Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH, Executive Vice President, Ascension, and President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Healthcare, was honored Friday at The Black Women's Agenda (BWA) 40th Annual Symposium Workshop & Awards Luncheon, which took place during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 47th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
Pat, recipient of BWA's Health Award, was honored alongside Cadet Simone Askew, the first African-American woman to lead the 4,400 Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point; Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, New York State Conference President for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris, D-California; Briana Richardson, a freshman at Spelman College in Atlanta; and April Ryan, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Network and a political analyst for CNN.
"I am extremely moved by your faith in me, and want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Black Women's Agenda. It is a great honor to be among the individuals recognized this afternoon," Pat said at the luncheon. "Strong women lift one another up. You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up instead of tearing one another down."
"It has been my life's work to ensure that healthcare is seen as a universal and fundamental right for all," she said. "One of my greatest wishes is to achieve a just and inclusive policy of healthcare that leaves no one behind – in our country, and, do we dare dream it – in our world."
In recognition of The Black Women's Agenda, Ascension will provide a $50,000 donation to support its new "Because We Care" initiative to help families begin the often difficult conversation about providing and receiving care near the end of life.
For 40 years, BWA has worked to advance the rights of African-American women and their families. Along with recognizing Pat and her peers, the luncheon also celebrated that milestone before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,200 elected officials, journalists, corporate and community leaders, members of its National Collaborating Organizations, and other CBCF Conference attendees.