Dear National Medical Association Leadership, Board of Trustees, Honored Guests, Friends and Family:
I would like to take a moment to recognize Mrs. Lillian Mobley - a community leader and icon who passed away earlier this week. She played an instrumental role in bringing health, education and social justice to the Compton and Watts Communities including, but not limited to the opening of both the MLK Jr. Hospital and Charles Drew University. She inspires me everyday to bring excellence with compassion to my life’s activities.
Receiving this recognition today is especially meaningful, being alongside Dr. Lasalle Leffall, Jr. under whom I trained, and this being the 100-year anniversary of the 1911 NMA conference, during which my great grandfather Dr. Austin Curtis, then chair of surgery at Howard University, began his term as NMA president.
I believe it is important for us at times like these, to reflect upon the unique common bond of support and inspiration we share as members of the NMA family. While, the NMA may bestow select honors (and we are each proud to be recognized here today), such honors will never more than touch upon the commitment, the effort, and the love that being a member of the NMA provides each of us in its mission to provide outstanding medical education, unparalleled networking opportunities and camaraderie, and stellar professional support to health providers of color so that regardless of our chosen appointment, we can contribute positively to our collective community.
The field of medicine and medical research has been an extremely rewarding journey for me. My path has afforded me the pleasure to care for thousands of patients and to cultivate the art of medicine, the opportunity to do exciting research to advance the science of medicine, and the privilege to work with many partners in the South Central Los Angeles community, striving to bring the hope of medicine to the largest medically underserved community in the nation.
As a faculty at Charles Drew, I am also inspired by an aphorism attributed to the late Dr. Drew - “Excellence of Performance Will Transcend Artificial Barriers Created by Man.” A reminder for each of us of the important legacy of the NMA, creating a special place of support for physicians of color for over 100 years, when no others would.
To the National Medical Association leadership, again, I am deeply grateful for this recognition, the opportunity to share it with family, friends and colleagues, but equally important, this honor is an indelible reminder of the moral imperative for the work that lies ahead to ensure that future generations have the opportunity and the support to carry on the NMA legacy and to attend to our appointed duties with excellence and with compassion.
In closing, the late John Wooden said “You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” Let me say that once more, “You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
To the NMA, I want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of this particular perfect day. And I wish everyone here a wonderful 2011 NMA convention.