Carlos Gonzales, MD, FAAFP, assistant vice president of Indigenous affairs for University of Arizona Health Sciences New Initiatives, has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Primary Care at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
The standing committee was established by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services in response to a 2021 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report, “Implementing High Quality Primary Care: Rebuilding the foundation of Health Care.” The committee is charged with developing a strategy to enhance the field of primary care within the U.S. health system.
“I've had a long-standing interest in promoting primary care within the College of Medicine – Tucson and, because of my personal heritage, I've also had a desire to improve health care delivery to Native American people,” said Gonzales, who is of Pascua Yaqui and Mexican heritage. “My own history of having socioeconomic obstacles before me has spurred my interest to provide care to underserved peoples. As the assistant vice president for Indigenous affairs, I can use my expertise to influence the goals and strategies we are trying to establish for our programs.”
Gonzales said he was nominated to be on the committee by Steve Goldschmid, MD, associate vice president of the Global MD program, a UArizona Health Sciences initiative under development. Gonzales, who was planning to retire at the end of 2022, was recruited to work on new Health Sciences initiatives.
“Carlos was a lone primary care provider in Native American health care areas for many years and he is now the dean of Indigenous affairs in our Global MD initiative,” said Goldschmid, a professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson. “He has been a mentor and teacher in the College of Medicine – Tucson and he is involved in the Arizona Health and Education Centers, which helps make care available in rural and remote areas. As a committee member, his expertise in primary care will certainly add great value to rebuilding health care in our country and around the world.”
Added Gonzales, “I have dedicated my life to promoting and recruiting students into primary care. To be able to influence national health care decision makers on the value and importance of primary care is an exciting opportunity.”