Tarik Khan, Ph.D. in Nursing Penn. student, defeated incumbent state Rep. Pam DeLissio in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 194th Legislative District.
Khan won 59% of the vote against six-time incumbent DeLissio in the Democratic primaries in the 194th Legislative District. Located in northwest Philadelphia, the 194th Legislative District covers parts of Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.
Throughout his primary campaign, Khan knocked on more than 10,000 doors and raised $284,000 in funding, 10 times more money than DeLissio. Khan is currently running in the general election and faces no Republican opposition for his state representative seat.
Khan studied nursing at Roxborough Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and later earned her master’s degree in nursing from La Salle University. He currently works as a family nurse practitioner at Abbottsford-Falls Health Center in Philadelphia. Khan is the immediate past president of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association and, while earning his doctorate. at Penn, he worked with AARP and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics on health care policy.
Khan gained national attention for his “angel doses” program, where he delivered more than 850 doses of nearly expired COVID-19 vaccines to patients in Philadelphia. Khan is also a political activist, working with the American Nurses Association to fight for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Khan has also been a political advocate in Philadelphia, fighting for universal pre-kindergarten in the city and protesting the Nicetown Gas Plant, a fossil fuel power plant that SEPTA built in Nicetown, Philadelphia.
Initially hoping to enter the entertainment industry, Khan earned her undergraduate degree in English and theater from Davidson College. However, after a brief career with The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno, which he found unsatisfying, Khan decided to become a nurse like his mother.
“I decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and become a nurse because I knew nurses were cool, and I just knew nurses got things done,” Khan told the Daily Pennsylvanian. “[Nurses] let nothing come between what their patients needed and their advocacy.
Khan “fell in love” with the 194th District 20 years ago while attending nursing school at Roxborough Memorial Hospital. He decided to run for the 194th legislative district after seeing all the distress caused by COVID-19.
“We had people in nursing homes who had no way of getting access to PPE [personal protective equipment]. Pennsylvania has the second highest death rate in the country, in nursing homes and long-term care facilities behind New York,” Khan told the DP. “We need a lawyer, we need a nurse legislator.”
Khan’s time at Penn Nursing influenced the way he practices politics. He told the DP that Penn Nursing’s philosophy is “to have the deepest impact on the community, to make lasting change.” Khan said Penn Nursing knew they were getting an activist when they admitted him, and he feels the school has “always been very supportive of that”.
Khan is inspired to follow in the footsteps of one of his LDI colleagues, David Shulkin, a former secretary of Veterans Affairs, who continued to serve as a part-time clinician while serving in his government role.
“I actually planned to work four hours a week at the health center no matter what happens in Harrisburg. [Pennsylvania’s capital]”, said Khan. “It may even be more than I [can stay] connected with the community. »
Even during his campaign, Khan remained committed to his academics at Penn. He works on his thesis every day, no matter what else he has to do.
“Even on election night, I spent 30 minutes on my thesis,” Khan told the DP. “I want to have this Ph.D. it’s going to really educate me as a legislator.