Call her a “win” doctor.
More than a dozen local medical practitioners were honored for their contributions to the community by The Harlem Fine Arts Show at its “Salute to African Americans in Medicine,” held at the Historic Riverside Church on Feb. 17.
One of the honorees was Dr. Wendy Wilcox, chairwoman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kings County Hospital and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology for SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who said she was “thrilled” to receive the award for her more than 20 years of service as an OB / GYN in the Central Brooklyn community.
Fellow honorees included Dr. Michael Parks, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery; Dr. Gary C. Butts, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Mount Sinai Health System — both on the distant island of Manhattan — and Dr. Lynne Holden, an emergency medicine physician at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
“I felt a great sense of pride and gratefulness to think they would recognize me,” said Wilcox. “It was nice to be (among) the most talented of doctors.”
She is also working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to combat the rising rate of maternal mortality in the city, a crisis, she said, that overwhelmingly afflicts black women.
“Being an African-American woman and realizing it is my peers or women younger than I am who are being affected, gives me a personal interest and a reason for this work,” said Wilcox. “I’ve been fortunate to work in areas such as the Bronx and Brooklyn where the rates are higher for black women, and I know I can be part of the change and I’m going to make it safer for patients and women in the community.”
Wilcox said she relishes the opportunities she gets to meet with and encourage young medical students of color.
“I actually get very excited to talk to residents and students, of course remembering back when I was in their shoes,” she said. “It means a lot to have someone already in a position you are aspiring to. I try to be positive and (tell them) if I can do it, anyone can do it, they just have to work hard and persevere.”