By Adam Pope
The Vilcek Foundation and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation have selected Mona Fouad, M.D., to receive the 2022 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare.
The Vilcek-Gold Award is a shared initiative of the Vilcek Foundation and the Gold Foundation that embodies the missions of both organizations. The award is given to outstanding immigrant health care professionals in the United States and honors the positive impact that accessible, humanistic and compassionate care has on public health.
Fouad is receiving the award for her leadership in health disparities research, and for her career-long commitment to equity in health care. Fouad is the founding director of the University of Alabama Birmingham Minority Health & Health Disparity Research Center, senior associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, and professor and director of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine.
Her work has been foundational in the development of research and public health interventions to make health care more accessible and equitable to historically underserved populations in the United States.
Fouad was born in Cairo, Egypt. She studied medicine at Alexandria University Medical School, and subsequently completed an internship with the university hospital before practicing medicine with an NGO in rural communities in Egypt for a year. The experiences at the university hospital and in working with underserved communities provided Fouad with insight and perspective into how socioeconomic factors impact health outcomes and access to health care.
Fouad recognized that it would be critical to publish scientific research providing concrete evidence of social determinants of health, to provide a cornerstone for additional study and for the development of interventions to support equitable health outcomes. With this goal in mind, Fouad founded the Minority Health and Health Disparity Research Center at UAB in 2002. Since its establishment, the center has grown from a few researchers to more than 200 members across a range of disciplines and specialties.
“From her first work as an M.D. in Egypt … to her latest work … she has modeled the attributes of compassion, collaboration and scientific excellence and created lasting change in the lived experiences of countless residents of Alabama,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president, dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and CEO of the UAB Health System. “Her respect and empathy toward people living in underserved communities, and her dedication to creating lasting change are defining features of her professional career.”
The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare includes an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 and a commemorative heart-shaped trophy. The 2022 award will be presented to Fouad at the Association of American Medical Colleges annual meeting in November 2022.