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A woman from Atlanta is displaying #BlackExcellence in the field of healthcare. Psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris was recently appointed to become the president of the American Medical Association; making her the first Black woman to hold the position, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.

It was announced that she had been elected president of the association at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House Delegates in Chicago earlier this week, the news outlet writes. She’s slated to start her new role in June 2019.

Harris—who currently serves as Fulton County’s chief health officer—has dedicated her career to health advocacy; working as a public health administrator and a physician. She’s used her platform and influence in the medical field to bring attention to issues related to healthcare reform and has worked with several healthcare organizations to advance their services. Outside of her work in Fulton County, she serves as an adjunct professor in Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Harris says she’s honored to take on this position and hopes to change the narrative about health care within our country. “It will be my honor to represent the nation’s physicians at the forefront of discussions when policymakers and lawmakers search for practical solutions to the challenges in our nation’s health system,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art. 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.”

Prior to her appointment Harris was an AMA board secretary and AMA board chair.

There has been a push to increase African-American representation and participation in clinical and biomedical research in efforts to implement effective health care services that are tailored to our communities. Earlier this year, an initiative dubbed All of Us was launched to advance precision medicine in the United States.


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