Women Physician's Day: Honoring LACMA's Incoming President C. Freeman, MD, MBA, FAPA

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Every year on February 3rd, National Women Physicians Day celebrates the birthday and courage of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US in 1849, and the accomplishments of female physicians everywhere.

The day strives to bring improvements to the workplace for the growing number of women physicians entering the field of medicine.

Today, we honor and thank all female physicians and would like to highlight LACMA's President-Elect, Dr. C. Freeman, as the first African American and thus the first African American female to hold the office of President of LACMA later this year.

A Geriatric Psychiatrist affiliated with California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, Dr. C. Freeman is now the Program Director for the newly accredited Psychiatry Residency Training Program at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, dual training in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

When asked about why she became a physician, Dr. Freeman stated:

“I went into medicine to become a geriatric psychiatrist, which allows me to advocate for patients in a way that no other profession has been able to do.”

Advocate is a word that easily comes to mind when talking with Dr. C. Freeman. We’ve had the chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Freeman on many occasions and the discussion consistently winds around to the work she does with and for her patients, issues of access and barriers to quality care, the benefits of organized medicine and the need for improvement in healthcare delivery in the US.

She shared her thoughts on organized medicine:

“Organized medicine offers the resources and the ability to maintain and revitalize one’s interest in practicing medicine in a meaningful way versus the demeaning and devaluing way that is imposed by onerous guidelines, ever-changing regulations, and meaningless use activities that are made as requirements.  By interacting with peers, one can recognize that one is not necessarily practicing in a silo and there are opportunities to learn from best practices.  In addition to interacting with peers and organizational partners, one interacts with policymakers and one learns other effective ways of not only influencing policy but also helping to establish policies and laws that directly impact patient care in ways that can most effectively be done as a physician.”

Dr. Freeman currently serves on the LACMA Board as President-Elect and will be installed as the President of the LA County Medical Association on June 21st, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. Her list of professional affiliations is long and impressive. She lists membership in organizations such as the National Medical Association, National Black MBA Association, Charles R. Drew Medical Society, Black Psychiatrists of America and American Psychiatric Association.

As for her goals as the President of LACMA, she said,

“As the first African American LACMA President, I am both proud of the organization’s evolution to effect such a pivotal change in its traditional leadership and honored to lead our group in what is shaping up to be a year of new levels of inclusion and active advocacy, which increases the value for more physicians and has the highly desirable side effect of stimulating growth in membership, involvement, affiliations, and impact.”

Dr. Freeman, thank you for your ongoing leadership and commitment to the physicians and patients of LA County, California and beyond!