The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates elected Patrice A. Harris, MD, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, as its president-elect at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago Tuesday. She is the first African-American woman to win the office, and when she assumes the post of AMA president in June 2019, Dr. Harris also will be the Association’s first African-American female to hold that office.
Dr. Harris also serves as the Chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force, who’s recently released physicians’ progress report showed a 22.2 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions nationally from 2013- 2017, and a 121 percent increase in physicians and other health care professionals using their states’ prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) from 2016-2017. Despite this progress, opioid overdose deaths continue to rise due to illicit fentanyl and heroin use, proving that much work remains to be done.
Dr. Harris was also formerly President of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and Fulton County’s Chief Health Officer, overseeing all county health-related programs and functions and spearheaded the county’s efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services.