June 22, 2023

Nurse Practitioner Turned Politician Highlighted in Documentary

Nurse Practitioner Turned Politician Highlighted in Documentary

Source:  CBS News Philadelphia

Family Nurse Practitioner Tarik Khan, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature in November 2022. He is notably the state’s first Pakistani-American congressman. Yet many people are familiar with him because of his work during the pandemic. 

His latest political endeavor is another way he is giving back to his community. Khan's efforts as a nurse practitioner and subsequent political career are making an impact. Healthcare professionals are applauding his work and recognizing the significance of his story.

Source: CBS News Philadelphia

Tarik Khan’s Background

Tarik Khan was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to healthcare at a young age, thanks to his mother, who was a registered nurse. Khan graduated from Philadelphia's Central High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Davidson College in 2000 and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from La Salle University in 2011. 

In December of 2022, he earned a Ph.D. in nursing from The University of Pennsylvania. As a  professional nurse, Tarik Khan has worked to enhance access to care for underrepresented and marginalized people, particularly those with impairments. His latest research has involved vulnerable populations, including those experiencing homelessness and family caregivers.

Khan credits his parents and diversified upbringing for his strong desire to fight injustice. He is the son of an immigrant who came to Philadelphia from Pakistan in search of a better life.

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Khan’s Contributions During the Pandemic

In 2021, Khan became a local hero. As a frontline nurse, he co-created a vaccine program for people with disabilities, which he presented at a White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored forum. He also visited homebound patients to administer expiring immunizations. 

The nurse practitioners' work was captured in the award-winning documentary "Angel Dose." The 25-minute documentary premiered May 23, 2023, and can be viewed on KERA. The film records his nightly door-to-door vaccination campaign during the height of the pandemic. Each evening after his shift, Khan raced against time to deliver expiring vaccines across the city to vulnerable patients before they spoiled. 

His heroic actions demonstrate his commitment to reaching vulnerable populations and ensuring that no one is left behind. This grassroots approach resonates deeply with healthcare professionals who understand the value of meeting patients where they are.

Khan was also featured in People Magazine and on Good Morning America. 

Khan’s Contributions to His Pennsylvania Constituents

As a Family Nurse Practitioner and Congressman, Khan has worked to improve healthcare in his local and state communities. He has championed nurses in his former role as President of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association. And he also advocates for patients. 

Khan founded and chairs Enabling Minds, an organization that supports the education of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Source: Enabling Minds

Khan has won several awards for his advocacy, including the following:

  • NACDD's Champions of Equal Opportunity Award for Advocacy

  • 2019 Philadelphia Inquirer's Influencers of Healthcare Award

  • Billy Penn's Who's Next: Community Leader Award

  • Frederick Douglass Patient Advocacy Award

  • Grand As Parents 2020 Service Award

In addition, he’s been recognized by The Philadelphia City Council and now serves in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Nurses and nurse practitioners at the forefront of patient care have applauded Khan for making his voice heard and giving the profession stronger representation in policy-making. “We need to bring research-based knowledge” to legislation,” Khan told the audience at a screening for Angel Dose. “My soft skills as a nurse are brought to the Pennsylvania legislature; we need social workers, teachers, nurses, and women and people of color to step up and represent.” 

Khan upset six-term incumbent Pam DeLissio in the 2022 Democratic primary to represent the 194th district, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. In the general election for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he defeated his opponent Torren Danowski by a landslide

Source: Ballotpedia.org

As his campaign website told voters, he is “fed up with our broken system.” Now as a newly elected representative, Khan is making changes. He is co-sponsoring bipartisan House Bill 78, which would cancel medical debt for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians. His focus remains on improving the lives of those he serves.

Source: Tarik Khan’s Twitter

Khan’s actions demonstrate a deep-rooted desire to improve the lives of those he serves. He is working to address systemic issues and bring about positive change. 

The 42-year-old nurse practitioner's story is inspiring. Tarik Khan’s selflessness, passion, and unrelenting dedication to public service represent the true nursing spirit. As he joins the political arena, his vision and enthusiasm will continue to empower and transform communities.


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