April 08, 2014

Physician from Sierra Leone Receives Philadelphia’s Grace Humanitarian Award

(PHILADELPHIA) –An African physician, one of only five serving 450,000 people in Sierra Leone, has been chosen by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine for its 2013 Grace Humanitarian Award. 

Dr. Barrie will discuss his work in Sierra Leone and his recent trip to the United States at a ceremony at the Bluemle Life Sciences Building on November 7, 2013 at noon.  Theodore Christopher, M.D., Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Jefferson, will present the award.

Said Dr. Christopher,Dr. Barrie chooses to remain in Sierra Leone to care for his countrymen, demonstrating a new level of compassion and dedication in medicine.  His personal and professional life is one of extreme sacrifice for and commitment to social justice where he grew up.”

The Grace Humanitarian Award is presented each year by the Department of Emergency Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to an individual who exemplifies the humanitarian values of compassion, conscientiousness and dedication, while providing altruistic emergency care to our patients and their families or to an individual who advocates for excellence in emergency health care with these values in mind.

Background on Dr. Barrie from the Wellbody Alliance:

Dr. Mohamed Bailor Barrie is one of only five physicians serving the 450,000 people of Kono District, the epicenter of Sierra Leone’s recent conflict and the most underserved region of country. The son of a village tailor, Bailor grew up in unimaginable poverty and hunger. Inspired by his neighbor, a hardworking and dedicated nurse, he defied all odds to achieve the second highest score in the country on his high school completion examination—granting him a full scholarship to attend medical school in Freetown during the war. Each day he walked 14 miles to and from class. Unable to afford medical textbooks, he hand-copied his classmates’ books by candlelight. During the war he lost his father to a preventable disease and his mother was kidnapped by rebel forces, presumed dead for years. When violence came to Freetown, Bailor was forced to escape by dugout canoe under the cover of darkness to a refugee camp in neighboring Guinea.

Dr. Bailor has made many sacrifices for his commitment to social justice and well-being in what the United Nations has called “the least livable country in the world.” In a context of extremely limited health and social services and with the scarcest of resources, Dr. Bailor dedicates each day to the seemingly insurmountable challenge of bringing essential healthcare to Sierra Leone’s poorest people.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH) are dedicated to excellence in patient care and education. It is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation's top hospitals.   It has over 950 licensed acute care beds with major programs in a wide range of clinical specialties. TJUH is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. that is both a Level 1 Trauma Center and a federally-designated regional spinal cord injury center.  TJUH patient care facilities include:  Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, and Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia. Additional out-patient sites are located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  TJUH is a part of Jefferson Health System and a partner of Thomas Jefferson University.

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