The Association of Black Cardiologists Honors Distinguished Health Advocates at 7th Annual “Spirit of The Heart” Awards Gala

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Queen Latifah and notable honorees recognized for advancing the field of cardiology and health equity

Entertainer, Queen Latifah Accepts ABC Distinguished Health Advocate Award

You may wonder how a multi-award winning entertainer such as Queen Latifah has the time to lend her voice to educate and inspire others about ways to prevent heart disease. She really doesn’t have the time, but she makes the time.

The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) hosted its seventh annual “Spirit of the Heart” Awards Gala, Saturday, October 1st at New York’s Cipriani - 42nd Street.

The fundraising gala boasted 400 notable attendees industry leaders, patient advocates, celebs and allied healthcare professionals including entertainer Queen Latifah who received the Distinguished Health Advocate Award for her active promotion of preventative care and advancement of reduction in cardiovascular disease disparities. The award was presented to her by Robert Gillespie, MD, ABC Immediate Past Board Chairman who Latifah noted for his support in her mother’s positive management of heart failure.

He stated, “You may wonder how a multi-award winning entertainer such as Queen Latifah has the time to lend her voice to educate and inspire others about ways to prevent heart disease. She really doesn’t have the time, but she makes the time. Her voice will continue to resonate in our communities and it will help overcome a problem that disproportionately impacts African- Americans especially.”

The evening honored seven additional distinguished individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of health equity and/or the elimination of cardiovascular disease disparities in the delivery of healthcare. Celebrity Screen Actor and Health Advocate Lamman Rucker served as Master of Ceremonies and presented awards to recipients: Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD (The Mt. Sinai Medical Hospital) - Dr. Walter M. Booker, Sr. Health Promotion Award; Michael J. Dowling (Northwell Health) - ABC Spirit of the Heart Award; Luther T. Clark, MD (Merck and Co.) - ABC Distinguished Leadership Award; Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC accepted by Ed Schutter - ABC Health Equity Award; Yele Aluko, MD, MBA- (Novant Health Heart and Vascular Institute) - ABC Mentorship Award; Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University accepted by Vincent J.B. Robinson, MD - ABC Diversity in Cardiology Award; Felipe C. Robinson, MD - Founding Member of The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC Visionary Award) posthumously accepted by his daughter, Erron Al-Amin.

The event’s proceeds will benefit ABC’s ongoing clinical research, “Spirit of the Heart” community outreach and advocacy for heart disease prevention. The funding will also support the education of underrepresented minorities in the field of cardiology through ABC’s fellowship awards.

ABC announced its new initiatives leading into 2017 that focus on education, research and advocacy including a new partnership with Google, Medscape,, The Alliance for Aging Research’s Celebrating a Year Without Stroke campaign, and the American Heart Association’s Rise Above Heart Failure campaign.

ABC will also produce its signature live community-based event, Spirit of the Heart, taking place in six U.S. cities this year, featuring leadership forums, health screenings and “Messages from the Pulpit”. To date the community programs have screened more than 5,200 at-risk adults for hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.

ABC will also host Congressional Briefings in 2017 and convene the first annual ABC Advocacy Summit to strategize solutions that reduce inequity. ABC continues to engage with many federal agencies including the FDA, CDC, and NIH, as well as cultivating more supporters in Congress and the White House.

A continued primary focus for ABC is attracting and training minority cardiovascular and health professionals. Five fellowships will be awarded this year along with the Annual Cardiologists-In-Training Symposium and Fellows Conference.

The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), founded in 1974, has taken a leadership role in promoting the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease including stroke in African Americans and other minorities. It’s mission is to achieve health equity through the elimination of disparities in all people of color. ABC represents a diverse international membership of 1,500 health professionals, community lay members, corporate and institutional members dedicated to this cause.

For more information on the Association of Black Cardiologists, visit For press inquiries, contact Living Hope Co. info(at) - 646-504-1191.

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