Member, AMPAC Board of Directors
Dr. Elizabeth Peterson grew up near Charlotte, North Carolina. Early in life, inspired by her own pediatrician and her rural environment, she felt a love of nature and a deep affinity for all living things. By the age of five, she had decided to pursue the study of medicine as an ideal way to gain the skills necessary to help others.
She majored in English at Wellesley College and received an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine. She trained for a year in Internal Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. The following year she studied Tropical Medicine and Public Health in London, England, and received a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Public Hygiene from the University of London School of Tropical Medicine.
She was selected by the Luce Foundation to be a Henry R. Luce Scholar for the next year, during which she lived and worked in rural Indonesia, researching infant mortality from a medical anthropology perspective.
After extensive travel through Southeast Asia, she returned to the United States for residency training in General Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, and in Plastic Surgery at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She completed additional fellowship training in Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery in Virginia. During this period, she began to provide surgical care and training for local medical professionals in impoverished countries.
Board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Peterson has practiced general and pediatric plastic surgery for over twenty-four years in Spokane, Washington. Currently she practices pediatric plastic surgery in the state of Washington. Her clinical interest is in taking care of patients with cleft lip and palate deformities, and she has spent much of the past two decades teaching and working with teams in developing countries where the patients are many and the services are few.
Along the way, she has developed a keen appreciation for the importance that organized medicine and public policy play in people’s lives. Determined to become involved in the political processes that shape health care policy, she has been a member of the Washington state delegation to the AMA since 2009, and was appointed to the AMPAC Board of Directors in 2018. She attended the AMPAC Campaign School in 2016.
Since 2015 she has been a trustee for the Washington State Political Action Committee (WAMPAC), serving as Secretary-Treasurer in 2016-2018, and Vice-Chair currently. Dr. Peterson has been on the Spokane County Medical Society Board of Trustees for many years, serving as an officer from 1999 – 2003, including as its President in 2002. In addition, she has been on the Washington State Board of Trustees since 2003.
As a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, she has served on various committees over the years, including the Ethics Committee from 2012 – 2015 and the Judicial Council from 2015 – 2018.
Outside of medicine and political advocacy, she enjoys the outdoors, travel, and the company of her two dogs.
Dr. Peterson believes that the essence of a political action committee is to influence those in power and to obtain and allocate the resources necessary to do so. In this way politics becomes the art of the possible. She envisions her role as a member of the AMPAC Board of Directors as providing a sharp analysis of policy followed by efforts to educate and influence lawmakers to advance the idealistic mission of the AMA.