NMA Boycotts Washington State The National Medical Association has pulled its 2001 annual convention out of Seattle to protest an antiaffirmative-action initiative approved by Washington State voters in November. The boycott deprives Seattle of an estimated $5.7 million in meeting-related revenues.

The NMA's cancellation costs are running into the high five figures, says Gary C. Dennis, MD, president of the Washington, D.C.based NMA. "We refuse to support the economies of communities that are working against improving health care, not only for African Americans, but for all Americans," he says. "We want other associations to do the same. We need a national movement."

The NMA is galvanizing an effort to repeal the Washington law and is helping devise strategies to overcome its negative effects.

As for Seattle, the boycott "didn't come as a shock to us," says Steve Morris, president, Seattle-King County CVB, explaining that the NMA had made it clear that the decision to meet in Seattle was riding on the election. While Morris respects the NMA's position, he says the CVB convinced Unity '99, a convention of minority journalists, to keep its July meeting in Seattle, because the city voted overwhelmingly against the initiative. "Our message was, don't punish Seattle for doing the right thing," he says, noting that the CVB went on record against the initiative--an unusual move for the bureau.