MY LEADERSHIP JOURNEY
My leadership journey begins as early as primary and secondary school when I served as President of my student body throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school. From early on, I’ve always been a fierce advocate for the causes I believe.
I went on to Emory University where I studied biology, neuroscience, Spanish, and Portuguese literature. I served as the Senate Pro Tempore of the University Senate, having the opportunity to meet President Jimmy Carter and other dignitaries and world leaders. I knew that I too wanted to leave a lasting impact on this planet.
It was then that I grappled with how to connect my love of science with my love of public policy and advocacy. During my senior year of college, I stumbled upon medical anthropology where the principle investigator was studying breastfeeding behaviors and patterns of women who were also migrant workers. This particular professor had a joint appointment in the anthropology department and the public health school. It was then that I seriously began to explore public health as a perfect way to continue exploring our world while melding my love for data and science with policymaking.
I went to the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, which sat just adjacent to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. I quickly dived in loving every moment of epidemiology, biostatistics, logistic regression and modeling along with global health and injury prevention and safety promotion. I knew I wanted to use my passion for evidence-based policy by marrying global health and injury epidemiology. I found the perfect opportunity at The Carter Center and The Task Force for Child Development & Survival, where their priorities were to eradicate diseases and poverty, promote free and fair elections, and promote democracy abroad.
I immediately found my home working for Dr. Mark Rosenberg, a Psychiatrist and Public Servant, my mentor, and the former director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention. Working with Dr. Rosenberg, we tackled all sorts of global injury epidemics from global road traffic injuries in low-income countries to violence prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. I was able to work around the world in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean advocating for safety policies at the United Nations, World Health Organization, and World Bank. Even back then, I had a knack for convening various stakeholders to forge consensus and find ways to move forward. Eventually I completed my master’s thesis in creating the evidence-based argument for child safety restraint standards globally, including incorporating data from biomechanics and the trauma literature.
I went on to complete my Global Injury Epidemiology fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Initiative for Global Health, where I worked on the $100 million herculean project, The Global Burden of Disease & Injury, which involved over 900 investigators. Under the leadership of Dr. Christopher JL Murray, I worked on the injury chapters of the ICD-11 and set up data surveillance systems around the world to better estimate morbidity and mortality attributable to all sorts of injuries: unintentional, intentional, self-inflicted, interpersonal, legal intervention, natural and manmade disasters. One conclusion I kept arriving at, if I was going to shape global health policy, an MPH would not suffice. The physician leaders that I observed within public health played a critical role in linking patient needs on both a micro and macro level.
That then began my journey to medical school at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio. I hit the ground running, thinking the best way to return to the world of injuries was to become a trauma surgeon or orthopedist. But I quickly became distracted by the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation. I saw how critical Primary Care was to any serious health reform proposal. I then went on to clinical rotations and fell in love with OB/GYN and Psychiatry. Ultimately, I knew the best way to bring all my passions together and connect the dots was by becoming a Family Physician.
I went on to complete the National Medical Fellowships Primary Care Leadership Program and was assigned to an FQHC in Mobile, AL, where Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin’s safety net clinic is located on the gulf coast. There, I gained an intricate knowledge of domestic health policy and I discovered a newfound love for Medical Quality.
As a resident physician at the USC Family Medicine Residency Program at California Hospital in downtown Los Angeles, I joined the CMA and fell in love with the growth and opportunities that it offered me. My intern year, I attended my first CMA HOD and won my first CMA election, serving as Resident & Fellow Trustee for 2 years on the board. I also went on to serve as the SEIU Committee on Interns & Residents CIR Vice President for Southern California, the nation’s largest physician union and represented the voices of thousands of residents. With the support of the CMA, I went on to serve as Vice Speaker of the AMA Resident & Fellow Section joining the AMA-RFS Governing Council, tackling GME funding, gun violence, and countless pressing issues of the day.
I completed a Health Policy, Medical Quality, and Faculty Development Fellowship at USC upon graduation from residency and quickly joined the primary care workforce as a member of the National Health Service Corps NHSC and served at an FQHC. I continued my leadership and advocacy in organized medicine, serving on the CMA Council on Membership, Governance, and Bylaws, and eventually serving as Vice Chair before being elected to the CMA Board of Trustees representing District IV in Los Angeles. I simultaneously served on the District IV Delegation leadership for 5 years honing my parliamentary skills and culminating in Chairing the delegation.
