John Bluford III, founder and president of the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute, and Darrell Kirch, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, will receive 2019 AHA Awards of Honor for their exemplary contributions to the nation’s health and well-being through leadership on major health policy or social initiatives. AHA will present the awards April 8 during its Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

Bluford served as president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., before founding the Institute in 2013 to develop a pipeline of culturally competent scholars to address disparities and social-economic determinants of health. “Health equity and elimination of health care disparities are attainable achievements, not just words, thanks in part to John’s lifelong commitment to a truly inclusive system of health care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “He has been steadfast in his work to close the gaps in health care that often affect our most vulnerable patients, and that effort will live on in the next generation of diverse health care leaders, who he has trained and inspired.” 

Kirch previously served as dean and academic health system leader of the Medical College of Georgia and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “Throughout his career, Dr. Kirch has recognized that the stronger residency training is, the better patient care will be now and in the future,” Pollack said. “He had the foresight to strengthen residency training, ensuring that the next generation of physician leaders will become our best ever. His tireless support of academic medicine has improved both the health care delivery system and the patient care experience.”

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