Heidi Overton, a Gallup native who served as a student member of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, has been named a White House Fellow.
The prestigious fellowship, created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service for one year by serving in various roles in the federal government.
Overton, a general surgery resident at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a doctorate candidate in clinical investigation at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will serve in the White House Office of American Innovation.
Overton was in the second class of UNM’s combined bachelor’s/MD (doctor of medicine program), in which students who were admitted into UNM’s College of Arts and Sciences and maintained good grades were guaranteed admission into the UNM School of Medicine.
While in medical school, Overton was appointed in 2013 to a two-year term as the student regent by Gov. Susana Martinez.
Paul B. Roth, UNM’s Chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, has known Overton since she was an undergraduate.
“Heidi has always been on a trajectory of excellence,” he said. “We hope she will return to New Mexico so we will eventually benefit from her incredible experience and leadership skills.”
At Johns Hopkins, she studies the appropriateness of medical care through the innovative Improving Wisely program, where she leads quality metric development. Her dissertation work on post-operative opioid prescribing has demonstrated national impact.
Overton, a 2007 graduate of Gallup High School, is also a physician advocate for price and quality transparency in health care through the grassroots movement Restoring Medicine. She holds national leadership positions as the resident liaison representative to the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the resident member of the Surgical Outcomes Club Board of Directors.
The White House Fellowship is a non-partisan program that promotes active citizenship and public service. Fellows actively participate in an education program that expands their knowledge of leadership, policy-making and contemporary issues. Fellows also take part in service projects throughout the year.
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CORRECTION: This story was updated to change name of degree program to Bachelor’s / MD.