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Patrice A. Harris


Patrice A. Harris (‘82 BA, ‘86 MA, ‘92 MD)

A native of Bluefield, W.Va., Dr. Patrice Harris graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1982, a master’s degree in counseling psychology in 1986, and received her medical degree in 1992. She completed her residency and fellowship training at the Emory University School of Medicine. In addition to her general psychiatry training, she completed fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry.

Since 1998, Dr. Harris has been actively involved in the legislative process on both the state and national levels. From January, 2001 to December 2004, she worked as a senior policy fellow for the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at the Emory University School of Law. In this capacity she was part of a multidisciplinary team addressing public policy for abused and neglected children, and her responsibilities include legislative advocacy and education.

Dr. Harris is a highly sought after lecturer on the topics of children’s mental health, juvenile law, addiction, health care disparities, and advocacy for abused and neglected children. She has been featured nationally on television and radio programs, including an appearance on the Today Show where she was interviewed by Katie Couric on the topic of quality of mental health care.

She currently serves as the medical director for the Fulton County Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases and is in private practice. She is also a clinical associate professor in the Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Harris is immediate past-president of the Black Psychiatrists of America and is a past member of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees. She serves on the American Medical Association’s Council on Legislation. Dr. Harris is president and member of the Legislative Committee of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and was selected as the 2000-2001 Psychiatrist of the Year in Georgia.

She serves on the boards of the Mental Health Association of Georgia and the Advisory Board of Skyland Trail and is immediate past member of the board of NAMI-Georgia. Dr. Harris also volunteers her time to the WVU Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Reunion program.

As a student at WVU, she was active in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Black Unity Organization and student government. She also worked with WVU faculty to develop a comprehensive research study that eventually led to the university’s Personal Academic Support Service or “PASSkey” mentoring program.

She is youngest WVU graduate and the first African-American woman to be inducted into the Academy during its 20-year history. Today, she continues her commitment to WVU by volunteering her time to the WVU Alumni Association’s Black Alumni program, as well as mentoring future students.