I have continued to grow and sharpen my skills in parliamentary procedure and governance all along the way, including being a member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians, and am currently working towards certification as a certified parliamentarian.
I also currently serve as President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, the largest county medical society in the nation. Every day, I strive to bring the diverse opinions and backgrounds of our members together, equipped with the tools that parliamentary procedure offers.
My daily medical practice consists of serving as the Director & Chief Vaccinologist of the Charles Drew University - Kedren Community Health Center Mobile Street Medicine program. Kedren is a Historically Black Institution, Acute Psychiatric Hospital, and Federally Qualified Health Center FQHC, serving a primarily Latinx community in South Central LA. There, I serve on the Medical Staff, Medical Executive Committee, Chair the Quality Committee, and Chair the Bylaws Committee. I hold a joint Faculty Appointment as Assistant Professor in Family & Community Medicine and Psychiatry at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the 5th Historically Black Medical School in the nation.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been a fierce advocate for my community and for my colleagues, ensuring access to vaccines, testing, PPE, and therapeutics. I led a globally recognized vaccine equity initiative to ensure that all residents of Los Angeles County were fully vaccinated and boosted from SARS CoV-2. I created programs devoted to addressing the social determinants of health affecting underrepresented and underserved communities during the pandemic, including addressing access to reliable transportation for medical care for patients, providing assistance and resources to people experiencing homelessness, and addressing food insecurity. Through these initiatives, my team has vaccinated over 400,000 people in underserved areas of Los Angeles, and distributed thousands of COVID-19 therapeutics including Paxlovid. These efforts reduced COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities and saved countless lives. This same model has now been expanded to a Mobile Street Medicine Clinic, tackling additional health challenges including chronic diseases, substance use and harm reduction services, and mental health services.
Presently, I continue to serve as an advocate for equitable access to public health and healthcare delivery for all people across Los Angeles County. I have fought for the rights of African American, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ patients to access safe, reliable, and nondiscriminatory quality healthcare in their community, where people live, work, worship, and play. My practice now also focuses on the care of persons with histories of incarceration providing care at various transitional and bridge re-entry, re-integration, and diversion programs with the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation.
As a result of these efforts to support the needs of my community, I have been recognized with various awards including the CMA Compassionate Physician Award, the AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine Award, the LACMA Independent Physician Award, the California Academy of Family Physician Hero of Family Medicine Award, among others.
Parliamentary Procedure has been foundational to effective and efficient communication throughout my various leadership endeavors. As your Vice Speaker, I hope to be able to continue to use this skill set to facilitate bridging the voices of all delegates, so as to unify and empower us as the greater CMA.
DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY
Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, MD MPH CMQ, is the Director & Chief Vaccinologist at Kedren Community Health Center, a Historically Black Institution, Acute Psychiatric Hospital, and Federally Qualified Health Center FQHC, primarily Latinx community-serving in SPA 6 in South LA, where he directs the CDU-KEDREN Mobile Street Medicine Program. At Kedren, Dr. Abraham serves on the Executive Medical Board and chairs the Quality and Bylaws Committees for the hospital. Also, Dr. Abraham holds a joint Faculty Appointment as Assistant Professor in Family & Community Medicine and Psychiatry at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, a Historically Black Medical School in South Los Angeles. Dr. Abraham also serves as a Street Medicine and Homelessness Medicine Physician Consultant, serving Community Health Centers throughout Los Angeles County including JWCH Institute - Wesley Health Centers, where he staffs several homeless shelters on Skid Row. Dr. Abraham is also the Physician Hearing Board Member for the Air Quality Management District of the South Coast, where he works on several Climate Change & Health Equity priorities for San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties.
Dr. Abraham holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology & Neuroscience, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish & Portuguese Literature, and Master of Public Health in Global Injury Epidemiology from Emory University. Dr. Abraham also completed a Post-Graduate Fellowship in Global Injury Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a Research Fellow at the Harvard Initiative for Global Health. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio and completed his Family & Community Medicine Residency training, and Faculty Development, Health Policy, and Medical Quality Fellowship training at the USC Keck School of Medicine, Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center, and Eisner Health in Downtown Los Angeles, where he still maintains Medical Staff privileges.
