American Family Physician becomes Chair of the World Medical Association

Dr Edward Hill, a former President of the American Medical Association, has been elected Chair of the World Medical Association. He takes over from Dr Yoram Blachar, president of the Israel Medical Association, who has stood down after four years in the post.

Dr Hill was elected unopposed at the WMA's Council meeting in Berlin today.

A family physician from Tupelo, Mississippi, he was chair of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 2002 and went on to become president of the AMA in 2005.

Commenting today on his election, he said: 'We face many challenges as an international organisation of physicians. The issues are very complex and will require a great deal of commitment and hard work. We have dedicated colleagues and an excellent and vigorous staff and we can and will meet our goals.'

Dr Hill received his medical degree from the University of Mississippi and completed his internship while serving four years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, in addition to serving as a general medical officer in a naval destroyer group. He began his professional career in the rural Mississippi Delta where he practiced for 27 years. In addition to his full-service family practice, he developed and directed a local maternal child health program that resulted in lowering the fetal mortality rate from one of the highest in the United States to below the national average, where it remained. He was also director of the Family Practice Residency Program at North Mississippi Medical Center, the USA's largest rural hospital.

Dr Hill has been chairman and president of the Mississippi State Medical Association, president of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians, delegate to the American Academy of Family Physicians, and president of the Southern Medical Association.

He and his wife, Jean, have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Dr K. Iwasa from the Japan Medical Association was re-elected vice chair and Prof. J.D. Hoppe from the German Medical Association was re-elected treasurer.