Recipient Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom devotes life to improving health for underserved communities
Stakeholder Health, a national organization dedicated to advancing just, equitable and effective health care, on Friday, June 17, presented its first Dr. Ruth J. Temple Award to Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., M.S., a Detroit physician and executive who has devoted her life to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to live their best life through optimal health.
“Dr. Wisdom relentlessly generates life for communities in Detroit and throughout the nation, constantly creating new pathways to health for people who traditionally were overlooked by mainstream health care,” said Gary Gunderson, Stakeholder Health secretary and vice president of FaithHealth at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, N.C. “She embodies the spirit of Dr. Ruth J. Temple, the first female African American graduate of Loma Linda University who established the first clinic in southeast Los Angeles in 1918 and dedicated herself to her community, initiating health education programs and serving as the first public health chief for Los Angeles County.”
Wisdom, who’s the senior vice president of Community Health & Equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health, helped found and lead Stakeholder Health in 2011 to improve lives in underserved communities. While serving as a key supporter and leader of Stakeholder Health, Wisdom has also helped launch and lead impactful initiatives at Henry Ford Health aimed at achieving health equity. One of those programs is the WIN (Women-Inspired Network). WIN launched in 2012 with the goal of reducing infant mortality by educating and supporting mothers through their pregnancies and their babies’ first year of life. Since the network’s inception, more than 500 WIN moms have delivered healthy babies that survived the first year of life, and Detroit’s infant mortality rate has decreased by about 35%. The gap between Black and white infant mortality rates has also tightened.
The doctor brings a unique perspective to healthcare, as Wisdom was the nation’s first state-level surgeon general and served on President Obama’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.
Wisdom received the Dr. Ruth J. Temple Award at the 2022 Stakeholder Health Conference, which brought together leaders from health systems and other vested institutions to advance health equity on June 16-17.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized with such a prestigious award in the name of Dr. Ruth Temple, a trailblazer who devoted herself to providing free and affordable healthcare over several decades in the last century,” Wisdom said. “With the belief still strong today that healthcare should be accessible and equitable for all members of society, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a dedicated, actionable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): the steps to ultimately achieving social justice.”
During the past three years, Wisdom has been named among Modern Healthcare’s top innovators, most influential people in healthcare and most influential clinical executives, in addition to numerous other honors throughout her bold and distinguished career. Under her leadership, Henry Ford Health ranks regularly among DiversityInc.’s top hospitals and health systems in the nation and was named Equity of Care Award Honoree by the American Hospital Association in 2020 and 2021.
“My vision is that we cultivate committed, impactful leaders who will foster a culture of DEIJ that achieves not only equity but justice for all,” Wisdom said.