Tag Archives: Shannon Lectureship

AMA Past-President Discusses Need for Leadership During Annual Lecture on Minority Health

The immediate past-president of the American Medical Association, Patrice Harris, M.D., said leadership is vital to properly address the persistent gaps and inequities in health care that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris delivered the UMKC School of Medicine’s Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health on Feb. 12 in a virtual event. She served as president of the AMA in 2020 during the onslaught of the pandemic.

View the 2021 Dr. Reaner & Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health

“I think we can all agree that we have a lot on our to-do list, going forward, post COVID, and it’s going to require leadership,” said Harris, the first African American woman to serve as AMA president.

Harris said that as the coronavirus evolved, one of the AMA’s primary roles under her guidance was to ensure that the organization provided the most up-to-date, evidence-based resources and information in the midst of a public health crisis.

“You want to make sure that you are leading and providing accurate information,” she said. “Clearly it was also our priority to make sure that physicians, practices and health care systems had the resources needed to navigate through the disruption. It certainly has been a tremendous disruption and still is. We wanted to make sure that we were fighting for physicians and practices and health care institutions so that we could better serve our patients.”

Harris shared what she said was a 25-year journey to becoming the 174th president of the AMA. She recalled that it wasn’t until after she had completed her undergraduate years of college at West Virginia that she met her first African American female physician.

After earning her medical degree in 1992 and becoming a psychiatrist, Harris served in leadership roles with several psychiatric organizations including the American Psychiatric Association.

Today, Harris is a psychiatrist and recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma. She serves as an adjunct assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine and the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In private practice, she consults public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy.

Along her journey to leading the AMA, Harris learned some lifelong lessons such as the importance of working together. The advocacy victories achieved in Washington, D.C., and at state levels don’t typically come through working in silos and without partnerships, Harris said.

Another vital learning moment in leadership came in realizing the need to embrace differing opinions.

“It is sometimes difficult if you are in the room and you’re the only one that has a disconfirming opinion,” she said. “But leadership requires us to make sure we voice appropriately, respectfully, strategically, disconfirming opinions.”

That, Harris added, includes having what can be tough discussions about issues including social and institutional inequities.

“We have to have the sometimes very difficult conversations about racism,” she said. “It is up to institutions, universities, the AMA, businesses, Fortune 100 companies, Fortune 500 companies to make sure they are having these conversations and make sure that the folks around the decision-making tables about to have these conversations are in contact with their stakeholders.”

The annual Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health creates an awareness about health disparities and provides medical professionals, students, residents and the local community information about timely issues that affect underserved and minority communities.

AMA past president to deliver 2021 Shannon Lectureship

Patrice Harris Bio PicThe UMKC School of Medicine will welcome Patrice Harris, M.D., immediate past president of the American Medical Association, as keynote speaker at the 2021 Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Endowed Lecture in Minority Health. This year’s lecture will be a virtual event at noon Feb. 12.

Harris, a psychiatrist and recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, will discuss the persistent gaps and inequities in health care highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role of organized medicine and physician leaders in bringing greater equity.

A private practice physician, county public health director, patient advocate and medical society lobbyist, Harris became the AMA’s first African American woman president in 2020. Before that, she developed a deep understanding of health care issues through several AMA leadership roles. She previously served as a member of the AMA Board of Trustees and has led the AMA Opioid Task Force since its origin in 2014.

Harris has also served in leadership roles with psychiatric organizations including the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Medical Association of Georgia and the Big Cities Health Coalition.

She also is an adjunct assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine and the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In private practice she consults public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy.

Harris is a graduate of West Virginia University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in counseling psychology before receiving her medical degree in 1992.

Surgical dermatologist Dr. Meena Singh to give 2020 Shannon Lecture

Meena Singh, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, will present the UMKC School of Medicine’s 2020 Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health on Feb. 28. A specialist in treating all types of cosmetic and medical hair loss, Singh currently serves as medical director of the KMC Hair Center in Shawnee, Kansas.

She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency training at the Mayo Clinic. She subsequently completed a surgical fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery, recognized as the most effective technique for treating common skin cancer. Singh also completed a fellowship with the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery under world-renowned surgeon Dr. Marc Avram. She has trained in all areas of hair transplantation techniques.

With a special interest in treating ethnic skin/skin of color, Singh has conducted clinical trials for laser hair stimulation. She has also studied hair transplants for both scarring and non-scarring hair loss, skin cancer in transplant patients and tissue engineering. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed dermatology journals, book chapters, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine. She recently co-authored a hair transplant textbook. Her blog articles have been published in online periodicals and she has also been featured on the cover of New York Times.

She currently serves as vice president of the Greater Kansas City chapter of the National Medical Association (NMA) and the Secretary/Treasurer of NMA Dermatology.

Mental health expert addresses social determinants for childhood health

The environment children are brought up in plays a large part in their eventual mental and physical well-being as they get older. Mental health expert Altha J. Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Association, drove home that fact as she gave the annual Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health on Feb. 22 at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Reaner Shannon, Ph.D., and Dr. Altha Stewart.

Stewart spoke of the social determinants of health and health disparities as they relate to children such as childhood trauma, exposure to violence in the community and other adverse childhood experiences. Those events in children’s lives, she said, are things that are driving them into the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.

“When we don’t create an environment where children can be healthy and thrive and have a sense of well-being, we consign them to these things and put them on the path to a system that is out of their home and frequently out of their community, which is not the best thing for them.”

Stewart supported her statement with statistics that showed 70 percent of children entering juvenile justice our child welfare have experienced one episode of a traumatic event that has impacted their psychological development, physical health and ability to relate to others in a socially appropriate way. She added that 30 percent of those children have a history of physical or sexual abuse and have some diagnosed learning disability.

“Remember, these are children,” she said. “They still have the ability to change. And we have the ability to positively impact them before they get to this silhouette.”

Stewart has spent decades as chief executive officer and executive director of large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. She currently serves at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry. She is also director of the school’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth.

Before going to the University of Tennessee, Stewart was the executive director of a federally funded system of care program in Memphis  for children with serious emotional disorders and their families.

An experienced health care administrator and nationally recognized expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care, Stewart also worked as executive director of the National Leadership Council on African-American Behavioral Health.

She said that the current health care system is filled with disparities and a lack of cultural awareness. Unequal treatment, she added, points to glaring disparities that must be addressed ranging from differences in language to different understandings of illness and wellness.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege. Unless we do some of those things, we will not address the needs of man people in the population,” Stewart said.

The Shannon Lectureship takes place each February to create awareness about health disparities. It has welcomed such distinguished national speakers as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, as well as noted local leaders in minority health.

Noted mental health expert to present 2019 Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health

Altha Stewart, M.D.

Mental health expert Altha J. Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Association, will be the keynote speaker for the Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lectureship in Minority Health on Feb. 22 at the School of Medicine.

She will speak on “Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: Implications for Children’s Mental Health and Well-being.”

Stewart has spent decades as chief executive officer and executive director of large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. She currently serves at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry. She is also director of the school’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth.

Before going to the University of Tennessee, Stewart was the executive director of a federally funded system of care program in Memphis  for children with serious emotional disorders and their families.

An experienced health care administrator and nationally recognized expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care, Stewart also worked as executive director of the National Leadership Council on African-American Behavioral Health.

The annual Shannon Lectureship takes place each February to create awareness about health disparities. It has welcomed such distinguished national speakers as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, as well as noted local leaders in minority health.