MAHEC’s Emerging Leader Award recipient, Ana Cabello-De la Garza, MSW, MPH, and Spirit of MLK Award recipient, Cherie Jackson.

Spirit of MLK Celebration Honors Diversity Leaders at MAHEC

MAHEC Choir with Rev Tutu
Participants were inspired by the MAHEC Community Choir, organized by JoAnne Edgerton (front row, second from right), who is a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, along with Reverend Canon Nontombi Naomi Tutu (center).

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, more than 250 employees and community members gathered at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since 2001, MAHEC has hosted a Spirit of MLK awards celebration and luncheon to recognize faculty, staff, and learners who embody the qualities of an emerging leader, the spirit of MLK, and whose lifetime work demonstrates a commitment to advancing social justice for communities of color.

MAHEC’s Emerging Leader Award recipient, Ana Cabello-De la Garza, MSW, MPH, and Spirit of MLK Award recipient, Cherie Jackson.
MAHEC’s Emerging Leader Award recipient, Ana Cabello-De la Garza, MSW, MPH, and Spirit of MLK Award recipient, Cherie Jackson.

This year’s event featured keynote speaker Reverend Canon Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, who reminded us that Dr. King’s work is not limited to civil rights in the United States but is part of a larger human rights movement that strives for justice for people everywhere. This movement requires us to stand up for the humanity of others wherever we find ourselves, in the smallest of daily acts and in larger social justice efforts.

This year’s Emerging Leader Award was presented to Ana Cabello-De la Garza, MSW, MPH, for her health equity and reproductive justice work. Ana is the lead for MAHEC’s statewide medication-assisted treatment training project and is also the chair of the consumer working group of the National Preconception Health and Healthcare Initiative. The Spirit of MLK was awarded to Cherie Jackson, strategic business partner in MAHEC’s Department of Talent Management, for her tireless commitment to promoting social justice at MAHEC and in the community at large.

About the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC)

MAHEC, located at 121 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, is committed to improving health in Western North Carolina through innovative health professions training and education and compassionate healthcare.

MAHEC strives to be a creative and willing regional partner in the innovation of quality patient-centered care, systems of healthcare delivery, and educational excellence. Learn more at mahec.net.

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