Dr. Patrice Harris becomes first black female president of American Medical Association

Patrice A. Harris, MD, was sworn in June 11 as the 174th president of the American Medical Association. She is the first black woman to assume the office.

patrice harris bio pic"We are no longer at a place where we can tolerate the disparities that plague communities of color, women, and the LGBTQ community. But we are not yet at a place where health equity is achieved in those communities," said Dr. Harris. "We are no longer at a place where underrepresented groups are not welcome in medicine, but we are not yet at a place where underrepresented groups are entering or graduating from medical schools at the rates of their peers."

"The saying 'if you can see it, you can believe it' is true," she also said. "And I hope to be tangible evidence for young girls and young boys and girls from communities of color that you can aspire to be a physician. Not only that, you can aspire to be a leader in organized medicine."

Dr. Harris will also continue to serve as chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force, which she has led since it was created in 2014.

She has served on the AMA Board of Trustees since 2011, previously providing leadership as board secretary and board chair. She was chair of the AMA Council on Legislation and co-chair of the Women Physicians Congress.

A psychiatrist, she previously served on the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and is a past president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. She was also the founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee.

Dr. Harris will continue her private practice. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in Atlanta-based Emory University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine, also in Atlanta.

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