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  • Press Release

    Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, Named AAMC Chief Scientific Officer

    Media Contacts

    John Buarotti, Sr. Public Relations Specialist

    Today the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) named Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, as its next chief scientific officer (CSO). Dr. Fuentes-Afflick currently serves as professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and vice dean for the UCSF School of Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She will join the AAMC on July 16.

    In this role, Dr. Fuentes-Afflick will provide leadership and vision for addressing research and science policy and other related critical issues facing academic medicine, medical schools, teaching hospitals, and health systems. As CSO, she will also work in collaboration with other members of the AAMC Leadership Team to manage the association’s relationships with biomedical research-related and other relevant federal agencies and offices (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). Additionally, she will oversee direction of the Center for Health Justice, which promotes and develops health equity research and policy.

    Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH
    Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH

    Dr. Fuentes-Afflick succeeds Ross McKinney, Jr., MD, who retired from the AAMC in 2023 after more than 40 years of distinguished service in academic medicine.

    “Elena has an impressive and robust background in medicine, public health, and academic leadership, and I am delighted she will be bringing her passion, talent, and experience to the AAMC and our constituents,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “She has dedicated her life’s work to addressing health disparities and promoting diversity in academic medicine and medical research, and her passion and drive in advancing these efforts in the science and research community is critical now more than ever. I am thrilled to welcome her to the AAMC.”

    Dr. Fuentes-Afflick's scholarly work has focused on Latino health, immigrant health, health disparities, and diversity in academic medicine. Throughout her distinguished career, she has held national leadership roles as council member and president for both the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society. She has been inducted into the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and she received the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., award from the Federation of Pediatric Organizations in 2023 for sustained, impactful contributions to child health.

    “I am energized to apply my lifelong passion for – and commitment to – academic medicine to the AAMC and lead efforts to educate the nation about the value of science and research,” said Dr. Fuentes-Afflick. “As a Latina physician, diversity and inclusion have been guiding principles in my personal and professional lives, and I am excited to further advance diversity efforts in the medical research community and inspire the next generation of scientists.”

    Dr. Fuentes-Afflick earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public health (epidemiology) from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her pediatric residency and chief residency at UCSF, and later pursued a research fellowship at the school’s Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies.

    The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) is a nonprofit association dedicated to improving the health of people everywhere through medical education, health care, medical research, and community collaborations. Its members are all 158 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education; 13 accredited Canadian medical schools; approximately 400 academic health systems and teaching hospitals, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC leads and serves America’s medical schools, academic health systems and teaching hospitals, and the millions of individuals across academic medicine, including more than 193,000 full-time faculty members, 96,000 medical students, 153,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Following a 2022 merger, the Alliance of Academic Health Centers and the Alliance of Academic Health Centers International broadened participation in the AAMC by U.S. and international academic health centers.