4 inspirational HCPs of 2021–2022

By Jules Murtha | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published June 3, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Dr. Karen A. Scott founded Birthing Cultural Rigor, a firm designed to help Black women and Black pregnant people reclaim a safe, high-quality birth experience.

  • Tina Shah, MD, received an Excellence in Medicine award from the AMA for her work on improving provider and patient well-being, in addition to overseeing the largest study to date on resident wellness and suicide.

  • The work of nurses like Samantha Funk and Tarik Kahn reminds HCPs of the simple importance of listening to patients to provide them with the best possible care.

Each year, the American Medical Association Foundation recognizes physicians who champion community engagement, volunteerism, and dedication to providing for medically underserved communities through the Excellence in Medicine Awards.

But there are countless doctors—as well as other HCPs—whose work is worthy of recognition and celebration.

For this reason, we outlined four outstanding HCPs over 2021-2022.

Tina Shah, MD, MPH

A former recipient of the AMA Excellence in Medicine award, Tina Shah has proven her dedication to patients and other providers in the research she’s supervised, according to the AMA.[] A past chair of the AMA Resident & Fellow section, she oversaw the largest-ever study on resident wellness and suicide.

Shah further explores her goal to optimize health system operations through strategies designed to bolster well-being as CEO of TNT Health Enterprises LLC.

Upon receiving the award, Shah shouted-out her peers.

"My fellow honorees are truly exemplary, having shown a selfless desire to touch the lives of those most in need within their communities and a long-term commitment to increasing access to quality health care for underserved populations."

Tina Shah, MD, MPH

Be on the lookout for her future work—you may someday implement it in your practice!

Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG

The next shout-out-worthy physician is Karen A. Scott, who’s making waves in healthcare outside of her practice.

Scott is the founding CEO and owner of Birthing Cultural Rigor, an LLC designed to assist Black women and people on their birthing journeys.[] Her goal is to improve the safety and quality of care Black individuals receive throughout their pregnancies and delivery with a Black feminist-reproductive justice praxis.

While she’s not treating patients, Scott educates and assists Black individuals seeking doctors with thorough understanding of how obstetric racism in traditional healthcare spaces can harm Black bodies.

Scott also serves on the Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the External Advisory Board for the NIH Network of the National Library of Medicine National Center for Data Services, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Using MMRIA to Document Discrimination and Racism (UMDDR) Working Group, and the Advisory Council for the Women’s Business Collaborative.

Samantha Funk, BSN, RN

Sometimes, you just have to listen to your patients to know the best course of action. That’s why we think Samantha Funk, BSN, RN is worthy of mention.[]

Funk had an elderly patient who refused to eat. His doctors ordered him a feeding tube as a result. But when Funk took care of him, he repeatedly told her that he’d lost his teeth.

“I don’t know if other people didn’t take him seriously?” she told njmonthly.com.

Knowing the patient had just been transferred from the hospital’s rehab facility, she contacted the rehab, which had the patient’s dentures. Once they were returned, he started eating normally—saving him the trouble of undergoing a procedure to install the feeding tube.

Funk’s lesson to other HCPs: Don’t underestimate the power of the little things.

Tarik Khan, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, PhD candidate

Last (but not least) is Tarik Khan, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.[]

Khan has made a difference in his community by tending to the populations that lack access to healthcare.

He believes that two central pillars of nursing are advocacy and education.

He’s able to accomplish both with his recently launched home-visit program dedicated to supplying COVID vaccines to low-income or home-bound patients.

On top of his efforts to increase access to COVID immunization in Philadelphia, Khan raises awareness about vaccine science via local media. In the past year or two, he also reached out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about updating local regulations to support people of color who need access to vaccines.

Khan succeeded, and his community receives better medical care because of his efforts.

What this means for you

As an HCP, you can facilitate research and care that advances the well-being of patients as well as your profession. Shah’s work exemplifies how such efforts strengthen health systems. Physicians who’ve encountered racism in medicine, like Scott, have created spaces for Black individuals to safely explore birthing options with guidance from other physicians of color. The hard work and dedication of nurses such as Frank and Khan pave the way for better health outcomes across the board.

Related: 10 doctors who changed the world
Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter