Physician sues American Medical Association for defamation, conspiracy

Physician Willarda Edwards, MD, ran a 2022 campaign to become the American Medical Association's second Black female president, according to a Jan. 19 report from Medscape. Now, she is suing the organization for defamation and conspiracy. 

The AMA accused the Baltimore-based internal medicine physician of vote trading during the election cycle. The organization also rejected Dr. Edwards' attempt to settle the matter without litigation, according to the report. 

Dr. Edwards has been with the AMA since 1994 and has been a trustee since 2016. In 2022, she was one of three candidates running to become president. 

In her complaint, Dr. Edwards claims she was incorrectly advised by a colleague also running for AMA board election in 2022. The AMA's Election Campaign Committee interrogated Dr. Edwards about vote trading with no concrete evidence, according to the report. 

On the day of the election, the AMA's house speaker read a statement to the committee claiming that Dr. Edwards has committed a possible campaign violation. She publicly denied violations, and then lost the election. 

Her lawsuit claims that allegations were read out to the 600 voting members just minutes before the vote, causing Dr. Edwards to lose the race. 

The AMA told Medscape that there is no official transcript of the election, so no information can be corroborated. 

"The AMA impugned Dr Edwards with these false charges, which destroyed her candidacy and irreparably damaged her reputation," reads the complaint filed to the Baltimore County Circuit Court in November. 

The case has since been moved to federal court. 

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