Racism is a public health issue, with significant impacts to health and well-being. Public health, healthcare professional and physicians know firsthand the impacts that long-standing discriminatory structures and institutionalized racism have on health outcomes. This has been particularly pronounced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and documented by federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Join Aletha Mayank, MD, MPH, AMA’s Chief Health Equity Officer and Group Vice President as she discusses the roles institutions have played in fostering, exacerbating, and perpetuating racism and other forms of oppression, and how medical societies can work with members, other professionals and communities to make significant and lasting change.
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Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, recently joined the American Medical Association (AMA) in April 2019 as their inaugural chief health equity officer and vice president. Her role is to embed health equity in all the work of the AMA and to launch a Health Equity Center.
Prior to this in 2014, Dr. Maybank became an associate commissioner, and later a deputy commissioner, and launched the Center for the Health Equity, a new division in the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene geared towards strengthening and amplifying the department’s work in ending health inequities. Under her leadership and in a short amount of time, the department made great strides in transforming the culture and public health practice by embedding health equity in the department’s work. This work has been recognized and adapted by other city agencies and has even captured the attention of the CDC and WHO.
Prior to this role, she was an assistant commissioner in the NYC Health Department over the Brooklyn District Public Health Office, a place-based approach, from April 2009-2014. Her bureau set a precedence DOHMH and created a template for community-driven neighborhood planning. Dr. Maybank also successfully launched the Office of Minority Health as its Founding Director in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in NY from 2006-2009.
She also teaches medical and public health students on topics related to health inequities, public health leadership and management, physician advocacy and community organizing in health. Currently, Dr. Maybank serves as president of the Empire State Medical Association, the NYS affiliate of the National Medical Association. In 2012, she co-founded "We Are Doc McStuffins," a movement created by African American female physicians who were inspired by the Disney Junior character Doc McStuffins.
Dr. Maybank holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, an MD from Temple University School of Medicine and an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is pediatrician board certified in preventive medicine/public health.