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Gala honors heroes, raises nearly $900K for Grady Health Foundation

Tom D. Bell, from left, and Drs. Tamara R. Espinoza, Kenneth L. Wilson and Alfred W. Brann were honored at the White Coat Gala. Photo by Ninh Chau

Tom D. Bell, from left, and Drs. Tamara R. Espinoza, Kenneth L. Wilson and Alfred W. Brann were honored at the White Coat Gala. Photos by Ninh Chau

The second annual White Coat Grady Gala raised $866,000 for the Grady Health Foundation and honored four local healthcare heroes.

The event, held in the Oceans Ballroom of the Georgia Aquarium, was co-chaired by Kelly Loeffler and Jeff Sprecher along with June and Michael Tompkins. Channel 2 anchor John Bachman was the emcee.

Long-time Atlanta businessman and developer Tom Bell, a founding member of Grady Memorial Hospital’s corporate board, who is credited with raising $320 million and keeping Grady’s doors open, received the Ada Lee and Pete Correll Healthcare Legacy Award.

“Everybody knows this award out to go to Pete but we couldn’t figure out a way for him to give it to himself so here I am,” said Bell, the retired CEO of development firm Cousins Properties Inc. “We have made a lot of progress but we have so much left. I would dearly like to telll you we have it all figured out. We do not. Health care delivery and health care economics change every day and we don’t know where it is going to end up. That one thing we have that we can count on is you.”

Dr. Alfred W. Brann, who pioneered neonatal and perinatal care around the world, even while battling cancer, received the Senior Sage Award. He shared that his mother died while giving birth to him, and that he has been propelled to improve women’s health throughout his career.

“As care was being provided for smaller and smaller babies, I began asking the question, where are all these babies coming from?” said Brann, noting the importance of prenatal care.

The second annual White Coat Grady Gala was held March 17 in the Oceans Ballroom of the Georgia Aquarium.

The second annual White Coat Grady Gala was held March 17 in the Oceans Ballroom of the Georgia Aquarium.

Dr. Tamara R. Espinoza, an emergency medicine physician who is active in a traumatic brain injury research trial funded by the Department of Defense and and volunteers at Grady High School, received the Next Generation Healer Award.

“My favorite part of going to work every day is I get to serve the patients of Grady,” she said. “It truly is an honor to serve.”

She led the ballroom of 600 patrons in a toast to Grady’s patients.

Dr. Ken L. Wilson, an attending surgeon and Trauma Resuscitation Committee member at Grady, and an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine, received the Inspiring Mentor Award. An Army reservist, Wilson has been stationed in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, and started a program that provided shoes to Afghan civilians during his last stint abroad.

Wilson shared that his great grandmother spent her final days at the hospital where he now works, his grandmother had her three children there, and a cousin was treated there following a motorcycle accident.

“Grady is very important to me,” he said. “It’s about patient care.”

At times, he counsels residents when they must confront patients from different walks of life.

“Often what we see at Grady are people in gang life, who may not be very nice to you,” he said. “But there may be a praying grandmother in the waiting room.”

The Gala was presented by The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority in conjunction with Delta Air Lines, AdCare Health Systems, Alston + Bird, The Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, Kaiser Permanente, King & Spalding, Turner Broadcasting, Ada Lee and Pete Correll, AGL Resources, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The Marcus Foundation, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power, Norfolk Southern, ICE, Regions Bank, WSB, AT&T, Chamberlin Edmonds, Compass Group USA, Inc., EPIC Systems, James Starr Moore Foundation, June and Michael Tompkins, Kelly Loeffler and Jeff Sprecher, SKANSKA, Waffle House Foundation and Yancey Bros. Co.

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