About IAMRA > IAMRA History
The success of biennial international conferences on medical
regulation held since 1994 has led medical regulatory authorities around
the world to recognize that international collaboration is an essential
element in their role as public protectors. In September 2000, the
readiness of medical regulatory authorities to foster international
relations precipitated the formation of the International Association of
Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA).
The Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States (FSMB),
under contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services,
planned and conducted the 1st International Conference on Medical
Regulation. Participants met in Washington, DC in May 1994 and included
representatives of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South
Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Observers were sent
from Egypt, Israel, Mexico and Taiwan.
Designed to initiate dialogue among the participating nations, the
conference focused on the current status of medical regulation in the
participating nations, examining current research and identifying future
research needs. The conference was successful in stimulating discussion
and creating a consensus in favor of continued international dialogue.
Conferees concluded that problems faced in the field of medical
licensure and discipline are not unique to any one nation, and they
decided to hold a second conference in Australia.
The 2nd International Conference on Medical Regulation was held in
Melbourne in October 1996 and experienced increased participation, with
20 countries represented. Topics of discussion included disciplinary
procedures and practices, registration of medical students, assessment
of international medical graduates, impaired physicians,
re-certification and maintenance of competence, management of
complaints, the international movement of physicians, and issues
relative to telemedicine.
In September 1998, the Medical and Dental Professions Board of the
Health Professions Council of South Africa hosted the 3rd International
Conference on Medical Regulation in Cape Town, with 26 countries
represented. The 4th International Conference on Medical Regulation was
hosted by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom in September
2000 in Oxford and attended by 118 medical professionals from 23
These conferences were successful in providing a
forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of common problems
affecting the delivery of health care and the regulation of medical
practice, and generated support for establishing an international
association. An Interim Governing Committee (IGC) for IAMRA (originally
known as the International Association of Medical Licensing Authorities
[IAMLA]) was created, composed of a core group of permanent members to
provide stability and continuity. Participating countries included
Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the
United Kingdom, and the United States. The IGC approved a planning
document outlining steps that were or would have to be taken to develop
a permanent governance structure for the organization.
The following broadly defined goals were identified for the
Facilitate international cooperation and
collaboration among medical regulatory authorities and the exchange
of medical regulatory information.
Encourage and support high standards for medical
education, licensure and professional conduct.
Provide a forum for the development of new
concepts and approaches in medical regulation and thereby support
medical regulatory authorities in protecting the public.
The IGC resolved that two matters be dealt with as
priorities: the development of the bylaws of the association and
formulation of mechanisms by which information could be exchanged
between the members. Working Groups were created to formulate proposals
on each of these issues, which were presented for approval by IAMRA
membership at the 5th International Conference on Medical Regulation in
Toronto, Canada in June 2002. Final membership criteria and a dues
structure were included in the bylaws. Additionally, a reference listing
of all known medical regulatory authorities was developed to enhance the
exchange of information.
A Promising Future
The challenge for medical regulation in the 21st
century is to create a relevant, effective medical regulatory system
that can address the dynamics of global and rapidly changing medical
practice environments, technologies and health care delivery systems.
International cooperation is the key to enhancing the role of medical
regulatory authorities as the primary vehicle for public protection in
health care. IAMRA will help this goal become a reality.