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New York (June 16, 2017) – The New York Academy of Medicine honored Richard N. Merkin, MD Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Provider Network; Julie L. Gerberding, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health at Merck & Co., Inc.; and Academy President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, at its annual Gala on June 13, 2017 at Cipriani 25 Broadway. The Gala honored visionary leadership in urban health, as well as outstanding journalism on issues affecting the health of people living in cities.

Nearly 400 guests gathered for the event, including a number of dignitaries from the health and social services sector: Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health; Sylvia Pirani, Director, Office of Public Health Practice, New York State Department of Health; Anne Marie Theresa Sullivan, Commissioner, New York State Office of Mental Health; Dr. Sonia Angell, Deputy Commissioner of Prevention and Primary Care, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Dr. Donna Corrado, Commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging; and Stanley Brezenoff, Acting President and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals. 

The Academy honored Dr. Merkin for his visionary work in improving population health through physician-led, patient-centered, integrated healthcare. View the video of highlights from the event produced by Heritage Provider Network.

“I am deeply honored to receive the visionary global leader award in healthcare delivery, innovation and philanthropy from the New York Academy of Medicine,” said Dr. Merkin. “I share and applaud their deep commitment and vision for healthy cities through improved healthcare that impacts the lives of millions of New Yorkers. The work of the Academy and its members leads us to critical, lifesaving breakthroughs impacting the intersection of science and technology, never more critically important than now.”
 
The Academy honored Dr. Gerberding for her vision and leadership in establishing Merck for Mothers, which improves the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth in more than 30 countries around the world. In its first five years, the initiative has helped more than 6 million women worldwide with preventive and family planning services. 

“Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth,” Dr. Gerberding said. “Together with our partners, we are focused on implementing inventive approaches, partnerships and solutions to help create a world where no woman dies giving birth.  I’d like to thank the New York Academy of Medicine for the recognition and opportunity to bring attention to the issue of maternal mortality.”

The Academy honored Dr. Boufford as the 2017 Urban Health Champion for her extraordinary dedication, vision and leadership in urban health and global population health, both throughout her career and in her decade-long tenure as president of the Academy, which concludes this year. Also announced at the event was the establishment of the Jo Ivey Boufford East Harlem Initiative Fund, with support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, James Flynn, and George and Barbara Thibault. 

“I’m very honored to receive this award and happily accept it on behalf of the incredibly talented and dedicated staff, our Fellows and our partners from around the City, State, nation and the globe,” Dr. Boufford said. “I look forward to working   as an active Fellow of the Academy to continue improving population health in New York City and cities around the world.”

At the event, the Academy also awarded the 2017 Urban Health Journalism Prize to Jay Hancock, Senior Correspondent at Kaiser Health News, for the project “Health Care in Freddie Gray’s Neighborhood: Baltimore’s Other Divide.” Three finalists were also recognized for their outstanding work: Nancy Cambria of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Michael Cooper of the Springfield, Ohio News-Sun, and Liz Szabo for coverage in USA Today. The prize is awarded annually for superior media coverage on topics addressing the distinct challenges and opportunities for the health of people living in cities.

“I thank the Academy for the work you do and for the award, which puts a focus on a defining attribute of American health care that we need to work on to improve,” Hancock said. 

Cheryl Wills, Spectrum News NY1 Anchor, acted as Master of Ceremony. The Gala Chairs were George and Barbara Thibault, James and Kerianne Flynn, Michael and Lori Milken, and Mark and Ellen Wagar. The Gala Committee included John and Margo Catsimatidis, John Damonti, Barbara Green, Marc and Pam Grodman, Stanley and Debbie Lefkowitz, Ellen Rautenberg, Martin and Jean Shafiroff, Edward Shortliffe and Vimla Patel, and Cheryl Wills.

About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide. 

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world’s rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy, and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities. For more information, visit www.nyam.org

About Heritage Provider Network
Heritage Provider Network, Inc. (HPN) is on the cutting edge of the accountable care model of healthcare delivery: coordinated, patient-doctor centric, integrated health care systems that represent the future of health care in the United States. HPN and its affiliates operate in New York, California and Arizona providing high quality, cost effective healthcare to over one million individuals and are dedicated to quality, affordable health care, and putting patients' wellness first. (www.heritageprovidernetwork.com)

About Merck for Mothers
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.