UK Alum "sees blue." as President of the American Medical Association

Video By UK Public Relations and Marketing.

With her two grandsons holding the Bible, Dr. Ardis Hoven took an oath she never dreamed she would take as she officially took over as president of the American Medical Association (AMA) in July. 

"Well if you had told me 20 years ago I would be president of the AMA, I would have thought you nuts," said Hoven.   "It never occurred to me that this would be an opportunity that I would have."

Hoven's career in medicine started with a natural curiosity for microbiology as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky.

"I always sort of liked the bugs and the germs and the viruses and had a bit of a knack, as it came to understanding them," Hoven said.  "I used to find myself taking on special projects over at the old Funkhouser Building working on microbiology issues."

After graduating, she didn't leave her hometown of Lexington.  Hoven says the UK College of Medicine gave her a strong foundation when she eventually left the Bluegrass to complete her residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

"They had an extremely powerful and strong infectious disease division that I went into after I finished my internal medicine residency there," Hoven said.  "I was working everyday with folks from UC Davis, Harvard, Yale and Northwestern and I found myself as well prepared or better prepared than some of my colleagues. The fact that I could go to Chapel Hill, which is a highly competitive institution, and function at a very high level made me very grateful for my medical school education because it served me well."

After finishing her residency and training in infectious disease, Hoven returned home to go into private practice at Lexington Clinic. 

"My role in health care seemed to evolve and develop a lot around my work in HIV and AIDS care in the early '80s," said Hoven.  "In practice here in Lexington, I was the only one outside of the medical center actually doing infectious disease, so I became the sort of go-to person in the private sector for taking care of patients with HIV."

Her time taking care of patients suffering from the disease made her rethink the role she would like to have in health care.

"As my patients lost their jobs because of their poor health, they also lost their health insurance, and that caused me to rethink a lot about what I felt was very important in health care," Hoven said.  "That for me was the background of my work in organized medicine. It had nothing to do with becoming chair of the AMA Board of Trustees or becoming president of the AMA. It had to do with my patients."

Hoven says she will draw upon her experience both in private practice and as a faculty member in the Division of Infectious Disease at the UK College of Medicine as she leads the prestigious AMA.

"The AMA is a very strong organization, as it represents basically every physician in the United States," said Hoven.  "My job as an AMA president is to be the spokesperson for our organization. I'm the one who interacts with government officials, the media; I speak to my colleagues across the country; I travel and listen to what is happening. And I also travel internationally on behalf of the American Medical Association."

As this AMA president travels the world, she can't help but feel a sense of pride for the university she attended and served as a College of Medicine professor.

"UK offers everything," Hoven said.  "It offers a strong infrastructure that allows men and women to find out who they are, what they want to do, and more importantly, where they want to do it. You can do anything you want, you just have to have the will to do it, but the help is here to make it happen for you."

To watch more UK "see success." Alumni videos, click on the playlist below: