Cleavon Gilman, MD

Dr. Cleavon Gilman is an emergency medicine physician, PRIME-US alumnus, person who stutters, hip-hop artist and public health advocate in Arizona. As a first-generation doctor his path to medicine was circuitous. He served 5 years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. After the Iraq War in 2004, he enrolled at Southwestern Community College in San Diego and graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in American Studies. In 2016, he graduated from UCSF medical school then completed his emergency medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian in New York City and also served as chief resident. During residency, he began using hip-hop music to highlight social issues and teach medicine. He presented a song on burnout called “Rise Up Now” at the National Academy of Medicine, and was awarded Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) 45 under 45 and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Innovative Educator of the year in 2020.

At the beginning of the pandemic in New York City, he took to social media to raise awareness and fight misinformation by memorializing those killed by COVID and sharing his experiences on the frontlines. He continued his advocacy in the rural community of Yuma, Arizona, which at one point had the highest cases per capita in the U.S. amid the politicization of public health measures. 

In December 2020, Dr. Gilman received a personal call from President Joe Biden thanking him for his service during the Iraq War and pandemic. Dr. Gilman continues to advocate for marginalized communities.