SESSION SIX: ADVOCACY IN MEDICINE

J. Wesley "Wes" Boyd, MD, PhD

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 Dr. J. Wesley “Wes” Boyd is a professor of psychiatry and medical ethics at Baylor College of Medicine.  He is also a Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He obtained an MA in philosophy and a PhD in religion and culture, along with his medical degree, at UNC Chapel Hill.  Wes completed his psychiatry residency training at Cambridge Hospital (now called Cambridge Health Alliance) and a fellowship in bioethics at Harvard Medical School.  Wes has written about and taught extensively in the humanities, bioethics, human rights and psychiatry.  His areas of interest include social justice, access to care, human rights, asylum and immigration, humanistic aspects of medicine, physician health and well-being, the pharmaceutical industry, mass incarceration, and substance use.

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Shefali Sood

Shefali Sood is a dual degree MD/MPA candidate at NYU graduating this year. She has participated on the PHR Board since her first year of medical school and has had the honor of serving as co-Director this year alongside Veena Mehta. She will be moving to Washington, DC next year to start residency training in Ophthalmology at Georgetown/Washington Hospital Center.

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Rich Kovar, MD

Dr. Rich Kovar has been a family physician practicing full spectrum family medicine for the last 36 years. After spending several years in refugee relief work in Africa and Southeast Asia, he has been working at a FQHC in Seattle. Since stumbling upon his first asylum evaluation in 1998, he has performed around 500 medical evaluations and trained scores of providers to conduct evaluations. To the best of his knowledge all but 4 of them have been granted asylum or other forms of relief.

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Sabastian Hajtovic

Sabastian Hajtovic has served on the PHR SAB Advocacy Committee, and is the incoming co-director for the 2022-2023 year. He is a medical student at CUNY, in the seven-year Sophie Davis BS/MD program. He graduated from the Bachelor’s portion of the program as Valedictorian of the City College Class of 2020. Previously, he served as Co-Chair of the 2020 PHR National Student Conference, held virtually, on Defending Human Rights in the Age of the Pandemic. As Co-President of CUNY’s PHR chapter, he coordinated college-wide overdose prevention trainings and a widely attended Opioid Crisis Summit. He is passionate about the role of physicians at the intersection of public health, politics and policy, and grassroots community leadership.