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Dr. Satcher Honors Employees at MLK Program

Martin Luther King 2011
NASA Astronaut Robert Satcher, MD, Keynote at Northwestern's Annual MLK Program

The spirit of volunteerism is a strong part of Northwestern’s culture. On Friday, January 14, Northwestern Medicine welcomed Dr. Robert Satcher, the nation’s first African American orthopaedic surgeon to go on a mission into outer space as an acclaimed NASA astronaut, as the keynote speaker for the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards program, hosted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Satcher had most recently served as an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine prior to being selected by NASA in 2004. He completed his first NASA flight in November 2009, and he has logged over 259 hours in space.

For the past 32 years, Northwestern has recognized the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through a program designed to carry out Dr. King’s message of empowerment and social justice for people of all races and socio-economic status. This ceremony also provides an opportunity to recognize Northwestern employees and clinical staff for their extraordinary efforts to make a difference through community service. Therefore, the program includes extending “Humanitarian Awards” to employees who give back. Since the start of the program, awards have been presented to 58 Northwestern employees and 14 physicians. Past keynote speakers have included civic, business, and community leaders alike.

Just as Dr. King recognized the impact that the individual can have, Northwestern is honored and humbled by the efforts of members of our staff as they’ve reached out to their neighbors and communities in service. Friday’s program honored four individuals who exemplify Dr. King’s values and commitment to the betterment of the human condition. The honorees provided tireless hours of service to their community in ways ranging from providing volunteer healthcare counsel and services to building homes for families in need. And we are proud to have employees and physicians on staff with such a commitment to serving others in their community. 

Northwestern’s 2011 Humanitarian Award Winners are as Follows:

Jim Fitch is a manager in imaging informatics and has worked for Northwestern Memorial for five years. For the past 30 years, he and his family have devoted their time to community service through their local church and civic groups like the Boy Scouts of America. Through his church, he volunteers at the Marillac Social Center, a not-for-profit organization that extends education, mentoring and family support, and companionship assistance to the elderly in economically challenged communities on Chicago’s West side. Jim has volunteered at Marillac House since 1981. He and his family are also long-time volunteers of the Appalachian Service Project. For the past seven years, they’ve traveled to needy pockets within the Appalachian Mountain region where they partner with local citizens to build and repair homes, bringing much needed supplies to communities.

Kofi Osei Djine, a technician within operating room inventory management, has worked for Northwestern Memorial since 1999. For the past 20 years, Djine has given up almost every weekend to donate time and resources to over 25 charitable organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Respiratory Health Association of metro Chicago, just to cite a few. His participation ranges from fundraising events to awareness campaigns.

David Montgomery, MD is a Northwestern cardiology resident. About a year ago, Montgomery started an independent advocacy project for persons with chronic disease. Using social media like Facebook and others, he has reached thousands via the Internet with education about attaining healthier lifestyles in spite of their illnesses. He is also a member of Youth Guidance where he mentors at-risk youth.

Susana Castro is a registered nurse with 21 years of service at Northwestern Memorial where she is currently a hospital operations administrator. Castro volunteers her time with Community Health Partnership (CHP) of Illinois, a not-for-profit organization that provides primary healthcare for over 7,000 Latino migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. CHP is comprised of 5 clinics in northern and central Illinois. Susana has been a member of the CHP Board of Directors for 14 years, and for the past two years she has served as the Board President. During her tenure, she has seen it grow from a voucher-only program to a direct care delivery model in which the migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families receive primary healthcare services on site.

Last UpdateAugust 1, 2011