- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2005

CHICAGO (AP) — With heartstring-tugging ads portraying doctors as “everyday heroes,” the American Medical Association is beginning a $60 million marketing campaign to polish its image and boost sagging membership.

The ads feature attractive AMA doctors, along with patients praising their healing efforts as heroics.

They “emphasize the nobility of the profession and capture the sense … that these are people in your life that matter,” said Gary Epstein, the AMA’s new chief marketing officer.

Convincing doctors that the AMA matters is also part of the campaign, which will be rolled out in national TV, radio and magazine ads over the next several months.

The AMA membership has dropped for five consecutive years. About one-fourth of the nearly 1 million doctors and medical students nationwide belong to the AMA, which once represented two-thirds of the nation’s doctors.

AMA member Dr. Erica Frank admitted “tearing up” when she saw a video preview of the “heroes” campaign, with soaring music and images that included a tiny premature baby grabbing a doctor’s finger.

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