The Vilcek Foundation and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation announce that the 2022 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare will be awarded to Dr. Mona Fouad, MD, MPH. She receives the award for her leadership in health disparities research, and for her career-long commitment to equity in healthcare. Fouad’s work has been foundational in the development of rigorous research and interventions to make healthcare more accessible and equitable to historically underserved populations in the United States.
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 healthcare professionals in the United States and honors the positive impact that accessible, humanistic, and compassionate care has on public health.
Dr. Mona Fouad: Alexandria to Alabama
Fouad was born in Cairo, Egypt, and immigrated to the United States in 1980. She is the founding director of the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Minority Health & Health Disparity Research Center, the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, and the Director of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine.
Fouad studied medicine at Alexandria University Medical School in Alexandria, Egypt, and subsequently completed an internship with the university hospital before practicing medicine in rural communities in Egypt for a year. The experiences at the university hospital and in working with under-served communities provided Fouad with insight and perspective into how socioeconomic factors impact health outcomes and access to healthcare.
In 1984, Fouad moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where she completed her MPH at UAB. There, she took a research assistant position in the Division of Preventive Medicine at UAB, assessing heart disease risk factors among city employees, many of whom were African American.
The Minority Health & Health Disparity Research Center
In Birmingham, Fouad saw parallels to her work in rural Egypt, as her research for UAB uncovered how socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity were tied to healthcare access and healthcare outcomes. Fouad was compelled to develop a body of work that would support better and more equitable health outcomes for historically under-served communities. She recognized that it would be critical to publish scientific research providing concrete evidence of social determinants of health. With this goal in mind, Fouad founded the Minority Health & Health Disparities 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.
The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare
“Throughout her career, Dr. Mona Fouad has seen how vital making health education and preventative health care accessible to communities, and she has built groundbreaking systems to expand such care and galvanize more partners in her work,” says Jan Vilcek, Chairman and CEO of the Vilcek Foundation. “From her first work as a physician in rural Egypt, to her leadership as a public health advocate in the Southern United States, she has mobilized both her medical training and understanding of the human condition to improve the lives of the patients and communities she serves.”
The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare includes an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000, and a commemorative heart-shaped trophy. The award will be presented to Fouad at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Annual Meeting in November, 2022.