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Guardian of Global Health Award

It was a beautiful evening with lots and lots of glam and even more gratitude. And, I was truly honored to receive the Mary Jane Seacole Award as a Guardian of Global Health.

This is a phenomenal recognition of the many global health teams that I work with. Because you don’t do global health on your own. Global health is all about teamwork and facilitating progress, building capacity and serving communities together with the members of those communities. I have phenomenal partners, collaborators, colleagues, supporters and friends all over the world. They know that this award is for all of us. And, they know how grateful I am for finding this meaning in my work and for waking up every morning knowing that my work matters, locally and globally.

This award is in the name of Mary Jane Seacole. If you don't know about her and her intriguing life and phenomenal story more than a century ago (1805-1881) take a moment to read about her. She traveled across continents, easing suffering and practicing "folk medicine" using herbal remedies. She was a Jamaican-British nurse and entrepreneur who provided health chare during the cholera epidemic in Panama in 1851and after that she served the wounded and ill during the Crimean war (1853-1856). In short, her story is that of a brave woman who keeps giving back despite challenges, paving her own way and never giving up. Apparently, "her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), was the first autobiography written by a black woman in Britain" (Wikipedia).

She also faced extensive and racial discrimination during her lifetime, but her contributions to healthcare were recognized posthumously. And, there has has been a renewed appreciation for her achievements. Now she is celebrated as a pioneer and a symbol of diversity in healthcare leaving a lasting legacy, inspiring generations of healthcare professionals and highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion in the healthcare field.

Also, special thanks to Shelli-Ann McKenzie, and her fantastic team, for being the tireless champions of Help for Healthcare Professionals that provides such great support and advocacy for health and health care workers in Georgia and beyond. Something tells me we’re going to do some great and exciting things together real soon for our community of healthcare professionals.

Thanks to all who joined, celebrated and gave back to their communities.

With Shelli-Ann McKenzie at the Award Gala


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