With nearly 150 guests in attendance, Research Medical Center held its third annual Community Leader Dinner on Thursday, October 14. Two words to describe the evening are heartfelt and inspiring.
The evening was hosted by the Pastoral Care department at Research Medical Center. Rev. Dr. James M. Harper, III, shares these thoughts, “It is caring that cultivates a sense of community. Community service calls for gaining an understanding about each other and deepening human compassion, mutual trust and respect. To become community we each must step outside our comfort zone and take initiative. We choose to serve as an investment in the future and wellbeing of those around us. This is primarily an act of responsibility, not merely an act of generosity.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” In community we come together to become together who we were all more truly intended to be.”
The Dinner is an annual multi-faith gathering. The Invocation and Blessing for the dinner was offered by Rabbi Jonathan Rudnick, chaplain of the Greater Kansas City Jewish Community. St. Monica’s Catholic Church Choir performed a variety of songs with the crowd joining in and on their feet for a portion of the performance.
Distinguished Service Awards were presented by Kevin J. Hicks, chief executive officer and Linda Clarkson, chairman of the board for Research Medical Center. The awards honored three categories – Nursing, Medicine and Community.
Teresita (Tess) C. Laoruangroch, RN, NP, received the nursing award for her work and dedication to the Heart Failure Program at Research Medical Center. She dedicated the award to her patients. Tess also shared a personal story about her journey from a young age with her family to her arrival in Kansas City and now her current position at Research Medical Center.
“When you give to people, you get back so much more,” said Tess. “Giving patients hope, healing and care truly has given me more blessings and compassion than I could have imagined.”
Gregory C. Starks, MD, FACOG, director of obstetrics and gynecology education at Research Medical Center and clinical professor of OB/GYN at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was honored with the award for medicine. In his absence the award was accepted by Sharon Harris-Baugh, MD, who congratulated him and called him a true brother to her as a member of the Research Medical Center family.
Stacey Daniels-Young, PhD, director of Jackson County Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax (COMBAT), received the award for her active involvement in the community and the many years she has served in various organizations within Kansas City. First enacted in 1989, the anti-drug tax is utilized to “COMBAT” drug use and drug-related crime in Jackson County. The COMBAT program distributes funds generated by this tax to agencies that provide both drug prevention and treatment services. But COMBAT also bolsters law enforcement efforts through funding for the multi-jurisdictional Jackson County Drug Task Force, the County’s highly successful Drug Court. Upon assuming her duties as COMBAT director, Daniels-Young stated she had two immediate goals: raising public awareness about COMBAT’s mission, goals and achievements, and developing a strategic plan “to which COMBAT can be held accountable.” Daniels-Young, who earned a PhD in community psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, had served as chief executive officer of the Black Health Care Coalition of Kansas City since 2005. She spent 14 years working at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, including as director of research and evaluation and finally as director of development. From 1995 through 2003, she served on the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, with two terms as president of the Board.
After the presentations, Hicks invited the community members to share thoughts and comments. Several offered information about upcoming events, while another stressed the importance of getting out and voting in the November elections. Edward Higgins, MD, vascular surgeon at Research Medical Center, shared information about the Harmon Diabetes Center located on the Research campus as a valuable and convenient source of education and support for those with diabetes in the community.