Interview with AAFP President
"You Can't Become What You Can't See"
An Interview with Dr. Ada D. Stewart, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians
Cory Ingram, MD MS FAAHPM
For Ada D. Stewart, MD FAAFP HMDC, growing up in public housing in Cleveland, OH, was the beginning of what has become a career-long drive to dissolve inequities in health care, remove barriers to access, educate the public and medical professionals, and care for people really well. When Stewart was young, "we didn't know what a doctor was," she said. "The only health care was the emergency room." She also lost both parents to preventable illness: her father passed away from heart disease and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 1986 and died in March of 1987. "Both, like many people of color, had late diagnoses, no primary care physician, and no regular preventative visits, such as for mammograms," she said, describing how her mother discovered a lump. Stewart is one of two surviving siblings of her parents' four children: her older brother and sister both died in their 40s and 50s from alcohol-related medical conditions.