STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Hawai`i medical student elected to AMA Minority Affairs Governing Council

Jacques Ambrose, a fourth-year University of Hawai`i medical student, brings passion to causes including increasing the numbers of minority medical professionals and the health of the homeless. Now, he has earned the opportunity to share his passion for social justice on a national scale, as the first Hawai`i medical student ever elected to the American Medical Association (AMA) Minority Affairs Governing Council.

Through June 2014, Ambrose will be the sole student representative on the governing council, which consists of eight other members, all physicians. The goals of the minority affairs governing council include increasing the number of medical students and physicians from underrepresented minority groups and advising the AMA on minority issues.

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Jacques Ambrose- Jacques Ambrose, MS4, and 18th Surgeon General of the United States at the Minority Affairs Section meeting.

Jacques Ambrose, MS4, and 18th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin at the Minority Affairs Section meeting.

Ambrose is a graduate of McKinley High School and Grinnell College. At the John A. Burns School of Medicine(JABSOM), he has been active in student groups that promote social justice. With Hawai`i Physician Workforce Assessment Investigator Dr. Kelley Withy (JABSOM Family Medicine and Community Health), Ambrose co-authored academic research published in the Hawai`i Journal of Medicine about the representation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island physicians in Hawai`i.

“I’m determined to help break the cycle of health disparities among minorities,” Ambrose said, explaining that disparities include a disproportionate number of preventable diseases, deaths, and disabilities suffered by minorities when compared with non-minorities. As part of his commitment to fill the gaps which exist in minority healthcare, Ambrose has served as a peer mentor and student advisor, guiding and encouraging underserved and socioeconomically disadvantaged students to pursue higher education. He is active as an intern and student representative on the Hawai`i State Senate and Hawai`i Healthcare Transformation Initiatives.

AmbroseAJ and HMA (AMA-A13 2013 Conference)Ambrose credits many people for inspiring him, among them the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, whom he met at the annual AMA Convention. “She has been one of my guiding inspirations for all of her work in improving primary care and fighting health inequities. She, as a long time MAS member, was attending Minority Affairs Section business meeting at the AMA conference,” Ambrose said.

This past April, Ambrose co-chaired a symposium on homelessness. He also authored the first-place Medical Student Essay in the PMAG (Pacific Medical Administrative Group, Inc.) Medical Professionalism Essay Contest.Ambrose’s first-place winning essay, “Are You Okay?”, is published in the September 2013 supplement of the Hawai`i Journal of Medicine and Public Health .

Other publications featuring Jacques Ambrose:
Ambrose, A.J.; Omori, J.; Hixon, A.; Izutsu, S. Medical School Hotline-Homelessness in Hawai`i: Challenges, Prospects, and Progress. Hawai`i Journal of Medicine and Public Health 2013, 72(8): 282-285

Delafield, R; Hiratsuka, V; Starks, H.; Ambrose, A.J.; Mau, M.M. Patient and Provider Perspectives on Using Telemedicine for Chronic Disease Management among Native Hawaiian and Alaskan Native People. International Journal of Circumpolar Health; 2013, 72: 21401.
International Journal of Circumpolar Health; 2013, 72: 21401.

Ambrose, A.J.; Lin, S.; Chun, M. B. J. Cultural Competence Training Requirements in Graduate Medical Education.
Journal of Graduate Medical Education 2013; 5(2): 227-231

About our main photograph: Ambrose, who is part Peruvian, had an opportunity to do a cultural pilgrimage trip to that country. In the photograph, he is at the top of Machu Picchu at sunrise, after climbing after climbing the mountain from its base in pitch dark.

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