On Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, Meharry Medical College, the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center, celebrated its 140th annual Convocation to welcome a new academic year for future physicians, dentists, researchers and health policy experts. At the event, Metro Nashville Mayor Megan Barry served as the keynote speaker. The Convocation was presided over by James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., who had joined Meharry as its 12th President and Chief Executive Officer in July.
“Meharry makes Nashville proud every day,” said Mayor Barry. “With the help of Meharry and all of the partners, I know that we can increase the presence of Nashville General in our community, and the impact on our community.”
During Convocation, four students, Carlton Baskin, MSPH student from Madison, Ala.; Trakendra Irby, MSPH student from Horn Lake, Miss.; Francheska Desravines, a senior in the School of Medicine, from Miami, Fla.; and Pashe Sanders, a senior in the School of Dentistry were surprised with the Presidential Student Leadership Scholarship that will cover tuition costs for their final year of attendance at Meharry. The scholarships are funded by the U. S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Graduate Institution (HBGI) Part B Programs. This is the second year Meharry has awarded students with this scholarship.
“Ever since 1876, this school has worked to improve the health of the underserved communities and to close the gap under health disparities,” she Mayor Barry said during her speech. “And that work continues today. I believe that with the power of an academic institution and a hospital, together, we can make some amazing things happen here.”
Three distinguished alumni also received recognition for their continuous support of Meharry and its mission to serve the underserved.
Alumni and former Meharry professor, James F. Densler, M.D., FACS, F.A.A.P., was honored with The Axel C. Hansen, M.D. ’44 Distinguished Physician Award for his leadership and commitment of Meharry’s mission through his exemplary practice of medicine. Currently, Dr. Densler is a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Ruth E. Ross, D.D.S., M.D.S, was honored with the Fred C. Fielder Distinguished Dentist Award for her leadership and personal commitment of Meharry’s mission through her exemplary practice of dentistry. Affectionately known as “Dr. Ruth,” she has and continues to serve the Nashville community through dentistry and orthopedic surgery.
Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., received the Harold D. West Distinguished Biomedical Scientist Award, for his significant and meaningful progress in the highest ethical principles of biomedical conduct. Dr. Bennett currently serves as the associate provost for diversity and inclusion and associate professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
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