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Stevens Co. Physician Receives Providence Award

October 09, 2013
Edmund Gray, MD - a retired rural physician and public health leader - received the 2013 Sister Peter Claver Award, honoring a lifetime of humanitarian service. (Click for a larger image.)

Dr. Gray, with Providence Health Care Chief Executive Elaine Couture.

Spokane, WA—On October 8, Providence Health Care held its 21st annual Sister Peter Claver Award ceremony.  The 2013 award recipient is Edmund Gray, MD, a retired rural physician and public health leader.

Dr. Gray became a rural family practice physician in 1953, choosing a profession that he knew would require long hours of service.  Working at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville, he could help heal the sick, deliver babies and perform surgery, but he knew that prevention was the key to improving the health of his community.

For the next five decades, Dr. Gray served in regional and state-wide leadership roles to improve sanitation, vaccination and epidemiology studies that affected the life of every resident in Northeast Washington’s tri-county region. He also continually fought for the uninsured and helped to develop Washington state’s first Basic Health Plan to increase access to medical care.

Dr. Gray’s work with the University of Washington’s medical residency program established a rural medicine track that would train new physicians in the intricacies of working outside the urban medical setting.  He modeled what a rural doctor did and the impact one could leave on a community.

“It is no surprise that Dr. Gray has received accolades from health care leaders across our state,” said Elaine Couture, chief executive of Providence Health Care.  “We wish to bestow one more – the Sister Peter Claver Humanitarian Award – for making a monumental difference in health care in our region.”

Other nominees for the Spokane Humanitarian Award included:

  • Kelly Aldrich, a community volunteer who offers her service through World Relief, Free Cakes for Kids, Sheridan Elementary School and LifeCenter Church.
  • Rusty Barnett, director of Hope House, a shelter for women that has permanent housing apartments, a respite program and on-site medical case management. 
  • Becky Doughty, RN, founder and director of  Inland Northwest Transitional Care Program which serves homeless people who need care after a hospital stay to ensure complete healing. 
  • Dr. Hal and Sandy Goldberg, members of Healing Hearts Northwest, a service that provides heart disease education and treatment every year in Rwanda.
  • Kristine Ruggles, director of Christ Clinic and Christ Kitchen, serving low-income families who need access to medical care helping women in poverty to gain employment skills. 
  • Michelle Sakurai, a chaplain for Providence’s Stevens County hospitals, who took the initiative to create the Hunger Coalition to serve the tri-county area’s most poor and vulnerable.

Sister Peter Claver led Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for 24 years and was beloved throughout the Spokane community for her visionary leadership and unparalleled commitment to the poor.  Outside Sacred Heart, she helped set up the House of Charity Medical Outreach Clinic and initiated the planning for a network of charitable medical clinics.

For more details about the Sister Peter Claver Award, email SacredHeartPR@providence.org.

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