Rush University Medical Center Physician Honored By The Black AIDS Institute

February 4, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Dr. Kimberly Y. Smith, associate professor of medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center, will be honored as a “Hero” at The Black Aids Institute’s 8th Annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards Presentation on February 4 for her HIV/AIDS research.

The Black AIDS Institute (The Institute), a leading organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in Black communities, is hosting the gala reception and awards presentation at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA, in commemoration of National Black AIDS Awareness Day. In line with this year’s theme, Black Men Honoring Black Women in the Struggle, each of this year’s honorees are pioneering women who have demonstrated incredible commitments to ending the AIDS pandemic in Black communities.

Smith’s major areas of interest include immune based therapies for HIV disease and issues related to African-Americans and HIV disease. Smith is an active investigator and chair of several studies in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG).

In addition to Smith, the other honorees are Actor/activist Hill Harper will lead the celebration to honor the following Heroes: Sandra J. Evers-Manly (President of the Northrop Grumman Foundation), Cookie Johnson (Philanthropist), Gloria Ruben (Award-Winning Actress, ER, Raising the Bar), and Bev Smith (Radio Host of The Bev Smith Show).

During the awards ceremony, guests will be treated to presentations from special guests including: Danny Glover, Actor Brian J. White, MTV Host Quddus, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, SCLC President Eric Lee, Actress Jurnee Smollet, and Actress Vanessa Williams.

The annual event unveils the year’s inductees into the Heroes in the Struggle traveling photo exhibit, and raises desperately needed funds to fight HIV/AIDS in Black communities.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the AIDS epidemic in America is at least 40% worse than previously believed. HIV prevalence among middle-aged Black men in Manhattan is almost as high as overall prevalence in South Africa, home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV. Black women account for two-thirds of all infections among women, and AIDS remains a leading cause of death for young Black women.

“The solutions to ending this plague will be found within our own communities,” says Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “To discover them, we must arm everyone with information, and empower them with the will to use it. Heroes in the Struggle is an attempt to take us one more step in that direction.”

For more information about Heroes in the Struggle, log onto

About Rush University Medical Center

Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children’s Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush University, with more than 1,270 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nation’s top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.

About the Black AIDS Institute

Founded in 1999, the Black AIDS Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. The Institute’s mission is to end the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing traditional Black leaders, institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV/AIDS. The Institute offers training and capacity building, interprets public and private sector HIV policies, disseminates information and provides mobilization and advocacy from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.



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