AMA Center for Health Equity

Don’t miss your chance to become a health equity physician leader

Kevin B. O'Reilly , Senior News Editor

Physicians have until March 15 to apply to be part of the next cohort of the Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship. The collaborative initiative is empowering physician-led advocacy to advance health equity and remove barriers to achieve optimal health for all.  

Membership Moves Medicine™

  • Free access to JAMA Network™ and CME
  • Save hundreds on insurance
  • Fight for physicians and patient rights

The Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship, launched in 2021, is preparing the next generation of physician advocacy leaders to generate and exchange solutions and drive meaningful policy and structural changes. Learn more and apply now

Eight fellows have taken the time to talk with the AMA about their passion for health equity and what they have learned by taking part in this education initiative provided by the AMA and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine. 

Read on to explore the caliber of physicians you could be learning with if you decide to take advantage of this outstanding leadership and training opportunity. 

  1. Physician advocacy for patients with HIV gets personal 

    1. As a physician working where the Upper East Side and East Harlem meet in Manhattan, Richard Silvera, MD, MPH, has a unique perspective on medicine and medical justice. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he is an assistant professor of infectious diseases and the associate program director of the Infectious Disease Fellowship, straddles the border between one of the richest ZIP codes in the U.S. and one of the poorest. 
    2. The social, political and financial disparities between these two neighborhoods would pose challenges for physicians in even the most ordinary primary care settings. But Dr. Silvera isn’t doing ordinary primary care. Most of his work is with patients living with HIV. 
  2. This resident psychiatrist stakes her claim as physician leader 

    1. As a small town girl living in a rural area of South Mississippi born to parents who worked blue-collar jobs, AMA member Avani K. Patel, MD, MHA, always dreamed of becoming a doctor. Like her sister, also a physician, Dr. Patel looked at physicians as heroes. Dr. Patel has found ways to break barriers and biases to help patients and pave the way for other physicians like her. 
  3. Connecting the dots on health equity 

    1. AMA member Jerry P. Abraham, MD, MPH, CMQ, knows an awful lot about advocacy. A family physician and director of Kedren Vaccines at Kedren Health, a community health center and psychiatric hospital in South Los Angeles, Dr. Abraham is also president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, a trustee of the California Medical Association and vice chair of the AMA Council on Constitution & Bylaws.  
    2. So why, when he heard last year there were openings for the Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship, did he feel he needed to apply? “No matter how educated I am or how many degrees I have, I still need to grow,” he said. “Anyone who says they’re done growing actually has a lot of growing to do, and I hope I go to my grave still growing.” 
  4. A safety-net physician discovers her power to help patients 

    1. Amna Khan, MD, learned early on how inequitable access to care can have a life-changing impact. “My father suffered a serious illness when I was quite young, and lots of financial hardships came out of it,” she said. “So as a teenager, I was already acquainted with the issue of health care access, especially for people who have different cultural and religious needs. I remember internalizing all of that and realizing there were so many ways my family could have had a better experience with the health care system.” 
    2. Advancing health equity has remained central to Dr. Khan’s work ever since. 
  5. For this Tulane doctor, advancing health equity has global focus 

    1. Anjali Niyogi, MD, MPH, has worn many hats as a humanitarian, patient advocate and global health activist. She spent part of her career in India, where she was born, and West Africa, creating programs to modernize health care in underdeveloped communities. 
    2. “I’ve sort of stumbled into all of these things,” said Dr. Niyogi, now an associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Niyogi explained how the AMA fellowship aligns with her goals to empower communities and improve health. 
  6. Patients with CKD often feel invisible. This doctor is changing that. 

    1. Shortened lifespans, lack of gainful employment, missed birthdays, holidays spent alone, travel cut short. People with chronic kidney disease lose life experiences every day. 
    2. “It’s an illness that makes patients feel invisible because of all of the difficulties they have in getting treatment and just trying to exist,” said AMA member Greta C. Manning, MD, a family physician in private practice in Clarksville, Tennessee, and the founder of Ora’s Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes awareness of kidney diseases. Created in 2008, the foundation was named after Dr. Manning’s mother, Ora, who died from complications of chronic renal failure in 2006. 
  7. Why strained EDs can’t overlook social factors driving health 

    1. Soon after Dhara Amin, MD, finished her residency in emergency medicine and went to work at the public safety-net hospital in Chicago, her hometown, in 2015, she began to realize how ill-prepared she was for the job. Or at least the job as she saw it. 
    2. “I was the attending, and I recognized I knew the medicine really well, but I did not know the needs of the population,” said Dr. Amin. “It became very clear to me that the care patients needed often went outside of medical care—things like transportation, health literacy and being able to eat the right diet. It made me sad, and I wished there was something we could do about it.” 
  8. Inclusion makes clinical evidence and precision medicine stronger 

    1. If certain patient populations are not included in clinical research, they are then not part of the evidence base used to formulate treatments for their particular condition and their unique experiences. 
    2. “The explicit exclusion and implicit non-inclusion of marginalized populations in clinical research limits the generalizability of research findings and withholds the benefits of research from those not involved,” wrote Carl G. Streed Jr., MD, MPH, in describing the problem his research is trying to solve. Much of his research has been done as a member of the AMA Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship program. 

The Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship provides a mentoring and training platform that will equip participants with the foundational skills, tools and knowledge to engage in institutional and political health advocacy. The fellowship is open to all physicians and residents who have a demonstrated interest in health equity and health advocacy. 

Learn more about the AMA Center for Health Equity