Wednesday, February 3 2010
“A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood,” this year’s University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Black History Month Event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, was held February 3, 2010 in the MSTF auditorium. At the ceremony, Diversity Recognition Awards were presented for Outstanding UMB Faculty/Staff and Outstanding Student/Student Group. This year’s faculty winner was Elijah Saunders, MD, FACC, FACP, FAHA, professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Saunders was the first black resident in internal medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, from which he graduated in 1960. He was also the first black cardiologist in Maryland and was integral in abolishing segregated hospital wards at what was then University Hospital (now the University of Maryland Medical Center). Dr. Saunders was a founding member of the Association of Black Cardiologists, and was co-founder of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks.
Dr. Saunders has also been greatly involved in community outreach. In 2006 he launched the Hair, Heart and Health program, which trains barbers and hairstylists to pre-screen their customers for hypertension and make appropriate referrals for medical care. “Dr. Saunders is an outstanding practitioner and clinical researcher who has garnered the respect of his colleagues both nationally and internationally,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “He is a physician who cares about and supports his community by willingly giving his expertise and time for the betterment of its citizens.”
The student award winners were Domonique Markland and Sarah Weese from the law school, who were honored for their volunteer work with teens incarcerated on adult charges at the Baltimore City Detention Center. C. Fraser Smith, Senior Editor and Senior News Analyst at WYPR-FM, was the keynote speaker. He told of the unheralded heroes of the civil rights movement, whom he honors in his book “Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland.”
“The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture series event is very important, because it commemorates the principles Dr. King stood for,” said Dean Reece. “These principles are guiding lights for our students, faculty and our community at large.”
Added David Ramsey, DM, DPhil, President of UMB, “we are very proud that our campus is quite diverse, not just the students, but the faculty, staff and leadership as well,” he said. “That diversity is really our strength, and today we honor Dr. King, who helped open doors for all people.”
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