Dr. Abraham, a board-certified Family & Community Medicine Physician, Epidemiologist, and Medical Quality Specialist, is President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association LACMA, Trustee of the California Medical Association CMA, Vice Chair of the Council on Constitution & Bylaws of the American Medical Association AMA, Delegate to the United States Pharmacopeia, President-Elect of the Los Angeles Academy of Family Physicians LAAFP, and a member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians AIP. Dr. Abraham is a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine ABFM and the American Board of Medical Quality ABMQ (Certificate in Medical Quality CMQ) and serves on their Board of Directors. Dr. Abraham was appointed to the National Academy of Medicine NAM Clinician Well Being CQB Action Collaborative and is involved with the National Academy of Medicine’s Climate Communities Network, part of the NAM Grand Challenge to Decarbonize the Health Sector. He is also involved with the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health MSCCH and collaborates closely with the HHS/OASH Office of Climate Change & Health Equity OCCHE. Born in Houston, Texas, Dr. Abraham graduated from the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Sciences TAMS, a public residential high school. Dr. Abraham is a parishioner of St. John’s Cathedral in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. He lives on Skid Row at the Little Tokyo Lofts (a historic building built in 1920 – formerly the Westinghouse Electric Company Headquarters) and serves as the Treasurer of the Homeowners Association HOA. Dr. Abraham serves on the Congressional Council for the 37th Congressional District represented by Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove.
Dr. Abraham is a member of the LA County Ending the HIV Epidemic Steering Committee, the California Department of Public Health HIV Cluster & Molecular Detection Task Force, and the National Hispanic Medical Association NHMA Representative to Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neurodevelopment Risks). Dr. Abraham also serves on the Board of Directors of the: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles GMCLA, Gay & Lesbian Medical Association GLMA, National LGBTQ Task Force, Physician Aid Association, Urban Voices Project, and the Charles R. Drew Medical Society (the Historically Black Medical Society and the National Medical Association NMA and the Golden State Medical Association GSMA Constituent Affiliate of Los Angeles County). Dr. Abraham serves on the Curriculum Committee and the Public Health Advisory Board of the USC Keck School of Medicine Master of Public Health Program. He also serves on the USC Center for Excellence for Developmental Disorders CEDD at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles CHLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District LAUSD Medi-Cal Local Education Agency LEA Collaborative Steering Board member.
Dr. Abraham continues to lecture across the nation on Vaccine Equity including with the American Academy of Family Physicians AAFP, presenting before the National Academy of Medicine NAM, and has testified before the US Senate and Congress on the COVID-19 Pandemic, and is currently a Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellow MJAF of the American Medical Association AMA - a joint program with the Morehouse School of Medicine MSM Satcher Health Leadership Institute SHLI, and most recently served as a Climate Health Organizing Fellow CHOF for the Center for Health Equity, Education, & Advocacy CHEEA of the Cambridge Health Alliance CHA, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. Dr. Abraham mentors medical students and residents with the National Medical Fellowships NMF.
CANDIDATE MESSAGE #1
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
My name is Jerry Abraham, and I am asking for your vote as the next Vice Speaker of the CMA House of Delegates.
We must speak with one voice as advocates to safeguard the future of medicine in California.
Like so many of you, I struggle to keep up with the unrealistic demands of caring for 20 to 30 patients a day, completing notes, closing charts, and emptying inboxes. As a full-time primary care physician in a safety-net community health center, I live the struggle of paying down my six-figure medical school debt, while experiencing the various challenges in medicine that threaten to limit viable practice options in California. Physicians are experiencing burnout and moral injury at ever increasing rates. The status quo is unsustainable.
Take the example of Vanessa, a medical student I train at Charles Drew University. Because of a shortage of GME positions in California, she is considering the possible necessity of moving out of state for residency and fears she won’t be able to afford to make her way back home. What can we do to ensure her future in medicine here in California?
We and future physicians will reap the consequences of policies enacted today. We need leadership experienced in advocacy and dedicated to medicine’s future in California for generations to come. As a full-time clinical physician with the majority of my career in front of me, I share the challenges you face. My commitment to this cause is resolute, and I am poised to champion the voice of our House as a tried and trusted leader prepared to serve you on day one.
The Vice Speaker’s role is to make sure all voices in the House of Delegates are heard as issues arise so that we may reach a sound consensus. I pledge to do exactly that. Together, we can shape the path forward, ensuring a thriving medical profession. Please reach out to me; I eagerly await your thoughts and feedback, and look forward to the opportunity to serve you.
My name is Jerry Abraham. I ask for the honor of your support and your vote as Vice Speaker.
