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Dr. Ala Stanford has helped to provide more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinations to Philadelphia’s underserved communities.

Dr. Ala Stanford, a pediatric surgeon at Jefferson Abington Hospital in Montgomery County and founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, has been named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year.

Stanford was previously honored as one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2021. She represents Pennsylvania for the USA Today honor, which was also bestowed upon former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and current US assistant health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine (representing Washington, DC).

Stanford, a North Philadelphia native, founded the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to serve Philadelphia neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. Armed with PPE from her office, Stanford acquired testing kits, rented a van, and offered free testing to Philadelphia neighborhoods where positivity rates were the highest.

As vaccines became available, Stanford pivoted and began to provide vaccinations on street corners, at community centers, places of worship, and even in homes throughout the city. 

In total, Stanford has helped to provide more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, an overwhelming majority of them to people of color.

Last fall, Stanford opened the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equality in North Philadelphia, providing underserved neighborhoods with routine examinations, vaccinations, x-rays, mammographies, behavioral health services, pediatric care, and more.   

“Everything you want to do in your life, you have the skills to do it,” Stanford told the Bucks County Courier Times (via USA Today). “People are going to tell you that you can’t because their mind and their vision is small. But you need to keep your aspirations high – so high that you can’t see the end.”