Dr. Patrice A. Harris is board-certified in psychiatry and has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, public health director and patient advocate. In 2019, Dr. Harris was elected as the 174th President of the American Medical Association, the first African-American woman to ever hold the position.
Dr. Harris’ life is marked by her passion to improve the lives of children and communities around her, especially communities of color. She is a recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, leading both local and national efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership.
Upon completing her term as President of the AMA, Dr. Harris has continued in private practice. She regularly consults with public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in health policy. She is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Harris is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Harris will share many insights on health equity, based on her years of experience. She will define health equity as having the conditions, resources, opportunities, and power to achieve optimal health. She will share a public health framework for health equity, including social inequities, institutional inequities, living conditions, risk behaviors, disease and injury, and mortalities. And key opportunities for engagement including strategic partnerships, community organizing, civic engagement, health education, case management, healthcare, and public policy.
She will also share her perspective on the reasons for the unequal impact of COVID for communities of color, and she will advocate that words really matter, with equality and often well-intended concepts but not always grounded in our current reality or leading to justice as an ultimate goal.
Supporting all of these concepts will be her repeated requests for data to help identify and bring evidence and context to light, supporting intellectually honest conversations that can turn data into action.