Tidelands Health physician becomes chairman of the American Medical Association
A longtime local physician has assumed the position of board chair for the American Medical Association, the largest association of physicians in the country and an influential voice in the ongoing national debate over health care.
Dr. Gerald Harmon, a board-certified physician with Tidelands Waccamaw Family Medicine and vice president of Tidelands Health Group, on Wednesday became chair of the board of trustees for the AMA.
Dr. Harmon has served as an AMA trustee since 2013 and joined the executive committee in 2015 as secretary to the board. He was named chair-elect in 2016.
As board chair for the AMA, Dr. Harmon will help formulate the AMA’s positions on key issues and serve as a top spokesperson for the organization. He’ll be responsible for creating work groups and task forces to study important topics and develop solutions.
“It is a tremendous honor to serve in this role,” Dr. Harmon said. “I look forward to working with the AMA staff and board of trustees to help shape America’s health care system to best meet the needs of patients and physicians.”
The mission of the AMA is to promote of the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. The AMA, founded in 1847, has more than 200,000 members, and publishes the Journal of the American Medical Association, the largest weekly medical journal in the world.
The AMA is also a prominent national voice on issues affecting the medical profession and health care. For example, it has been a vocal opponent of the American Health Care Act, a bill passed in May by the U.S. House of Representatives to replace the Affordable Health Care Act.
Dr. Harmon, who has practiced medicine in Georgetown County since 1983, is one of 21 members on the AMA board of trustees.
“Dr. Harmon is widely recognized for his selflessness, vision and ability to work with others to find common ground,” said H. McRoy Skipper Jr., CPA, chairman of the Tidelands Health board of trustees. “In short, he embodies the traits you want in a leader at a time of such deep divisions on a topic – health care – that’s so crucial to the future of our country.
“Dr. Harmon’s ascension to board chair at AMA is an honor for Tidelands Health and the entire state of South Carolina.”
In addition to his work as a family physician and service to the AMA, Dr. Harmon has earned numerous recognitions for advancing the practice of medicine and medical education in South Carolina.
He has held several leadership positions in the South Carolina Medical Association, including chairman of the board and president, and serves as a clinical professor of family medicine at MUSC and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He has twice been named Community Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium. He is the recipient of the President’s Award from the South Carolina Medical Association.
Dr. Harmon has served his community and his country. He volunteers for several local organizations, including as medical director for Georgetown County’s public schools, and is district commissioner for the State Aeronautics Commission. He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce.
A retired major general from the U.S. Air Force, he served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as chief surgeon for the National Guard Bureau and as assistant surgeon for the U.S. Air Force. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal.