Patient advocates, researchers, policymakers and other experts in the medical field were named to the annual list of “40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health” set out by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF). These young leaders in health care have been on the front lines helping patients while keeping everyone educated, safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Many of those who made the list are physicians who use their positions to lead the charge to improve patient outcomes and build sustainable, healthy communities. Their work highlights the continued need to nurture diversity in their organizations. Among this year’s honorees, 11 are AMA members.

40 under 40 leaders in minority health
From left, top row: Drs. Ravi, Oiyemhonlan, Caldwell and Nuti; middle row: Drs. Srinivas, Thompson III and Scales; bottom row: Drs. Tsai, Nichols, Sejia and Chery

Megan Srinivas, MD, MPH, an infectious diseases specialist and translational health policy research fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was named to the list. Dr. Srinivas is a sectional delegate for the AMA Resident and Fellow Section and the resident member of the AMA Council on Medical Service.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Srinivas has been an advocate for science-based COVID-19 policies. Read this article featuring advice from Dr. Srinivas about what doctors wish patients knew about double masking.

Luis Seija, MD, an internal medicine and pediatrics resident at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, also made the list. Dr. Seija is the delegate for the AMA Minority Affairs Section (MAS). He notably championed the adoption of policy leading to the AMA’s recognition of racism as a public health threat and race as a social construct. During his time as a medical student at Texas A&M University, Dr. Seija served on the MAS Governing Council as the Medical Student Section Representative and was a recipient of the AMA Foundation’s Minority Scholars Award. 

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Anita Ravi, MD, MPH, MSHP, a family physician and public health scientist in New York, serves as vice chair of the AMA Women Physicians Section (AMA-WPS) Governing Council and is a member of the AMA Young Physicians Section (AMA-YPS). Dr. Ravi is the co-founder of the PurpLE Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advances the health of communities by investing in the physical, mental and financial health of women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence.

In an episode of the “AMA COVID-19 Update,” Dr. Ravi joined other experts to discuss the challenges women physicians face during the pandemic.

Other AMA members on the list include:

Kasandra L Scales, MD, MPH, an ob-gyn with the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, an AMA Health System Program Partner. Dr. Scales has dedicated her work to improving the health of underserved populations and is also a member of the AMA-WPS and AMA-YPS.

Martina T. Caldwell, MD, MS, an emergency physician, health equity researcher and medical director of diversity, equity and inclusion in the emergency medicine department at Henry Ford Health System, an AMA Health System Program Partner. Dr. Caldwell’s research focuses on emergency department interventions to improve reproductive health equity using community-based participatory research, mixed methods and implementation science.

Magdala Chery, DO, a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University. After losing both her parents to COVID-19, Dr. Chery created the #NotJustABlackBody campaign. The campaign is dedicated to honoring the Black people whose lives have been lost to or otherwise affected by COVID-19, while educating the community about the injustices and racism embedded in the health care system.

Alana C. Nichols, MD, graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to earning her medical degree, she completed her legal studies at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, where she remained to practice criminal defense and family law for five years. Dr. Nichols will continue her efforts to diversify the health profession and improve access to—and education surrounding—health care in vulnerable communities.        

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Sudhakar V. Nuti, MD, MSc, an internal medicine and primary care resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Driven by his experience as an immigrant growing up poor in Connecticut, Dr. Nuti seeks to use clinical medicine, science and policy to identify and address health inequities.

Brenda Oiyemhonlan, MD, MPH, an emergency physician at the Permanente Medical Group—Northern California, an AMA Health System Program Partner. Dr. Oiyemhonlan seeks to bring to the forefront issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as they relate to the recognition, referral and care coordination for racial and ethnic minority geriatric patients.

Charles E. Thompson III, MD, the founder, owner, chief surgeon and CEO of Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Solutions in Huntington Station, New York. Dr. Thompson serves the New York metro area and Long Island communities to address health inequities by lending his expertise to alleviating a major causative factor of health disparities: obesity.

Jennifer Tsai, MD, an emergency medicine resident physician at Yale School of Medicine, uses activism and disruptive pedagogy to rethink and advance health and climate justice, expand social medicine praxis and support equity across health systems.

Read about this year’s 40 under 40 leaders in minority health and see the full list at NMQF.

All 40 awardees will be acknowledged as award recipients during NMQF's annual Summit on Health Disparities and Health Braintrust on April 27. Co-sponsored by the AMA, this year's theme is "Racism Makes Me Sick."

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