The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Medical Committee Chairperson Dr. Cheri Blauwet has received the 2016 recipient of the Harold Amos Diversity Award, the Harvard Medical School announced in early April. Dr. Blauwet serves as an attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and is also an instructor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Blauwet was recognised for her work in advancing equality in opportunities for faculty and trainees with disabilities, as well as excellence in her academic work promoting research and clinical care for athletes and active adults with disabilities.
“Dr. Blauwet has dedicated her life toward advancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become involved in sports and physical activities, leading to enhanced personal health, social empowerment, and achievement. Dr. Blauwet’s leadership footprint across the Harvard Medical School community is impressive. For example, she has been instrumental to paving the way for permanent structural changes to be put in place at Spaulding, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,” said Joan Reede, MD, MPH, MS, MBA, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School.
“She has also worked to ensure that medical students and residents have the opportunity to be exposed to and receive training in adaptive sports as part of their career development. These efforts have helped shine the light on disability as a critical diversity issue that must be addressed to truly foster an inclusive community.”
The Harold Amos Diversity Award was established to recognise Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) faculty who have made significant achievements in moving HMS/HSDM toward being a diverse and inclusive community. The award is in honour of Harold Amos, Ph.D., who was the first African-American to chair a department, now the Department of Microbiology and Medical Genetics, of the Harvard Medical School.
“Dr. Blauwet is a shining example of the traits we encourage in our faculty – fierce advocacy for the communities we serve combined with a commitment to dynamic research and education. We are so proud of this recognition for a very deserving colleague,” said Dr. Ross Zafonte, Chair of the Department of PM&R at Harvard Medical School.
In addition to her clinical endeavors, Dr. Blauwet is also an accomplished athlete, as a former Paralympic athlete in the sport of wheelchair racing, competing for the US Team in three Paralympic Games (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008) and bringing home a total of seven Paralympic medals. She is also a two-time winner of both the Boston and New York City Marathons. She serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as well as the Neilsen Foundation Quality of Life Grant Review Board.
Dr. Blauwet also currently serves as the Principle Investigator of the Kelley Adaptive Sports Research at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. The programme allows her to merge her sports background, clinical interest and advocacy experience to push forward the knowledge base for using adaptive sports in clinical settings to facilitate recovery.