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Proud of Our Own – Patrice Harris, MD, President of American Medical Association

I have many privileges in my life, including helping oversee the School of Medicine, as a returning graduate and helping oversee our academic health system, WVU Medicine.

In the column that the circle remains unbroken, I also had the great privilege of attending the Presidential induction ceremony of Dr Patrice Harris, Bluefield, West Virginia native; WVU School of Medicine grad; adolescent psychiatrist; and first African-American woman to lead the AMA.

Wow - talk about glass ceiling breakers!

This is a personification of our commitment that "Mountaineers Go First."

Patrice is an incredibly articulate and poised leader. She gave a stirring address earlier this week at her inauguration, with several references to her upbringing in West Virginia, her personal challenges in navigating this central leadership position in medicine and her dreams of many communities as one.

Unity, connection, community, justice, access for all, women as leaders, African-American women as leaders.

These were foundational themes of her address last night to a standing-room only ballroom in Chicago, the headquarters of the AMA.

She also referenced Maya Angelou several times.

Her first Maya Angelou quote, “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities”.

The last, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away”.

Patrice: You took all of our breath away last night and our medical community and country could not be more fortunate to have you in the lead.

Go First!

Almost Heaven.