Press Release

Regina M. Benjamin to Receive AHA Award of Honor

The American Hospital Association (AHA) will present its Award of Honor to Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A, founder and CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., in recognition of her outstanding contributions to improving the health status of communities and the nation. The award recognizes exemplary contributions to the health and well-being of people through leadership on major health policies or social initiatives.  The award will be presented at a ceremony on Monday, April 7 during the AHA's annual meeting in Washington, DC. 

Since 1990, Benjamin has been the sole family physician in Bayou La Batre, an underserved rural area of about 2,500 residents.  She is a nationally-known spokeswoman for the medically underserved population, having been named by Time magazine as one of the "Nation's 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under."

"As both a physician and an advocate for the patients she serves, Regina's commitment to better health care is evident in her service to her community," said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO.  "Her successful efforts on behalf of those most in need underscore the importance of individual leadership in today's challenged health care system."

Benjamin is a board member of the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., member of the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, former member of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, former president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and former president of the Medical Association State of Alabama.

Alfred G. Stubblefield, president of Baptist Health Care in Pensacola, Fl., will also receive the Award of Honor this year. 

Previous Award of Honor winners include Edward A. Eckenhoff, president and CEO of the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Washington, D.C., Stanley F. Hupfeld, president and CEO of INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma City, James W. Varnum, president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, N.H., Jordan J. Cohen, MD, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Sister Mary Jean Ryan, president and CEO of SSM Health in St. Louis, Mo., Ron Anderson, president and CEO, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., former president and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Donald M. Berwick, M.D., president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  Organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and Habitat for Humanity have also been honored.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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