The National AHEC Organization (NAO) has named UMass Medical School’s Warren Ferguson, MD, the recipient of its 2014 Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice. Dr. Ferguson, vice chair and professor of family medicine & community health and medical director of the Mass Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) Network, will accept the award on July 10 at the annual NAO Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice is given to an individual, a specific project or an organization in the AHEC network that exemplifies Dr. Nichols’ vision and persistent service in pursuit of social justice. Ferguson was nominated for the honor by Linda Cragin, director of the MassAHEC Network at UMass Medical School. Since 2004, Ferguson has served as the medical director and chairs the advisory board of the MassAHEC Network and serves on the Central MA AHEC’s board of directors. MassAHEC is at the Center for Health Policy and Research, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division.
Cragin wrote that Ferguson “embodies AHEC’s mission as a physician, teacher, leader and mentor. He is committed to advancing primary care and passionate about serving the most vulnerable populations.”
Ferguson is the former medical director of two federally funded community health centers and currently practices at a third. A leader in cultural competency training at UMMS, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity in 2010, and in 2006 he received the Educational Achievement award for developing innovative curriculum on multiculturalism. Committed to enhancing the skills and increasing the diversity of the health care workforce and facilitating access to culturally and linguistically responsive services, Ferguson maintains an active teaching role with MassAHEC.
“It is such an honor to receive an award named after a leader in the right to health care, especially for those most vulnerable,” said Ferguson. “I try to direct my professional energy toward improving health equity, whether that be as a community health center physician, teaching cultural competence or studying and writing about innovations to improve the health of individuals who prefer care in a language other than English or those involved with the criminal justice system.
“I feel so lucky in life to be recognized for the work that I love to do.”