Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Honors Five Legacy Leaders at the 5th Annual Spring Gala

Noted Academic Institution Recognizes the Heirs of CDU’s Namesake Dr. Charles R. Drew; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; and HIV/AIDS Treatment Pioneer Wilbert C. Jordan, MD

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 19, 2017) — -- Five local healthcare champions, distinguished for their work in reducing health inequities in underserved communities, were feted by the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) at its 5th Annual Legacy Leaders Spring Gala on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The honorees included the heirs of University namesake Dr. Charles R. Drew—Bebe Drew Price, Charlene Drew Jarvis, PhD, Sylvia Drew Ivie, JD, and the late Charles Richard Drew, Jr.—the Honorable Mark Ridley-Thomas, Chairman, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Second District, who also serves as Chair of the CDU Board of Councilors; and HIV/AIDS pioneer Wilbert C. Jordan, MD, Founder and Director of the Oasis Clinic and AIDS Program, as well as a 37-year staff physician and faculty member of the University.

“We honored these five because they are truly healthcare heroes who deserve to be recognized for their tireless efforts to help reduce health disparities in under-resourced communities,” said CDU President and CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle. “And of course, we thank our attendees.  We are grateful for your strong support of our mission and our students.”

As she accepted the award, Sylvia Drew Ivie, speaking for her siblings, noted her father’s unwavering commitment to improving healthcare services in minority communities and said, “I think about the individuals that you are helping with your donations this evening.  Because of you, they are able to realize their dreams.  Thank you for your dedication and support.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas cited a number of mentors and personal heroes in attendance, including Robert K. Ross, MD, President and CEO of The California Endowment, and Co-Honoree Wilbert Jordan, MD, as well as the leadership of Martin Luther King Community Hospital (MLKCH), who partnered with L.A. County on the rebirth of that facility.

“This University is a special place,” said the Supervisor.  “Dr. Carlisle has provided leadership and stability in moving us into the 21st Century.  We all have a reason to be proud.  CDU’s collaboration with Martin Luther King Community Hospital is growing, and the whole County of Los Angeles is going to be better for it.”

Dr. Jordan credited community churches for his success in extending the lives of his AIDS patients.  “I think in LA we are further ahead than most cities in terms of getting churches to participants,” he said.  “We have churches bringing food to our clinic every day.  For some, it is the only meal they get all day.  It also allows the patients to realize that there are people in the community who do care.  And it has made a big difference.” 

Proceeds from the event will benefit Student Services, which provides scholarships and support, as well as CDU community pipeline programs, including the renowned Saturday Science Academy II, which encourages South Los Angeles students to excel in math, science and technology.  

The evening also featured a spirited performance by legendary jazz singer Barbara Morrison.

Returning as mistress of ceremonies for the fifth straight year was veteran NBC4 general assignment reporter Toni Guinyard.

Presenting sponsor of the event was Dignity Health.

Oher sponsors included:

  • Gold:  Office L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Kaiser Permanente, and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
  • Silver:  The California Endowment, CBS Corporation, AECOM, and Comerica Bank.
  • Media sponsors:  the Los Angeles Sentinel and PACE News. 
  • Table Sponsors:  Dr. David M. Carlisle, Dr. and Mrs. Norman C. Cottman, Jr., Bebe Drew Price, Dr. Steve O. Michael, Cedars Sinai, RFP Insurance Agency, Inc., Dr. Margaret Avila, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.