MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — A Tidelands Health doctor will soon be the new president of the American Medical Association (AMA) — only the third time in its 176-year history the president has been from South Carolina.
Dr. Gerald Harmon will be inaugurated June 15 and will serve in the role for a one-year term, according to Dawn Bryant, a spokesperson for Tidelands Health.
Harmon spent more than three decades as a family medicine physician in the region. He’s also a pilot and has a military background, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Bryant said.
The AMA is the largest organization of physicians in the United States.
“They’ll at least know the perspective of a primary care specialist in rural South Carolina,” Harmon said.
Harmon said his favorite memory of being in the region for so long is that he’s been trusted with healthcare.
“To get that trust, to have that legacy of people counting on you to be a trusted source, and I think that’s what the AMA is doing now,” Harmon said. “As AMA president we don’t need to be America’s only physician they trust but we need to represent every community physician.”
“Throughout four decades, people have trusted me with their loved ones,” he said. “That’s going to be my strongest memory as a physician.”
Harmon said he doesn’t see this just as an honor but an opportunity as well.
“It’s an honor, but more than that I would think it’s an opportunity,” Harmon said. “I respect it as very much an honor.”
Harmon said one of the goals of the AMA is to advance medicine.
“We’ve seen some of the challenges of health disparity and health inequity so we’re trying to attack that,” Harmon said.
Harmon previously served in the South Carolina Medical Association as chairman of the board and president.