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Patrice A. Harris    

First African-American Woman President of the American Medical Association; Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association & Consultant on Health Service Delivery

Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, was elected to be president of the American Medical Association in June 2018. A psychiatrist from Atlanta, Dr. Harris has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, public health administrator, patient advocate and medical society lobbyist. Active in organized medicine her entire career, Dr. Harris has served on the board of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and was an APA delegate to the AMA. She has also been a member of the governing council of the AMA Women Physicians Congress, testified before and served on AMA reference committees, and has served on AMA work groups on health information technology, SGR and private contracting.

The AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) appointed her to the AMA Council on Legislation in 2003, and she was elected by the council in 2010 to serve as its chair. She was first elected to the AMA-BOT in June 2011. Dr. Harris has held many leadership positions at the state level as well, including serving on the board and as president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and on the Medical Association of Georgia’s Council on Legislation, its Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, and its Membership Task Force. She was also the founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee. In 2001 Dr. Harris was selected Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. In 2007 she was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Governing themes in Dr. Harris’ professional life are a passion to improve the lives of children and service to others.

Starting with medical school at West Virginia University, followed by a psychiatry residency and child psychiatry and forensics fellowships at Emory, and then as the Barton senior policy fellow at the Emory University School of Law, she has worked for children both clinically and in the advocacy arena. At Emory, she addressed public policy for abused and neglected children before the Georgia legislature and in public education programs. Dr. Harris has also given invited lectures and presentations on children’s mental health, childhood trauma, integration of health services, health equity, and the intersection of athletics and health.

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