“Closing the gap” was the theme of the Gateway Medical Society 2015 Physician of the Year Scholarship Gala on Oct. 3, at the Marriott City Center. Nearly 200 attended the gala where scholarships were presented, members of the Journey to Medicine program were introduced and two physicians received the Physician of the Year Award.
KDKA-TV Anchor and Reporter Lynne Hayes-Freeland served as a vibrant mistress of ceremony and GMS President Dr. William Simmons welcomed the crowd. The first Physician of the Year recipient was Dr. Christopher C. Allen.
Christopher Allen is a clinical assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an interventional cardiac vascular physician in the Heart and Vascular Institute of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The second recipient was Dr. Rhonda Moore Johnson, MPH.
Johnson is the senior medical director of Health Equity & Quality Services for Highmark Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh. In this role, Johnson leads Highmark’s efforts to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities through clinical interventions, and improvements in health literacy and health plan cultural competency. The “Champion of Gateway” Award was presented to Jerry Allen of Allen Place Community Services. Jerry Allen has been a long time partner and supporter of the GMS’ community outreaches. She has allowed the GMS to join in with her Prom for Seniors (senior citizens) event and when the GMS exhausted all options for a space for its Journey to Medicine Science Camp, she opened the doors of Allen Place.
Two very special guests were introduced, the first was Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, president emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine. Sullivan served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during President George H. W. Bush‘s administration and was founding dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Also in attendance was Dr. Edith Mitchell, National Medical Association president.
During this very delightful event, four scholarships were presented to Joe Miguel Juarez, Chibueze Nwaiwu, Darvé Robinson and Emilie Transue. One of the most gratifying parts of the evening was meeting some of the students from the Journey to Medicine program. Roman Ramsey, who is now a high school senior, spoke about his journey since the sixth grade.
Simmons said, “Our Journey to Medicine pipeline is complete with classes from sixth to twelfth grades. We are proud to say that our first graduating class from High School will occur spring of 2016. The Heinz Endowments took a chance on a six-year long dream of an academic mentorship program that started in the sixth grade and you had to wait six years before you had a graduating class. They have funded us every year since Journey to Medicine began.”
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