March 18, 2019
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Neil Calman, MD Receives $25,000 Kanter Prize for Addressing Disparities in Healthcare


New YorkNY  - Neil Calman, MD, president and CEO of New York’s Institute for Family Health, was awarded $25,000 for the prestigious Kanter Prize from the Health Legacy Partnership (HELP.) Dr. Calman was selected for his dedication to improving the quality of primary care services to medically underserved communities and his commitment to the elimination of racial disparities in health care delivery and health outcome.


Winners were chosen from over 50 candidates by HELP, a national public/private partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).   The awards are issued to promote the work of physicians who have developed systems to alleviate and eliminate disparities in health care delivery.  Key consideration is given to innovative programs that can be broadly implemented in other communities. The annual prize is named for Joseph H. Kanter, a pioneering advocate for electronic medical records. 


“Dr. Calman was nominated by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) for his tireless efforts to eliminate racial disparities.” said MSSNY Executive Vice President Rick Abrams.  Of particular relevance to the Kanter Prize committee is Bronx Health REACH, a coalition of community and faith-based organizations led by Calman’s Institute that educates community members about health care disparities and advocates for policy change to address them.


In his letter of recommendation for the award, Thomas E. Perez, former director of the US Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, wrote, “I know few individuals who have so generously and effectively used their personal position and expertise for the good of the community at large. Dr. Calman has been a bridge, connecting the day to day lives of his patients with the larger social issues that contribute to disparities in health outcomes for people of color.”


Calman hopes that this recognition will push New York State officials to address the ongoing segregation of care that exists in many NYC teaching hospitals. Last year his group filed a Civil Rights Complaint with the NYS Office of the Attorney General. “The complaint,” says Calman, “documents pervasive segregation of care, based on insurance status… Since blacks and Latinos are two to three times more likely to be uninsured or publicly insured than whites, there is a close link between race, ethnicity and insurance status, resulting in the systematic channeling of patients into different systems of care that are not of equal quality." Bronx Health REACH’s work on this issue has been published in both health care and legal journals, and was recently highlighted bySanjay GuptaMD on CNN.


Dr. James O’Connell, President of Boston’s Health Care for the Homeless, was awarded the main prize of $100,000. The other runners-up were Jeffrey Henderson, MD, President and CEO of Black Hills Center for American Indian Health in Rapid City, South Dakota; Sister Anne Brooks, DO, Founder and Director of the Tutwiler Medical Clinic in Tutwiler, Mississippi; and Herbert Smitherman Jr., MD, President and CEO of the Health Centers Detroit Foundation, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan.


For additional information about Dr. Calman or the Institute for Family Health, contact Maxine Golub at 212-633-0800 ext 1286 or; The Medical Society of the State of New York, contact Lynda Lees Adams at 516-750-7344 or; The Kanter Prize, contact Susan Paley at 703-915-6574,

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