HONOLULU (Sept. 30, 2013) — Jacques Ambrose, a fourth-year University of Hawaiʻi 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.
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. He has written scholarly research, including a study of the representation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island physicians in Hawai`i, which was published in the Hawai`i Journal of Medicine.
“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 that 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.
Ambrose credits many people for inspiring him, among them the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, whom he met at the annual AMA Conference in Chicago. ”She has been one of my guiding inspirations for her work in improving primary care and fighting health inequities. She, as a longtime Minority Affairs Section member, was attending a business meeting at the AMA conference,” Ambrose said.
This past April, Ambrose co-chaired a symposium on homelessness at JABSOM. He also authored the first-place Medical Student Essay in the PMAG (Pacific Medical Administrative Group) Medical Professionalism Essay Contest.
Research by Ambrose has also been published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education and the International Journal of Circumpolar Health.