NMA Annual Conference: “We Will Continue To Advocate For Our Patients”

Dr. Leonard Weather(BlackDoctor.org) — NMA President Leonard Weather, RPh, MD, took the occasion of the NMA’s most recent annual conference to offer words of welcome and to express his “profound gratitude” for the privilege of serving as the 111th NMA president.

“It has been an eventful year, and we remain hopeful for economic recovery as our national leaders grapple with debt issues,” he said. “The NMA will continue to advocate for our patients and our physicians, irrespective of the nation’s financial woes. We should do what we can to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid remain solvent. We also insist that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act be given a chance to work. We urge all of you to make your voices heard within your sphere of influence.”

During the Opening Ceremony, major awards of the NMA were presented to the following recipients.

• Practitioner of the Year: Mark A. Grevious, MD, Chicago. A plastic and general surgeon, he is regarded as a thought-leader and pioneer in his field, holding a U.S. patent for a sternal closure device.

• Distinguished Service Award: John E. Arradondo, MD, MPH, Nashville. Through his advocacy, he is credited with initiating education, business and health laws in five states.

• Meritorious Achievement Award: Keith Norris, MD, MPH, Los Angeles. Dr. Norris is the principal investigator for six NIH grants and has obtained nearly $150 million in NIH research funding for the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. His research focuses on hypertension and chronic kidney disease in African-Americans.

• Large Local Society of the Year: Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia led by President Sadye B. Curry, MD. The Medico-Chirurgical (Med-Chi) Society has demonstrated leadership and provided dynamic activities in membership development, community service and continuing medical education.

• Small Local Society of the Year: James Wilson Bridges, MD, Medical Society led by President Cheryl Holder, MD. Despite dwindling membership, the society spearheaded airlifting medical supplies, food, water and clothing to Port au Prince after the Haiti earthquake. As a result, the society experienced a turnaround in membership and participation.

• Scroll of Merit: Billy R. Ballard, DDS, MD, Nashville; Donald L. Chatman, MD, Chicago; A. Barry Rand, Washington, DC; and President Barack H. Obama. Dr. Ballard, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, has mentored hundreds of African-American dental and medical students, residents, junior faculty members and administrators. Dr. Chatman, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, is a pioneer in pelvic pain and endometriosis. Findings from his studies disputed the prevailing diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease in African-American women, when, in fact, endometriosis was present. His conclusions demonstrated these “misdiagnoses” were based on race and socio-economic factors. Dr. Rand, chief executive officer of AARP. At Howard University, he has established the Helen Matthews Rand Endowed Scholarship, a $1.5 million program at the Howard University School of Education named in honor of his late mother, a Washington, D.C., public school principal, to encourage students to enter teaching careers in urban schools. President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. As 44th U.S. President, he is an untiring advocate of health care reform.

• W. Montague Cobb Lifetime Achievement Award: LaSalle D. Leffall, MD, Washington, D.C. He is the Charles R. Drew professor of surgery, Howard University College of Medicine. His professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, especially among African-Americans. In 1979, he emphasized the importance of this study when he served president of the American Cancer Society.

• Cato T. Laurencin Distinguished Research Career Award: Jane C. Wright, MD, New York. A renowned oncologist, Dr. Wright is credited as being the “mother of chemotherapy.” By 1967, she was the highest-ranking African-American woman in a U.S. medical institution.

• President’s Award: Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, Carlos D. Williams, MD, MPH, MBA, CDR, MC, USN, and Neal Baer, MD. A Navy vice admiral, Dr. Robinson is the 36th surgeon general of the Navy and chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. His Naval service has earned him numerous decorations. Among his several positions, Dr. Williams serves as chair of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Medical Stability Operations Working Group’s Education and Training Committee. In this position, he led the effort that resulting in the DOD’s first Global Health Education and Training Consortium. During Dr. Baer’s tenure, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has won numerous awards, including the Shine Award; the People’s Choice Award, the Prism Award, and the Media Access Award, and actors on the show have won four Emmys and a Golden Globe.

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