World Medical Association

The Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy strongly supports and actively participates in the World Medical Association (WMA).  The WMA is an independent confederation of national medical associations, acting as the global representative body for physicians.  Its membership includes millions of physicians worldwide, working in all sectors and medical specialties.  The World Medical Association serves humanity by endeavoring to achieve the highest possible standards in medical education, medical science, medical art and medical ethics, and healthcare for all people in the world.  Operated by physicians for physicians, this thriving organization has now become a major role player in the development of healthcare policy.  Internationally, it is regarded as the cornerstone of research ethics and acts as one of the most important protective measures for human subjects involved in medical research.

Center Director, Dr. Yank Coble, served in many roles as an elected official of the WMA.  He chaired the Finance and Planning Committee (2003 – 2004) and the Governance Task Force from 2004 – 2005, and served on the US and WMA Delegations to the World Health Organization.   Dr. Coble became President Elect in Helsinki, Finland in 2003 and installed as President in Tokyo, Japan in October 2004, where he had meetings with the Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi.  Following the installation, Dr. Coble was honored at a reception hosted by the Japanese Medical Association and Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.  During his presidency (2004-2005), Dr. Coble had the opportunity to launch the Caring Physicians of the World Initiative, which included the development of the CARING PHYSICIANS OF THE WORLD book.  This book showcases physicians from around the world who exemplify the traditional values of medicine - science, ethics and caring.  As President of the WMA, Dr. Coble traveled worldwide 2003 – 2006 to visit most WMA Member Associations during their national and regional meetings. 


The first WMA Ethics Manual was launched during Dr. Coble’s presidency at the WMA, in Jan. 2005.  Responding to a need for a simple and concise ethics training manual for use by medical students and physicians, WMA Director of Ethics, Dr. John Williams and a team of advisors created such a manual.  The first edition of the manual was released to the press and some partner organizations in Jan. 2005.   The manual can be downloaded from the WMA website.


Water and Health:  A priority concern

The WMA identified the important link between water and health as a priority concern.  It was decided to develop a more comprehensive policy on this subject, which was completed when the WMA General Assembly in Tokyo adopted the WMA Statement on Water and Health ( - see "Policy").  Dr. Coble gave the opening address at the two-day symposium which was  planned with the World Ocean Observatory in New York, to further investigate and debate some of the more pressing water and ocean issues such as sanitation, ocean preservation, the biomedical potential of the oceans and access to water. It is tragic and prophetic that this event preceded the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of Dec. 26, 2004.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, all the water and ocean-related issues discussed during the meeting came into play in the most dramatic fashion.

World Medical Association
Read Dr. Coble’s Presidential Address to the World Medical Assembly, Tokyo,  October, 2004

 Read Dr. Coble’s Presidential Valedictory Address to the World Medical Assembly, Santiago, October, 2005
Read Dr. Coble’s Address to the World Health Assembly, Geneva, March 2006
Read Dr. Coble’s Remarks at the 176th WMA Council meeting, Berlin, Germany, May, 2007