Ray A. Blackwell, M.D., chief of cardiac surgery and surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Christiana Care Health System, will receive a lifetime achievement award Jan. 31 at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
The award is part of a Dartmouth celebration, “Standing at the Threshold,” honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Blackwell received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his medical degree from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. He has dedicated his life to the service of others and is noted for being an advocate and supporter of underrepresented and underfunded medical students, serving on many non-profit boards that advance the cause of diversity in the medical profession.
He has provided many mentoring opportunities for local and regional underrepresented college and medical school students and has served as co-chair of the Christiana Care Diversity and Inclusion and Health Equity committees.
As a medical student, he served on the Minority Admissions Subcommittee at the Geisel School of Medicine and later became a regional recruiter for the medical school and the college. He was a student in the program A Better Chance, which places underprivileged and underrepresented students in strong academic environments, and he remains active with the organization.
He is a regional alumni council member of National Medical Fellowships, a program that provides scholarships for underrepresented and underfunded medical students.
He is cofounder of the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, whose mission is to support and develop upcoming and practicing cardiothoracic surgeons.
At Christiana Care Dr. Blackwell chairs the highly successful Blood Pressure Ambassadors program, which addresses hypertension among African Americans through the use of specially trained community volunteers.
To date, the Blood Pressure Ambassadors have touched the lives of more than 12,000 people through screening and education programs.
Since joining Christiana Care in 1996, Dr. Blackwell has been recognized among the top cardiac physicians in Delaware and the surrounding region and has helped guide the cardiac surgery program to deliver greater quality and value. He was named chief of cardiac surgery in 2017 and surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program in 2011, leading the initiative to establish Christiana Care’s left ventricular assist device program.
Dr. Blackwell is active with the Gamma Theta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., having initially joined through Theta Zeta Chapter at Dartmouth. He is a past member of the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline.
He is currently a trustee of Christiana Care, and on the board of directors for the New Castle County, Delaware and regional Great Rivers Affiliate chapters of the American Heart Association.