The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio honored Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, with its 58th Annual Humanitarian Award at an event Dec. 5 in Cleveland.
The Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals and corporations of outstanding dedication and community service. Selected by the Diversity Center, each recipient has contributed to the improvement of human relations among diverse groups in Northeast Ohio.
“The Diversity Center is dedicated to building communities where all are connected, respected and valued. This vision is truly aligned with the healing mission of the Sisters of Charity Health System to serve all of God’s people,” said Sr. Judith Ann. “I am so very grateful and humbled to be honored with the Humanitarian Award.”
Sr. Judith Ann accepted the award on behalf of the Sisters of Charity Health System, which is the parent organization of five acute care Catholic hospitals, three grantmaking foundations, two assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, and six health and human service outreach organizations in Ohio and South Carolina. She also accepted the award on behalf the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the sponsoring congregation of the health system and its ministries. St. John Medical Center in Westlake is a 50/50 partnership between the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals (UH).
In her remarks, Sr. Judith Ann noted the sisters’ legacy of service to build a strong community and a just society, which began in 1851 when the first Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine came to Cleveland from France and became the city’s first public health nurses. Among many others, examples of the sisters’ efforts to welcome all people include the work of Sr. Ignatia Gavin, CSA with Dr. Bob and Bill W. to establish Alcoholics Anonymous; the sisters’ provision of a safe, respectful place for unmarried mothers at DePaul Maternity Home in a different time in society; and the efforts of Sr. Henrietta Gorris, CSA to create one of the first housing development corporations in the midst of the Hough riots in the 1960s.
“Diversity and inclusion is important to the Sisters of Charity Health System and the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine because of our core value of respect for the dignity of the human person, which we so firmly believe in,” said Sr. Miriam Erb, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.
Along with her leadership role at the health system, Sr. Judith Ann is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has served on the boards of hospitals and health care organizations since 1973. In 1971, she was inducted into the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society. Her numerous community involvements include serving as a board member of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Center for Health Affairs. Her past honors include the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor from the State of South Carolina; Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice from Pope Benedict the XVI; Caritas Award from the Diocese of Charleston, SC; Distinguished Service Award from the Ohio Hospital Association; and more.
“In addition to her many accomplishments, Sr. Judith Ann’s leadership and support for creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion efforts across all levels of the health system is inspiring to many,” said Roger Mann, board chair of the Sisters of Charity Health System and retired chairman of the Huntington National Bank’s Greater Akron/Canton Region.
Since 1949, Humanitarian Awards have been presented by the Diversity Center to 75 recipients, including Bob Hope, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Thomas Vail, Rev. Billy Graham, A.M. Luntz, Hon. Frances P. Bolton, Sam Miller, Congressman Louis Stokes, Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, John Lewis, Robert D. Gries, Carole F. Hoover, Alan D. Rosskamm, Morry Weiss, Henry L. Meyer III, Dolly and Steven Minter, William Summers Jr., Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, Christopher Connor and Robert W. Gillespie.
The Diversity Center of Northeast also honored Charles D. Fowler, CEO, and William Conway, founder and chairman Emeritus of Fairmount Minerals with the Humanitarian Award, and Jennifer Opphile of RTI International with the American Greetings 2012 LeadDIVERSITY Alumni Award.
The Diversity Center if Northeast Ohio’s mission is to eliminate bias, bigotry and racism.