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Black women are making history in the field of medicine. According to the San Francisco Examiner, pediatrician and youth activist Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was appointed to become the state of California’s first surgeon general.

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he had selected Dr. Burke Harris to take on the new role, the news outlet writes. In the position, she will be responsible for examining the pressing health issues faced by people living in the state and implementing effective strategies to overcome them. One of the things on her agenda is providing outreach for young families.

Burke Harris, 43, is well-suited for the position as she’s dedicated her career to spreading awareness about health conditions. She founded the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco in 2012 as a resource for children who were exposed to toxic trauma and stress at an early age. Harris is at the helm of the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health and is a part of several health-focused organizations including the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics National Advisory Board for Screening.

Burke Harris took to social media to share her excitement about becoming the state’s first surgeon general. “Looking forward to rolling up my sleeves as CA’s first Surgeon General,” she posted on Twitter. “Thank you @GavinNewsom for your bold vision for health for all Californians. #preventscreenandheal!”

Her appointment means a lot for representation in medicine. Institutions across the country are trying to empower Black students so that they can follow in her footsteps. According to a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Howard University is the top institution for sending African-American applicants to U.S. medical schools.


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