Jerry P. Abraham, MD MPH CMQ
Candidate for Vice Speaker
CANDIDATE MESSAGE #2
Dear Friends & Colleagues:
My name is Jerry Abraham and I am asking for your vote as Vice Speaker of the CMA House of Delegates.
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the difficult circumstances of this unexpected election and take a moment to remember Dr. Lawrence Cheung and his countless contributions to our profession. Honoring his legacy, we’ll come together to move our House forward as we celebrate his life.
Within CMA’s history, we’ve persevered through difficult times including most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, which magnified the gross inequities in our healthcare system. My patients at Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles initially had zero access to locally supplied vaccines though their rate of COVID-19 infection was among the highest in the nation.
Through CMA’s support and leadership, we analyzed data and identified gaps in access within my community. I was then able to utilize the data to help acquire vaccine resources from the health department to establish the first walk-up vaccine clinic in South LA and a mobile clinic to vaccinate vulnerable populations and essential workers throughout Los Angeles County.
It was through this work that I was invited to testify before the US Senate on equitable vaccine distribution. CMA was instrumental in helping draft testimony that I delivered before the Senate Health Committee.
Afterward, the late Senator Diane Feinstein invited me to sit down with her one-on-one to identify other areas where we could work together to move medicine forward in California. I discussed with her the acute psychiatric hospital bed shortage and the need for more mental health resources in both urban and rural underserved areas.
These experiences exemplify the power and reach of CMA. When we come together and combine our strengths with the power of organized medicine, we can accomplish great things!
Just as I have been able to bridge grassroots advocacy on the frontlines with state and national health policy, I too hope to amplify the voices of our various county and specialty societies, sections, and practice forums to help us meet the pressing needs of the greater House of Medicine. I hope to help us focus on what we hold in common, recognizing that we are strongest when we speak in unity. It’s about medicine, our story, and moving us forward together.
This is why I am asking for the honor of your vote as your next Vice Speaker.
Please visit my website using the QR code for more information on my qualifications and background in organized medicine. Please feel free to reach out to me by phone, text, or email. I’d love to hear what’s important to you and what you’re most passionate about.
Thank you, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the House of Delegates.
Jerry P. Abraham, MD MPH CMQ
Candidate for Vice Speaker
CANDIDATE MESSAGE #3
Dear Friends & Colleagues:
My name is Jerry Abraham, and I am asking for your vote as the next Vice Speaker of the CMA House of Delegates.
California healthcare often leads the country in innovation, but as we have seen and felt, not all change benefits us and our relationship with our patients.
Look at the tobacco tax of 2016, passed through Proposition 56, which we were told would lead to increased physician payment to support care for Medi-Cal patients. Although we initially celebrated it as a victory, it hasn’t proved to be one for many California physicians. Many of us are left with the sense of Prop 56 being an unfulfilled promise.
Now, as we codify the MCO tax in a ballot initiative in 2024, CMA must be present to ensure that the physicians of California receive the funds intended to improve the viability of practice in California. Whether you’re in a large group practice or a solo physician, whether you practice in rural or urban settings, we deserve fair and sustainable payment for our work.
The mounting costs of healthcare delivery leave us struggling to keep up with inflation. How can we call out the true drivers of increasing healthcare costs? We definitely know it’s not us!
Despite the recently formed Office of Health Care Affordability, we must make sure that there is a clear-eyed look at the true drivers of cost, including hospitalizations, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, insurance premiums, and inadequate investment in preventive care. Within OHCA, we must carefully watch how spending targets are defined and enforced. Our sickest, and often most expensive, patients and the physicians who care for them must not be penalized.
We also face repeated efforts by the legislature to establish a public majority on the Medical Board of California. We must continue to be a self-governed and accountable profession. As we see our licensing fees increasing, we must demand transparency and efficiency from the medical board. The backlog of applications and license renewals that continue to impede physician recruitment and retention must be eliminated. Our medical board should reduce barriers to practicing medicine in California, so that we can all better care for our patients.
We have work to do. Let us take this opportunity to craft our roadmap for the journey ahead together in a way that serves all of us. Let us remember that we and our patients all benefit by maintaining the diversity, strength, and viability of all practice modes and practice environments.
For more information on my candidacy and background, please visit my website using the QR code above.
I ask for the honor of your support and of your vote to serve you as CMA Vice Speaker.
Let us move forward together so we can get to where we want to go.
Jerry P. Abraham, MD MPH CMQ
Candidate for Vice Speaker, CMA House of Delegates