Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award

The Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award is presented annually to a woman who exemplifies humanism and has advanced, through her scholarship, advocacy, leadership or work, the well-being of vulnerable or underserved populations in the healthcare arena.

The award was established in 2014 thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Ronald Arky, Daniel D. Federman Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at the Harvard Medical School.

The 2018 honoree is Dr. Dinali Fernando, who has done groundbreaking work caring for survivors of torture and human rights violations. The award will be presented on October 10, 2018, in Boston during Planetree’s International Conference on Person-Centered Care. Learn more here about her work and the two 2018 honorable mentions.

Please click here to learn about the 2017 winner, Dr. Veda Johnson. Dr. Johnson was honored on November 4, 2017, in Boston at the AAMC Annual Meeting.

Learn about Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz

Read her story here.

View the video to learn more about the inspiration for this award.

Who is eligible?

Women who work to  improve the health of underserved populations.

Please note, nominees do not have to be healthcare professionals. They can work in any field, but must be advocates for health issues.

How to Apply

The application period for the 2017-2018 Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award has closed. Please check back for information about the 2018 cycle.

Honoring the Recipient

The winner receives an award and a check for $1,000 from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The award will be presented at a ceremony in 2018. The Foundation will cover the cost of the awardee’s expenses to attend the ceremony.


2018 winner

Dr. Dinali Fernando, who has done groundbreaking work caring for survivors of torture and human rights violations. Read more

Honorable mentions
  • Dr. Kathleen Reeves, who has made an immense impact on urban distressed communities and violence intervention and prevention.
  • Dr. Marlene Melzer-Lange, who has been a leader in violence prevention and efforts to reduce the physical and psychological impact of the trauma.
2017 winner

Dr. Veda Johnson, who is recognized as an influential force locally in Atlanta, regionally, and nationally in school-based healthcare. Read more

Inaugural winner

Dr. Mardge Cohen, who has been advocating for people living with HIV, especially women and children, for close to 30 years. Read more

Honorable Mentions:
  • Dr. Anne Armstrong-Coben, a pediatrician and Medical Director at Children’s Aid and Family Services in New Jersey who advocates for improving access to healthcare for children living in foster care;
  • Lynn Ricci, MA, LTCA, an advocate for children with autism and their families and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Autism Center at the Hospital for Special Care in Connecticut; and
  • Marilyn Saviola, MA, Vice President at the Independence Care System, Women’s Health Access Program in New York where she works to address health disparities experienced by people with disabilities.

Learn more about Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz.