The New York Academy of Medicine to Honor Darren Walker, Dr. Olajide Williams and Doug E. Fresh at ACCESS: Health Event

Special Event on June 7 at NYAM’s Historic Building Will Recognize Health Equity Leaders and Celebrate NYAM’s 175 Years of Public Health Leadership

New York, NY, May 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) will honor Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; Olajide Williams, MD, MS, founder of Hip Hop Public Health Inc.; and Doug E. Fresh, founding artist of Hip Hop Public Health Inc. at its 2022 ACCESS: Health event on Tuesday, June 7 at NYAM’s historic building in East Harlem. Event details and tickets are available at

“The New York Academy of Medicine has been a leading voice for innovation in public health since 1847. At this year’s ACCESS: Health event, we’re thrilled to be honoring Darren Walker, Dr. Olajide Williams and Doug E. Fresh—three outstanding individuals who share our vision and have worked to dismantle the barriers that stand in the way of attaining health justice,” said Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, NYAM President. 

“We will come together at ACCESS: Health to celebrate NYAM’s 175-year legacy of leadership on health, recognize the contributions of our distinguished honorees, and  renew our commitment to advancing health equity in bold new ways moving forward,” said Wayne Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, NYAM Board Chair and President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. 

NYAM will honor Darren Walker as the 2022 Health Equity Champion. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation has improved the lives of millions through its focus on advancing social justice and addressing the drivers of inequality, including through $16 million in rapid response grants to strengthen vaccine equity across the Global South in 2021. The foundation also became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19. The award will be presented by Richard E. Besser, MD, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

NYAM will also honor Dr. Olajide Williams and Doug E. Fresh with the Rising Leaders Award for their transformative use of hip hop music to inspire health behavior change among youth through Hip Hop Public Health. Dr. Williams, a global leader in racial health disparities, is a tenured Professor of Neurology, Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology, and Associate Dean of Community Research and Engagement at Columbia University. Fresh, a Harlem-born rapper, is a hip hop icon and a lifelong activist with a proven commitment to using his talents and resources to unite and inspire social justice. The award will be presented by past recipient Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner at Harlem Capital.

Honoree Doug E. Fresh will give a special performance at the event. Also performing are Bri Blvck, an Afro-futuristic hip hop violinist and vocalist from Charlotte, NC, and DJ Rumor, a resident DJ at Madison Square Garden for New York Knicks and Rangers games. 

The event will also celebrate NYAM’s 175th anniversary of leadership in improving public health in New York City and beyond. Founded in 1847 by a group of eminent New York City physicians, NYAM has dedicated itself to improving the health of the people of the city, the state and beyond, leading up to its current focus on health equity. 

ACCESS: Health is sponsored by NewYork-Presbyterian, with additional support from Bristol Myers Squibb; Empire BlueCross BlueShield; Hearst; Mia Jung, MBA; Mercer; Montefiore/Einstein; Mount Sinai; New York University College of Dentistry; Northwell Health; PepsiCo, Inc.; Judith Salerno & David Perry; SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University; and Paul & Kimberley Tanico.

About The New York Academy of Medicine 
The New York Academy of Medicine is a leading voice for innovation in public health. Throughout our 175-year history, we have uniquely championed bold changes to the systems that perpetuate health inequities and keep all communities from achieving good health. Today, this work includes innovative research, programs, and policy initiatives that distinctively value community input for maximum impact. Combined with our trusted public programming, historic library, and with the support of our esteemed Fellows and Members, NYAM’s legacy as a public health leader continues. For more information, visit and follow @nyamnyc on social media.  


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