During African-American history month, we’re taking the time to recognize leaders in health care who have made an impact in the fight against health disparities. This week we’d like to highlight the work of Dr. Benjamin Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and New York Times best-selling author.

We were honored to host Dr. Carson as the keynote speaker at our Sixth Annual Conference, “Starting at the Top: Achieving Health Equity Through Executive Leadership”, this past fall. Dr. Carson helped to empower an audience of health-care leaders across the region to take responsibility for working to eliminate health disparities in their communities.

“We need to begin to help all of our people understand how incredibly valuable they are,” said Dr. Carson. “Those are the kinds of things that will bring about the closure of this disparity gap.”

Dr. Carson’s numerous philanthropic efforts have helped to provide opportunities for underserved populations and contribute to reducing and eliminating health disparities. As co-founder of Angels of the OR, Dr. Carson has helped to provide grants to assist neurosurgery patients with expenses not covered by insurance. He is also president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments, having awarded more than $5 million to more than 5,000 scholars.

Dr. Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of awards and citations including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Spingarn Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP.

Let Dr. Carson’s accomplishments inspire us this month to do our part to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to a healthy life.

What can you do to make a difference?

Are you a bilingual health-care provider?  Become certified and trained in proper interpreting skills during a medical encounter through our Qualified Bilingual Staff program. For more information, contact Talya Frelick, Project Manager, Center on Health Disparities, at 301-315-3777 or TFrelick@adventisthealthcare.com.

Are you a health-care provider who treats African immigrant patients? Learn how you can get involved in our BEAT IT Project to help improve chronic and infectious disease management and health outcomes in the African immigrant community. Free education classes are also available for African immigrant patients. For more information, contact Eme Martin, BEAT IT! Project Manager, at 301-315-3184 or emartin2@adventisthealthcare.com.