On a day set aside to honor the ideals of civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a noted pediatrician and social activist urged medical professionals to “do good in order to do well.”
Gloria A. Wilder, MD, MPH, served as the keynote speaker for Northwell Health’s 47th annual MLK Day celebration, before a packed auditorium at North Shore University Hospital. Dr. Wilder is the founder of CORE HEALTH, a community-driven social justice solutions company launched in 2005 that is dedicated to helping health providers in underserved communities improve their quality of service. CORE HEALTH’s Wellness Doctrine recognizes that a well community provides strong quality healthcare, education, housing, food and economic opportunities for its residents.
Previously, Dr. Wilder served as Director of Community Pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical Center and Chair of Mobile Health Programs at Children’s National Medical Center. She oversaw the daily operation of the Children’s Health Project of DC, a program of the nationally recognized Children’s Health Fund.
Well-known for her belief in the power of service, Dr. Wilder was awarded a Caring Award in 2005, joining the company of Jimmy Carter and Mother Theresa. (This award is given annually to a select group of individuals who demonstrate exceptional generosity and commitment to service). She is also the recipient of the District of Columbia Primary Care Association Champion of Change Award; Rotary Club’s Hall of Fame Award; The Oprah Winfrey Show’s Angel Network “Use Your Life Award” for her service to children; and the Planned Parenthood Champions of Choice Award.
During her stirring keynote presentation, Dr. Wilder recalled a childhood of extreme poverty in Brooklyn, NY, made worse by the fact that she was a very sickly child with a mother who could not afford premium health care. The days spent in a public clinic served as the bedrock for her belief that every person is entitled to compassionate medical care, regardless of their race, creed, or ability to pay.
“Dr. Gloria,” as her patients call her, shared the words of Dr. King, who famously said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Adding to this, Dr. Wilder said: “Health care is the most striking example of injustice in America. All health care providers must live by the Hippocratic Oath. If you ever wonder what to do, re-read the oath. You’ll notice that there are no mentions of insurance plans there. Only the call to do good, and to do no harm.”
Speaking about the importance of equity in health care, Dr. Wilder added, “If you don’t make an equitable path to wellness for every person, regardless of their circumstance, then you yourself can’t live a just life.”
Following her remarks, the winners of Northwell’s Creative Arts contest were presented with their rewards by Barbara Felker, VP, Strategic Community Partnerships, Northwell Health. In addition, two high school students received Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial program scholarship awards for excellence in academics and community service. The event, organized by Northwell Health’s Center for Equity of Care, hosted by Michael Wright, vice president of diversity and health equity, and co-chaired by Terry Tan and Helen White.
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 61,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners -- are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.