New physician faces in Congress

17 physicians are in the new U.S. House of Representatives: 13 Republicans and 4 Democrats. The freshmen doctors in the House are first-generation Americans who say the same factors that pushed them into medicine also led them to public service.

By Tanya Albert Henry, AMNews correspondent. Posted Jan. 7, 2013.

The 113th Congress has begun with the same number of physician lawmakers as the previous Congress: 20. But there are two new faces in that contingent on Capitol Hill — both Democrats.

That shift doubles the number of Democrats in the House of Representatives who place MDs after their names. In addition to the four Democratic physicians in the House, 13 Republican physicians serve in the House, and three GOP physicians serve in the Senate.

There are several similarities between the two newly elected physicians. Rep. Ami Bera, MD, and Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD, MPP, MPH, both hail from California. Both are sons of immigrants. And while both are passionate about health care issues, they also want to work to improve education and the health of the overall U.S. economy.

American Medical News spoke with the congressmen-elect as they prepared for their freshman year in office.

Ami Bera, MD (California’s 7th Congressional District)

From a young age, Dr. Bera loved working with people and wanted to go into a profession where he could help others. When he was an undergraduate, he did some volunteer work in medicine and found that area really clicked for him.

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