Lisa C. Perry-Gilkes, M.D., F.A.C.S., became the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) president on October 17 – the first African American woman to lead the largest physicians’ advocacy organization in the state.
“It is a great honor to serve my fellow physicians and our patients especially at this time in history,” says Dr. Perry-Gilkes. “As physicians, we will be judged by the content of our character. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, it is time to step up!”
The board-certified ENT-otolaryngologist and the chief medical officer of the Ear, Nose & Throat Institute adds that, “We undoubtedly face a multitude of challenges as a profession, but I am confident that we can – and will – be able to effect the change that is needed in the legislative and regulatory arenas if we remain united and focused on MAG’s mission of enhancing patient care and the art and science of medicine.”
And Dr. Perry-Gilkes notes that during her one-year term as MAG’s president, she will concentrate on a few key issues – including COVID-19, social justice and health equity, health insurance, Medicaid pay, physician wellness and resiliency, patient safety, and scope of practice.
“It is essential for physicians to take an active leadership role in managing this pandemic,” Dr. Perry-Gilkes believes. “This will include promoting best practices and safeguards that will protect Georgians and prevent the spread of this disease – including encouraging people to wear face coverings and adhering to the social distancing guidelines – and it will include ensuring that Georgia’s heroic and tireless physicians and allied health care professionals have the resources and support they need.”
Dr. Perry-Gilkes’ also stresses that, “MAG will continue to condemn violence and systemic oppression, and we will not tolerate inequality, injustice, or racism. There are clear and demonstrable links between violence and racism and poverty and patient health, so MAG will continue to advocate for health equity for every Georgian – and we will take steps to mitigate any disparities in the accessibility of medical care, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable or historically oppressed populations.”
As an important first step, Dr. Perry-Gilkes has formed a MAG task force to promote diversity and “begin to effect meaningful and sustainable change in the health care system.”
Dr. Perry-Gilkes formerly served as MAG’s secretary. In addition to MAG, she is a member of the Georgia State Medical Association, the Medical Association of Atlanta, the Atlanta Medical Association, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery – chairing its diversity committee.
It is also worth noting that she graduated from the MAG Foundation’s Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy in 2010.
Dr. Perry-Gilkes first came to Atlanta to attend Spelman College. Her academic travels then took her to Washington, D.C., where she earned a medical degree at the Howard University School of Medicine, and she completed her residency at the King Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Perry-Gilkes lives in Atlanta with her husband and medical school classmate, Ulric Gilkes, M.D. They have two adult sons, Ivan and James.