Dr. Julianne Adams Birt, MD


What an honor to serve as the 2017 President of the Atlanta Medical Association.  I cannot imagine what they must have felt in 1890 when faced with the injustices of the time while serving their communities in the best way they knew how.  But then I realize that health disparities at the turn of the 19th century only foreshadowed the continuing inequalities that would be experienced during next century and even today.

The Atlanta Medical Association (AMA) has been a forerunner for change.  Not only has this medical society helped in the establishment of the Georgia State Medical Association but also our parent organization founded in 1895, the National Medical Association.  We helped to integrate Grady Memorial Hospital and sought the right of African-American physicians to obtain hospital privileges at every metropolitan Atlanta Hospital in existence today.  Our influence and strength as a body continued in the 1970s with the vision and birth of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

Our mission is to act as a resource to optimize the health of our patients and members through political, educational, and social activities.  Today, we seek to continue the mission of our organization through our evolving work individually and collectively.  It is common to see us roll up our sleeves providing free healthcare services to the underserved and educating the public on a variety of topics, especially those germane to our minority communities.  We have written letters to and met with our political leaders with hopes of supporting the ideals of affordable healthcare and access for all. We educate ourselves on the latest technologies and evidence-based medicine to incorporate into our practices.  We mentor students who wish to someday join us in our life’s work.  And through our 501c3 organization, the Heritage Fund of AMA, we provide scholarships funds for minority medical students who call Atlanta – home.

We invite physicians who reside in metro Atlanta to join us in our efforts.  We have a proud heritage and an even brighter future.  I have been asked during my service to the AMA, what are the benefits of joining this organization?  If you are a physician in metro Atlanta, especially of African descent, my response is simply – how could you not?

In humble service,

Julianne Adams Birt, MD, FACOG
2017 President, Atlanta Medical Association

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According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in 2016-2017, only 7% of all medical school matriculants were of African-American ethnicity as compared to the 13% make-up of all Americans.  It is well-known, even corroborated by studies, that African-American patients have more trust and slightly better health outcomes with physicians that look like them.  AAMC has also surveyed medical students and acknowledge that African-Americans are more willing to practice in underserved, minority-rich but physician-scarce areas.

In 2016 nearly 74% of new medical school graduates had education debt. The AAMC annual survey of medical school students also found that median education debt levels for graduates rose to $190,000 in 2016 from $125,372 in 2000, after being adjusted for inflation.  It has also been reported that the average household income of majority medical students is sometimes twice that of minorities.  The medical school classrooms are also being skewed towards higher income families.  Economic diversity is dwindling as access to quality college education becomes more threatened.

There are myriad reasons that we, the Atlanta Medical Association, need to extend ourselves and push to become extended family for our minority medical students.  The rising indebtedness of medical school education has been shown to influence the career choices of those still matriculating.  In the end, access to superior healthcare in our communities is jeopardized.  The attrition rate is high in the state of Georgia and the applicant pool is not keeping in step.  We must pick up the pace and help those who want to serve mankind through healthcare.  Medical school is difficult enough without the added stress of how to fund it.

We are proud to continue the work of our 501-(c)(3) foundation, the Heritage Fund of the Atlanta Medical Association, and establish the AMA Endowment.  Over the past twenty years, hundreds of minority medical students from Morehouse School of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine and Meharry Medical College have been granted close to a half-million dollars. The cause of raising money for these worthwhile scholarships now can live in perpetuity.  We ask that you consider supporting our goal of raising a ten-million-dollar endowment.  Join us and contribute to the great legacy of the Atlanta Medical Association and by doing so, you ultimately will care for generations to come.

AMA Endowment Campaign Committee