CHICAGO – The American Medical Association Foundation (AMAF) is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Excellence in Medicine Awards, which recognize physicians, residents, and medical students who exemplify the highest values of volunteerism, community engagement, leadership, and dedication to the care of underserved populations. Due to the pandemic, the AMAF waited more than a year to publicly honor these exceptional individuals. Awardees have the opportunity to choose a health-focused non-profit organization for a $2,500 grant honorarium. The 2020 recipients are:
Dr. Debasish Mridha Spirit of Medicine Award: recognizes the work of U.S. physicians who demonstrate altruism, compassion, integrity, leadership, and personal sacrifice while providing quality health care to destitute, distressed, or marginalized populations in impoverished communities. The 2020 recipient is M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP
Dr. Sweeney served as a primary care physician for more than 40 years with the majority of her career spent caring for patients at the Bedford Stuyvesant Health Center in Brooklyn, New York. She is passionate about various public health messages including HIV testing, immunizations, and access and equity in health care for marginalized populations.
Dr. Edmond and Rima Cabbabe Dedication to the Profession Award: recognizes a physician who demonstrates active and productive improvement to the profession of medicine through community service, advocacy, leadership, teaching, or philanthropy. The 2020 recipient is Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP.
Dr. Stanford is an obesity medicine physician-scientist who has worked tirelessly to care for and promote the care of, patients with obesity around the world. Dr. Stanford practices and teaches at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as one of the first fellowship-trained obesity medicine physicians in the world. She has served as a health communications fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as a behavioral sciences intern at the American Cancer Society.
Jack B. McConnell, MD, Award for Excellence in Volunteerism: honors senior physicians who are committed to providing medical care to those without access to health care in the United States. The 2020 recipient is Ludlow B. Creary, MD
For more than 50 years, Dr. Creary worked to serve minority residents of Greater Los Angeles. He was involved in the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, where he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine for more than two decades. He also spearheaded the opening of the historic West Adams Hospital in the South Los Angeles Community.
Pride in the Profession Award: honors physicians whose lives encompass the true spirit of being a medical professional through extraordinary patient care. The 2020 recipient is Christopher H. Chay, MD.
Dr. Chay’s goal has always been to provide access to the highest quality compassionate care to every patient, everywhere in Western North Carolina. He has done this through his clinical trial work, expanding clinics into rural communities, promoting patient-centered care, and managing the largest center for medical oncology care in Western North Carolina.
Excellence in LGBTQ Health Awards: honors physicians, residents/fellows, and final year medical students who have demonstrated outstanding work, innovation, and leadership in LGBTQ policy, advocacy, patient care, academics, workforce diversity, and/or healthcare administration. This is the inaugural year for this award, which are sponsored by the AMA’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee. The 2020 recipients are Sarah Grimley (medical student); Danielle Weitzer, DO (resident); and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, MMM (physician).
Sarah Grimley is the Founder, Chair of the Board of Directors, and Chief Operational Officer of the Nevada Gender Affirming Healthcare Program, and a recent graduate of the charter class of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Medicine.
Dr. Weitzer is currently in her third year of psychiatry residency at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. She decided to pursue a career in medicine to help increase the resources and care available to minority and diverse populations, in particular the LGBTQ population.
In addition to frontline work in the ER, Dr. Eiting is the Vice-Chair of Operations for Emergency Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City and is a tireless advocate for the care of underserved and vulnerable populations, particularly in the LGBTQ community. He served as the Vice-Chair for the AMA Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues and helped to establish the LGBTQ Honor Fund at the AMA Foundation, which is currently developing the first national Fellowship for LGBTQ+ Health.
Nominations for the Foundation’s 2021 Excellence in Medicine Awards are being accepted through July 31, 2021. Learn more about the online nomination process and all our award categories for 2021 on our website, www.amafoundation.org.