Dr. Wyche-Etheridge Receives National Health Equity Award

Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Ethridge accepts RISE award.

Nashville, TN – Meharry Medical Group proudly congratulates Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge who received the RISE Health Care Hero Award at The RISE Summit on Social Determinants of Health in New Orleans.

Dr. Wyche-Etheridge is an Assistant Professor at Meharry Medical College’s Department of Pediatrics, and a Primary Care physician at Meharry’s Pediatric Clinic.

The Health Care Hero Award is a prestigious award that acknowledges an individual’s effort to make a significant impact on the lives of underserved populations through health care and/or social services interventions to promote health equity among all patients.

“It’s nice to get recognized for the work that is done, but the work definitely is not done for the recognition. We’ve really only scratched the surface because once you identify that a problem exists, then there is an obligation to work towards correction of it. And we know that our inequities exist, we know our disparities exist. And we really should not be comfortable resting until we have done everything that we can, or everything within our individual and collective power, to right the current-day wrongs,” said Dr. Wyche-Etheridge.

During her acceptance speech, Dr. Wyche-Etheridge shared with the audience a personal story of her younger brother, George, who was born prematurely in a Boston hospital in the late 1960s, and who succumbed to health complications. Dr. Wyche-Etheridge was 4-years-old at the time but her childhood trauma caused her to pursue a career in medicine.

“And that kind of stuck with me through medical school, and part of the reason I went into medicine was how do we make sure that every family has the opportunity for their babies to go home? I realized that your next breath is not promised and it is not a right. It is a privilege.

And so while you have that breath, you have to utilize it to do good or to fulfill your purpose of whatever your purpose for being here is,” she said.

RISE received a total of 59 nominations for this year’s award.

Dr. Wyche-Etheridge’s nomination highlighted just how extensive her work to support underserved populations has been over the years: a fatherhood program as a maternal health initiative to address the absence of fathers in the most at-risk households; state-policy work to positively impact health equity; the establishment of a health equity training certificate and lectures across the country; community health events connecting medical students with the community members who may one day be their patients; the establishment of the GIRLS powered by STEAM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Arts/Math) program to introduce and keep girls of color interested in math, science, and art in middle school and high school; and the Teens to Queens program, a workshop for girls and their maternal figures to learn to communicate, dream, and understand their health.

Dr. Rick Whitted gives Dr. Etheridge with award.Dr. Rick Whitted gives Dr. Etheridge with award. (Photo: RISE)

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