race, ethnicity, and gender, for example) of socially and economically entrenched patterns of oppression. This theme issue focuses specifically on racial and ethnic health inequity as a phenomenon that is not a historical accident, but a product of political and economic structures that advantage some and disadvantage others. While the goal of optimal health for all is elegant in simplicity, it is fully achievable only if we confront the ethical complexities of how racial and ethnic health inequities are situated in legacies of colonialism and white supremacy. This theme issue interrogates the nature and scope of individual and collective responsibility for racial and ethnic health equity.

The February 2021 issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics welcomes explorations about roles and responsibilities of health care professionals and institutions in combatting individual biases and structural racism that underpin racial and ethnic health inequity. Content on how research, teaching resource development, organizational obligations, policy innovation, technological innovation, and clinical ethics, should motivate equity in health outcomes, health status, and access to health care services, for example, are welcome.

Manuscripts submitted for peer review consideration and inclusion in this issue must follow all Instructions for Authors and be submitted by 1 April 2020.

March 2021: Disparities Along the Medical/Dental Divide

Dental and medical professionals tend to experience structural barriers to responding fully to patients’ needs because of differences in training, insurance coverage, and access to services. This issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics seeks wide-ranging perspectives on the nature, scope, and influence of the medical/dental divide, exemplary or scalable models of improved care coordination, and lessons from dental and medical care service delivery that can benefit all clinicians and motivate better outcomes for patients and communities.

Manuscripts submitted for peer review consideration and inclusion in this issue must follow Instructions for Authors and be submitted by 1 May 2020.