USA dean first black and first female to lead Alabama medical association

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA — Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., associate dean for rural heath in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, made history this past weekend when she was chosen as president-elect of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA).

Dr. Benjamin is the first woman and the first African-American selected to this leadership position in the history of MASA, an organization that throughout much of its 130-year existence did not allow women or minorities to join.

“Let’s send them a message that time have changed in Alabama,” said Dr. William Curry, M.D., dean of the University of Alabama School of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa and one of the physicians who nominated Benjamin.

“This is a tremendous responsibility and an opportunity to write a new chapter in Alabama’s history,” stated Dr. Benjamin in accepting her new post. “I am humbled and I am honored. I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors who endured shackles and gave their lives fighting for civil rights and women’s suffrage so that I might stand here today. It is for them that I must do a good job.”

“The University of South Alabama College of Medicine is extremely proud of Dr. Benjamin, a remarkable physician who has championed rural health and personally worked in a rural health and personally worked in a rural setting,” said Dr. Robert A. Kreisberg, M.D., dean of the USA College of Medicine.

“As highly respected member of our senior faculty, she has distinguished herself as an advocate for those who are under-served and under-represented. Dr. Benjamin has many significant accomplishments in the field and is playing a national leadership role in organized medicine.”

Dr. Benjamin is the founder and owner of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic and is know for her work with the poor and under-served. She says she will continue to “be a voice for my patients.”

In 1995, Dr. Benjamin became the first physician under age 40 to serve on the American Medical Association board of trustees. She has been named by Time magazine as one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under,” and was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights.

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