Dr. Carol Paris is the immediate past president of Physicians for a National Health Program. She is a recently retired psychiatrist who worked for more than 25 years in private practice, community mental health, prison psychiatry, and academia. In the course of her experience, much of which was in Maryland, she became an outspoken critic of the private-insurance-based U.S. health care system.
In May 2009, she and seven others stood up, one by one, at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on health care reform chaired by Sen. Max Baucus to ask why there wasn’t a single advocate for single-payer health care on the 41-member panel. In an action that received national media attention, Baucus had all eight peaceful protesters, including Dr. Paris, arrested. (Charges were eventually reduced, requiring only community service.)
Dr. Paris subsequently toured the country as part of the “Mad as Hell Doctors” campaign for single payer, and spent a year as a consultant psychiatrist in New Zealand, where she experienced a single-payer system firsthand. She currently resides in Nashville, Tenn., where her primary interests include strategic activism, recruiting and mentoring medical students and early career physicians for leadership positions within PNHP, and building coalitions to strengthen the single-payer movement’s impact on the national health care debate. Dr. Paris obtained her medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine.