AMA chooses new president-elect

The American Medical Association has just named a New York pediatric neurosurgeon to be its new president-elect. Dr. Peter Carmel of Manhattan will serve as president-elect for a year before taking over as AMA president in June 2011.

“I am honored to be elected to lead the nation’s most influential physicians’ organization,” Carmel said in a statement. “As AMA president-elect, I pledge to serve as a strong voice and dedicated advocate for patients and physicians on the pressing issues confronting our health care system.”

Carmel will take over from James Rohack, who has been AMA president since June 2009.

Carmel's nomination comes at a time of some uncertainty for the AMA. The historically conservative organization supported the healthcare reform law but is still waiting for Congress to repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which it has long opposed. The prestigious organization has been losing members for years but remains the largest doctors' group in the United States, with about 18 percent of physicians.

Carmel was first elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2002, and reelected in 2006. 

He completed his medical training at the New York University School of Medicine and was a research associate at the National Institutes of Health, according to the AMA. He completed his residency in neurosurgery at the Neurological Institute of New York and obtained his doctorate in neuroanatomy from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he was the founding chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery and a professor of neurological surgery.

He founded the Neuroendocrine Laboratory within the Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1969. He has also served as chairman of the National Coalition for Research in Neurological Disease and Stroke, and subsequently as chairman of the National Foundation for Brain Research. 

Carmel is currently chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the New Jersey Medical School and co-medical director of the Neurological Institute of New Jersey.