Physician honored for work with minorities

June 28, 2001

DALLAS - The American Heart Association presented its Louis B. Russell Jr. Memorial Award to Richard Allen Williams, M.D., Encino, Calif., for his work with underserved populations. The award was presented during the organization's annual Delegate Assembly in June.

The Russell Award is conferred annually upon an individual who has rendered outstanding service to minority and underserved populations. It honors the memory of Louis B. Russell Jr., who underwent a heart transplant in 1968 and then became an American Heart Association volunteer, actively spreading the message about heart disease prevention in the minority community. He died in 1974.

Williams, a clinical professor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine, was cited for his "tireless efforts in working to implement better medical policy for African-American and Hispanic communities in Watts and the Greater Los Angeles area."

Williams is a board member of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, Calif. and meets regularly with minority community leaders. In 1971, he wrote a grant proposal that garnered $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish the King-Drew Sickle Cell Center, later serving as its executive director for four years. He raised $2.2 million for the Drew University of Medicine and Science in 1996 and also wrote a grant proposal resulting in $750,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a community outreach program. He established five annual scholarships for minority medical students, and raised more than $4 million for Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) programs.

As an American Heart Association volunteer, Williams has worked with the Greater Los Angeles Affiliate for 25 years, and served as a member of the board of directors for the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Division for 5 years.

Through his work with ABC, Dr. Williams has recruited more than 500 volunteers for the American Heart Association over the past 25 years. The American Heart Association spent about $337 million during fiscal year 1999-2000 on research support, public and professional education, and community programs. Nationwide, the organization has grown to include more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters who carry out its mission in communities across the country. The association is the largest nonprofit voluntary health organization fighting heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which kill about 950,000 Americans every year.

American Heart Association

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