Dr. Patrice A. Harris Becomes First Black President of American Medical Association

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

Dr. Patrice A. Harris has been named the new president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) after the board met at the annual meeting of delegates in Chicago on June 13. She will hold the president-elect title for a year long term before she becomes the president in June 2019.

She is the first African American woman to hold the office.

“It will be my honor to represent the nation’s physicians at the forefront of discussions when policymaker and lawmakers search for practical solutions to the challenges in our nation’s health system. I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art,” said Dr. Harris. “The American Medical Association has well-crafted policy concerning the changing health care environment in this country and I look forward to using my voice to help improve health care for patients and their physicians.”

Dr. Harris is a private practicing physician from Atlanta, Ga. Before she acquired the presidency, she was formerly a public health administrator, a patient advocate, and physician spokesperson. Harris was elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2011. In her time on the board, she has served as the AMA board Secretary and AMA board chair. She has chaired the AMA Council on Legislation, the Women’s Physician Congress and has been active on several other AMA taskforces and committees on health information technology, payment and delivery reform, and private contracting. While she serves as president, Harris will continue her work as chair on the AMA Opioid Task Force.

Before she began her work with the American Medical Association,she was elected to the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and held the office of president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. In 2007, Dr. Harris was selected Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.

Dr. Harris received her medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed a psychiatry residency and child psychiatry fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine. She was inducted in 2007 to the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

To learn more about the new president-elect, see here.

WHUR Contributor

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