Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Presents 2009 Community Health Leaders Award
to Lynne Holden, M.D., for Recruiting Disadvantaged Youth Into the Medical Profession
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its selection of Lynne Holden, M.D., co-founder and president of Mentoring in Medicine in New York City, to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. Holden is being honored for her work to reduce health disparities by creating a more diverse health care workforce. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Holden has established an all-volunteer organization that encourages and nurtures disadvantaged students from Harlem and the South Bronx in New York City to enter the health professions. Reaching students as young as the first grade, Mentoring in Medicine (www.medicalmentor.org) exposes students to a wide range of health professions and provides mentoring, academic enrichment and leadership development to set them on the path toward health careers. Holden has created a movement that motivates and supports nearly 6,000 students and engages nearly 500 health care professional volunteers.
“Dr. Holden inspires young people who might never have considered a career in health care,” said Janice Ford Griffin, national program director for the award. “She has also actively engaged them as health ambassadors who regularly disseminate information to improve the health of their communities.” Holden’s health ambassadors distributed crucial information in Harlem and the Bronx when the H1N1 flu strain, better known as the swine flu, first broke in New York City. Her health ambassadors also have worked to educate their communities about the dangers of smoking and how to prevent heart disease through the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign.
Nearly 500 health care professionals volunteer to help Holden inspire and mentor thousands of young people to realize dreams of health careers. “I feel so fortunate to do what I do.” said Holden. “Emergency medicine is a very special place to work, but I really love helping young people realize the same dream of a very rewarding and important profession—medicine.”
Anthony A. Clarke said that he was a “Mentoring in Medicine success story.” Last year, Clarke completed applications to 16 medical schools. After careful consideration, he decided to enroll in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where the Mentoring in Medicine program is based. “Dr. Holden believes in the idea of reducing health care disparities and improving health literacy by changing the health care workforce. Mentoring in Medicine is constantly going into schools, churches and community centers to share information with people,” Clarke said.
The Community Health Leaders Award honors exceptional men and women from all over the country who overcome significant obstacles to tackle some of the most challenging health and health care problems facing their communities and the nation. The award elevates the work of the leaders by raising awareness of their extraordinary contributions through national visibility, a $125,000 award and networking opportunities.
This year the Foundation received 532 nominations from across the United States and selected 10 outstanding individuals who have worked to improve health conditions in their communities with exceptional creativity, courage and commitment.
There are nine other 2009 Community Health Leaders in addition to Holden. Their work includes oral health services for remote communities; self-directed care for persons with physical disabilities; a marriage between health care and legal aid; care for victims of torture; an innovative approach to combat obesity; culturally sensitive and appropriate health care for Cambodian-American immigrants; quality health care for Native American elders; low-cost family planning for women, men and teens; and mental health services for the underserved.
Since 1993 the program has honored more than 160 Community Health Leaders in nearly every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Nominations can be submitted for the 2010 Community Health Leaders Award through October 15, 2009. For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit www.communityhealthleaders.org.
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Community Health Leaders (CHL) Award to recognize individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities. Today, there are 173 outstanding Community Health Leaders in nearly all states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.communityhealthleaders.org.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.