This year’s recipient of Pennsylvania Society’s 2021 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement is a medical expert whose response to the coronavirus pandemic in the southeastern area of the state made a substantial impact on a community disproportionately affected by the deadly virus.
Dr. Ala Stanford of Philadelphia, the CEO and founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, was announced as receiver of the illustrious award reserved for “prominent citizens for their leadership, citizenship, and contributions in various areas” early this month.
President of The Pennsylvania Society Edward Sheehan Jr., told Penn Live that Stanford’s team of doctors, nurses, operations staff, and volunteers created a testing and vaccination alternative for the Black community in the state after realizing they were contracting COVID-19 at higher rates than any other group. The Penn State College of Medicine grad noticed enough wasn’t being done. The consortium is aimed at providing services in an effort to reduce the cases and deaths related to the virus.
“While there are countless examples of Pennsylvanians who have stepped up in significant ways during the pandemic — many of whom we have recognized on social media through our PA COVID Heroes campaign — Dr. Ala Stanford stands out for her ability not just to recognize a problem, but to then create a unique solution and put that solution into action with powerful results,” Sheehan said.
“Dr. Stanford’s Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is truly inspirational work worthy of celebration. And all of Pennsylvania can be proud as Dr. Stanford’s personal life journey has touched communities all across our commonwealth.” Stanford also is the first Black woman to receive the Gold Medal Award in the award’s 112-year history. She specializes in adult general and pediatric surgery in Philadelphia.
The consortium created a free mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination operation. They’ve also provided Uber rides for those in selected ZIP codes looking to get to a nearby COVID testing site. According to the outlet, the organization has tested more than 25,000 Pennsylvanians and vaccinated more than 51,000, including more than 1,000 homebound patients.
In addition, honorees of the Gold Medal award get a contribution to a charity of their choice made in their name. Stanford is expected to reveal the aid organization of her choosing at the award ceremony.
Stanford will receive the award at the organization’s annual dinner slated to occur on Dec. 4, 2021, in New York City at the Hilton Midtown. The event is scheduled to last all weekend and will consist of receptions, parties, and networking. The Pennsylvania Society is a nonprofit charitable organization with more than 2,000 members. Following an 1899 dinner attended by prominent Pennsylvanians living in New York to discuss issues ongoing in their state, they decided to make it an annual event.
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