Meet the First Ever Black Woman to be President of the American Medical Association

Dr. Patrice A. Harris, first Black president of the American Medical Association

In June 2019, Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., a psychiatrist from Atlanta, was sworn in as the 174th president of the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s premier physician organization. Dr. Harris is the first African-American woman to hold the office.
The AMA is the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, and represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.

Dr. Harris' role as president includes attacking the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care; driving the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning, and by promoting innovation to tackle the biggest challenges in health care; and leading the charge to confront the chronic disease crisis and improve the health of the nation.

Previously, Dr. Harris was elected to the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees and president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. She was also the founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee. In 2007, Dr. Harris was selected Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.

On both national and local levels, Dr. Harris has spearheaded efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services, while incorporating efforts to address the social determinants of health.

A native of Bluefield, W. Va., Dr. Harris received her medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed a psychiatry residency and child psychiatry fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine. She was inducted in 2007 to the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni.