Atlanta Psychiatrist Become First African-American President of AMATop Stories

June 13, 2018 05:40
Atlanta Psychiatrist Become First African-American President of AMA

(Image source from: AMA Wire - American Medical Association)

Atlanta psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris will take the leadership of American Medical Association after being elected president at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates in Chicago Tuesday.

Harris, who is the chief health officer for Fulton County, become the first African-American woman to take the helm of the office. Following a year-long term as AMA president-elect, she will be appointed as president in June 2019.

Harris presently confers with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and private organizations on health policy and works in private practice, according to an AMA news release. She is as well an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Harris has experience as a private practicing physician, patient advocate, public health administrator and physician spokesperson.

"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," Harris said in the release.

She further said, "I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art. The American Medical Association has a 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."

Earlier, in 2011, Harris was first elected to the AMA Board of Trustees and has held the executive offices of AMA board security and AMA board chair. Harris spearheaded endeavors to integrate public health, behavioral health and, primary care services as Fulton County's chief health officer. She as well served as medical director for the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities.

She was elected to the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, prior to her AMA service.

By Sowmya Sangam

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