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Introducing Bryan Baugh, M.D., Chair of NMF’s Board of Directors

Bryan Baugh Headshot 2022

NMF elevates accomplished physician and long-time Board Member to Chair

National Medical Fellowships is delighted and proud to announce Dr. Bryan Baugh, Global Medical Affairs Leader for HIV and Health Equity at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, as its new Board Chair.

“With the national climate evolving as it has over the last couple of years, the importance of this role within such an organization has become even clearer. I look forward to nurturing the pathways of our future physicians in an even larger capacity.”

Dr. Baugh, who joined NMF’s Board of Directors in 2014, has spent most of his 27-year career specializing in HIV care and health equity.

“I’ve always desired to help populations that are not receiving the same levels of care, have poor health outcomes, or that have disproportionate levels of disease placed upon them,” Dr. Baugh said. “These are patients who don’t have many options or even knowledge about what their health could and should be like.”

Dr. Baugh recalled growing up in an Ohio community with only one Black physician.

“As our family physician, Dr. Logan knew how to help, he knew the members of his community. His ability to examine and dissect problems while also helping people is ultimately what drove me to medicine.”

Dr. Baugh said his family was nothing but supportive.  

“My grandparents grew up in the rural south in an environment with institutional obstacles that discouraged their participation in the educational system. They valued education because it was something they wished they could have had, and they saw it as a way to better their children’s futures.”  

The message at home was that he had the freedom to discover and decide on whatever it is he wanted to be, but at school, the message was different. “As one of five Black students, it was always questioned as to why and how I could be at the top of my high school class,” Dr. Baugh said.   

He sought more positive learning and social experiences at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington D.C., where he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry.  

Dr. Baugh returned to his home state for medical school, graduating from the Medical College of Ohio in the early 1990s, before matching into an internal medicine residency at Washington Hospital Center in D.C. 

“That’s when the HIV virus started to present in different communities other than gay white men, in fragile communities that were often ignored,” Dr. Baugh said.

“Treatments for HIV were becoming more effective and tolerable, but in certain resource-limited settings, people of color in the U.S. were not receiving the same cutting-edge treatments or access to clinical trials.”  

When his friend, Dr. Gary De Simone, suggested he work at the Whitman Walker Clinic with him as Director of HIV services, Dr. Baugh took the opportunity to implement new outpatient care initiatives such as a walk-in men’s clinic that screened for sexually transmitted diseases and diseases transmitted via drug use.  

Then, when his friend unexpectedly passed away, the emotional and physical taxation of working through grief in an already challenging environment was the catalyst for him to accept a job as the Virology HIV Medical Liaison with Roche Pharmaceuticals.  

“It was the best of both worlds,” he said. “I went from laying my stethoscope on one chest at a time to being able to affect HIV care on a global level.”  

Dr. Baugh officially joined Johnson & Johnson in 2007 as an Associate Medical Director at Janssen and has worked with the company ever since.  

During his time as U.S. Medical Director for the HIV inhibitor Prezista, Dr. Baugh also collaborated with the National Medical Association to conduct the HIV Testing Survey, which looked at HIV testing practices and beliefs of Black physicians in the U.S, and contributed to the GRACE Study, which examined gender and race differences in women living with HIV.   

“We have evolved treatment from multiple pills multiple times a day to tablets that contain a complete HIV regimen taken once a day to injectable regimens taken once a month or every two months,” Dr. Baugh said.  

These days, Dr. Baugh is also closely involved in shaping J&J’s efforts to advance health equity. This includes collaborating with NMF on the Alliance for Inclusion in Medicine program, funded by J&J Foundation, to expose high-performing underrepresented medical students to opportunities that will prepare them to become future clinicians and research leaders empowered to address health disparities that disproportionately affect communities of color.  

Dr. Baugh plays an active part in several employee resource groups at J&J and serves on the Board of Trustees at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He previously served on the boards of the Hyacinth Foundation and LifeTies, Inc.  

As Board Chair of NMF, Dr. Baugh hopes to inspire others like him.  

“When there are less Black men in medical school now than there were in 1970, we have to ask ourselves basic questions. How do we encourage more young people to join the health care field, and how can we nurture them along their journeys?  It’s one thing to increase the number of diverse health professionals and another to foster their careers enough to get them to stay in medicine.” 

Dr. Baugh said his role with NMF helps him to encourage others to continue seeking more analytical answers to fundamental questions.  

“For too long it has been assumed that certain populations have poor health outcomes – Black people have higher levels of this, Hispanic and Latine people have worse outcomes with this – well, why?”  

“We must ask why and keep asking why until we can break these issues down to their core elements. Unless there is a genetic basis, almost everything in medicine boils down to socioeconomic issues and social determinants of health. If we can stay analytical and more rigorous in our approach to answering the question of why, we just might achieve more equitable health overall.”