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American Medical Association elects first black female head

MONUMENTAL APPOINTMENT: Dr Patrice A Harris (Image: American Medical Association)

AN ATLANTA psychiatrist has become the first black woman to be elected as president of the American Medical Association.

Dr Patrice A Harris was elected as president of the AMA at the annual meeting of the association’s house delegates in Chicago earlier this month.

Harris, the chief health officer for Fulton County, has been appointed to the position after a year-long term as president-elect of the AMA.

She said: “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. 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.”

Harris currently works in the private health sector and consults with public and private organisation on the delivery of health services and emerging trends in practice and health policy. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The psychiatrist will be officially inaugurated as president of the association in June 2019.

Harris has previously held the position of AMA board secretary, board chair and was first elected to the board of trustees in 2011.

She has “a passion to improve the lives of children and service to others”, according to the AMA’s website.

In 2007 she was named psychiatrist of the year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.

The AMA works to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health in the United States through leadership, advocacy, outreach and innovation.

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