2022 AMA Excellence in Medicine Awards Physician Honorees

Post by: Brendan Murphy, AMA

The American Medical Association honored six Physicians for their altruism, advocacy and professional skill. They received Excellence in Medicine Awards at the AMA Annual Meeting last weekend.

The honorees are:

Dr. Abraham was given the Dr. Debasish Mridha Spirit of Medicine Award, which recognizes the work of U.S. physicians who demonstrate altruism, compassion, integrity, leadership and personal sacrifice while providing quality health care to destitute, distressed or marginalized population in impoverished communities.

Jerry P. Abraham, MD
Jerry P. Abraham, MD, MPH, CMQ

Dr. Abraham, an AMA member, serves as an advocate for equal access to public health and health care for people across Los Angeles. As director of Kedren Vaccines, he has fully repositioned the health care organization to serve as the lead responder for COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and therapeutics, providing more than 450,000 tests and more than 300,000 vaccines with a keen focus on South Los Angeles, earning international and national acclaim.

Dr. Bisgrove earned the Dr. Edmond and Rima Cabbabe Dedication to the Profession Award, which recognizes physicians who demonstrate active and productive improvement to the profession of medicine through community service, advocacy, leadership, teaching or philanthropy.

Joanna Turner Bisgrove, MD
Joanna Turner Bisgrove, MD

Dr. Bisgrove, an AMA member, is a family physician and assistant professor of family medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She has participated in several health advocacy organizations and volunteers with The Trotter Project, a school-based farm-to-table program that educates youth on healthy eating, sustainability and careers in agriculture and hospitality. Dr. Bisgrove is passionate about gender equity for women in medicine and disability inclusion.

Given the Pride in the Profession Award for physicians whose lives encompass the true spirit of being a medical professional through extraordinary patient care, Dr. Bristow is a physician and advocate with more than 50 years of experience. In 1995, he was elected president of the AMA—the first Black person to hold the position.

Lonnie Bristow, MD
Lonnie Bristow, MD

A pioneer in health care equity and policy reform, Dr. Bristow is an AMA member who has dedicated his career to ethical and socioeconomic issues such as the mistreatment of sickle cell anemia, the tobacco industry’s effect on public health, the death penalty, and HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Blackstock is one of three honorees to get the Excellence in LGBTQ Health Award, which goes to physicians, residents, fellows and final-year medical students who have demonstrated outstanding work, innovation and leadership in LGBTQ+ policy, advocacy, patient care, academics, workforce diversity or health care administration, Dr. Blackstock is recognized as a thought leader and influencer in health equity.

Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS
Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS

She is a primary care and HIV physician and the founder and executive director of Health Justice, a health equity consulting firm that helps health care and public health organizations center anti-racism and equity in the workplace and reduce health inequities in the communities they serve.

Also recognized with the Excellence in LGBTQ Health Award, Dr. Schneider, an AMA member, is an associate professor at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He also works in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital.

His clinical interests include sexual health and sexuality, the interaction of psychiatry and general medicine, and primary care for LGBTQ+ patients.

Jason Schneider, MD
Jason Schneider, MD

Dr. Schneider played a vital role in the development of the Grady Memorial Hospital Gender Center, a clinic for transgender and gender diverse patients.

The third honoree to be celebrated with an Excellence in LGBTQ Health Award, Dr. Nowaskie, an AMA member, is a queer, nonbinary fourth-year psychiatry resident at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Nowaskie’s personal identification and civic commitment have cultivated into a passion to help the LGBTQ+ community.

Dustin Nowaskie, MD
Dustin Nowaskie, MD

Dr. Nowaskie is the founder and president of the national nonprofit health equity organization OutCare Health, which gives patients access to LGBTQ+ physicians and other health professionals, as well as health care resources, mentorship and medical education reform.

The AMA Foundation also introduced a new honor, the Dr. Jacqueline A. Bello Friend of the AMA Foundation Award, which goes to AMA staff, donors and volunteers for their active engagement and unwavering support of the foundation. The inaugural recipient this year is Brian Vandenberg, who served as the AMA’s general counsel from February 2017 to March 2022.

Vandenberg is now chief administrative officer and general counsel at Homeward, a company committed to improving access to high-quality, comprehensive health care in rural communities. Vandenberg has generously supported several diverse AMA Foundation scholarship programs through the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund.

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