From teaching the importance of clean drinking water in Guatemala to delivering food, clothing, and necessities to homeless people in Atlanta, Kaiser Permanente employees and doctors inspire others to improve community health by taking action around the globe and in their own communities. Fourteen recipients are being honored with the 2019 David Lawrence Community Service Award.
Since 2003, the David Lawrence Community Service Award has recognized individuals and groups throughout Kaiser Permanente that demonstrate extraordinary efforts to improve the health of Kaiser Permanente’s communities. This award is named in honor of David M. Lawrence, MD, a former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and lifelong advocate for improving health. Kaiser Permanente will make a $ 10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner to the nonprofit of his or her choice.
“In a time when communities around the world are facing the challenges of a global pandemic; climate change, and deep social, economic, and health inequities, it is heartening to see this level of dedication and endurance in action,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Permanente. “I am grateful to this year’s award winners, and so proud of the work they’ve done and continue to do.”
Meet the winners of the 2019 David Lawrence Community Services Award:
Laurel Pramuk, MD (Pediatrician)
Nine years ago, Dr. Pramuk started the Guatemala Interfaith Medical Service Project. Through partnering universities, she trains premedical and nursing students and then travels with the entire group to Guatemala, where they operate their primary care clinic. The team treats patients, assists local community health care workers, and educates community members on topics such as the importance of clean drinking water. To date, the program has treated over 2,000 Guatemalans.
Earlina Webb-Banks (IT Consultant)
Since 2014, Webb-Banks has hosted an annual food and blanket drive through her organization, Women Who Network, to assist the growing homeless population in Atlanta. Her community service efforts initially supported women and young girls but have expanded to include families. In 2019, she helped 200 people by providing food, blankets, toiletry kits, and clothing.
Southwood Administration Team
The Southwood Administration Team works to inspire and educate the community about access to quality care, community health benefits, professional development, lifestyle essentials, and safety and social support. They have hosted job fairs, health drives, and health screenings; provided bike racks; and promoted arts education. Their efforts have positively affected thousands of people within the Southeast metro Atlanta area.
Lisa Grininger, MD (General Surgeon)
Dr. Grininger has volunteered with the Aloha Medical Mission for 26 years, first intrigued by the concept of doctors, nurses, and other volunteers from across the state of Hawaii all working together. Working with the mission, she has learned how to apply her resourcefulness to deliver care in undeveloped places around the world. She contributes countless hours per year with mission planning and volunteer service, including serving in Honduras and the Philippines.
Nathan Horie (Multilith Technician)
For 18 years, Horie has volunteered with Special Olympics with his daughter, Zoe Ann, who has autism. He is motivated to help dispel myths and stigma via awareness about the intellectually disabled population. He encourages his athletes to participate, socialize, and strive to be the best they can be. Horie is head of delegation for 38 athletes and coordinates events for Special Olympics.
Mid-Atlantic States Region
Lori Greathouse (Receptionist, Member Experience)
Greathouse has spent 11 years volunteering with the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department in Maryland. She visits local schools and day care centers to educate children about fire prevention and safety. She also teaches this program to home-schooled children at the fire house. In the evenings, she often works at the firehouse to help prepare for the following day’s activities. Greathouse uses her vacation time to volunteer.
Northern California Region
Michael Luszczak, DO (Emergency Physician)
Dr. Luszczak is a founding board member and vice president of Placer Veterans Stand Down, a nonprofit organization that serves veterans and their families, and a board member and medical lead with California CareForce, a group of medical professionals, community leaders, and engaged citizens who provide medical, dental, and vision care to those in need. In 2019, Stand Down events served over 500 veterans and family members from Placer County and surrounding areas. Dr. Luszczak has volunteered hundreds of hours over the past 7 years with both organizations.
Joan Seacrist (Certified Nurse Midwife)
Seacrist lived in Sierra Leone, West Africa, for several years as a child and returned years later as a medical mission group volunteer when she finished nursing school. She wrote a proposal to create a birthing center to provide a safe place for women to give birth and prevent birth injuries. The center delivers more than 200 babies a month. Now, Seacrist is working with 3 midwifery schools in Sierra Leone to focus on reducing maternal mortality.
Jenny Jin, NP (Cardiology Nurse)
Understanding the need to concentrate on preventive medicine instead of addressing issues after they occur, in 2016 Jin organized Impact Your Health Portland Free Clinics, which offer free dental care, general medical care, and health education services to uninsured and underinsured people in the Portland metro area. Each year, the clinics serve 700 to 900 people.
Erin Waters (Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Consultant, Human Resources)
Waters serves on the board of the Q Center and worked with 11 other organizations as a volunteer, leading coalitions and identifying and implementing projects and solutions to improve access to health care for transgender community members. Her work with the Q Center to provide safe spaces, build community, and empower the positive transformation of LGBTQ+ communities and allies has improved thousands of lives. Waters’ work has led to the creation of a Queer Center in Washington County, Oregon, which will use the Q Center as a model for its work.
Southern California Region
Alexis Goudeau, RN (Gastroenterology Nurse)
As her personal response to the growing number of homeless individuals in her community, Goudeau created a nonprofit organization, Highly Favored: A Blessing to Others, to formalize her volunteer efforts. Beneficiaries of the group’s work include homeless children, women, and men; homeless veterans; domestic violence survivors; and shelters in Los Angeles County. Last year, more than 1,000 homeless individuals benefited from the donations and efforts of the volunteers and partnering organizations.
Terri Shibuya, MD (Oncology, Head and Neck Surgeon)
With a long history of participating in national and international charitable medical service and missions, Dr. Shibuya began his work with Angels of Charity and Music 8 years ago. The organization focuses on an isolated part of the Peruvian Andes. The 50-plus-person volunteer medical team makes an annual mission trip to Puno, Peru, where over 500 area residents visit to be evaluated for care. During the clinic, the team performs 100 to 120 surgeries for conditions including cleft palate and microtia, and provides ob-gyn, hand, eye, and dentistry services.
Susanna Block, MD (Pediatric Hospitalist/Urgent Care)
Dr. Block works to advance the rights and community health of immigrant and refugee populations. She is an advocate against family separation, the detainment of unaccompanied minors, and unlawful deportations. She organizes clothing drives and fundraisers, hosts medical asylum screening trainings, and creates curriculum to advance the cultural understanding of providers and residents about the special health and social stresses experienced by patients in these populations. She empowers her community and co-workers with the skills and knowledge to take a holistic approach when providing medical and humanitarian aid to immigrant and refugee populations.
Neil Smith (Administrative Specialist, Nursing Professional Practice and Development)
Smith is a longstanding leader, both locally and nationally, as part of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors. He fundraises and recruits members and leaders to help carry out the important work of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, which supports millions of LGBTQ+ community members. Locally, Smith helps organize multiple events each year, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Pride celebrations.