(Wilmington, Del. – Nov. 8, 2021)
Ray A. Blackwell, M.D., MJ, chief of Cardiac Surgery and the W. Samuel Carpenter, III, Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at ChristianaCare, received the 2021 Tilton Award from the Medical Society of Delaware on Oct. 28 at the University & Whist Club in Wilmington, Del.
The award recognizes Dr. Blackwell as a pre-eminent cardiac surgeon the past 21 years and for his life-long commitment to service for the betterment of patients, the local community and the nation. The award is named for James Tilton, M.D., the first U.S. Army Surgeon General of the United States and the first president of the Medical Society of Delaware.
“Dr. Blackwell is an outstanding choice for this prestigious award,” said Kirk Garratt, M.D., medical director of ChristianaCare’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health. “He has given a great deal to his patients, his colleagues and his profession. His strong leadership and clinical expertise have led to optimal health and an exceptional experience for many patients in our community. In addition to being an excellent surgeon, Dr. Blackwell has been dedicated to driving innovations that improve patient outcomes and has been committed to finding ways of keeping patients healthy and preventing cardiovascular disease.”
Since joining ChristianaCare in 1996, Dr. Blackwell has been recognized among the top cardiac physicians in our region and has been instrumental to the development of the cardiac surgery program. In 2011, he became the surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and led the initiative to establish Christiana Care’s Ventricular Assist Device Program. In 2017 he was named Chief of Cardiac Surgery and has since led the health system’s team of highly skilled and experienced heart surgeons who perform more than 700 heart surgeries each year.
Dr. Blackwell is a clinical assistant professor of Surgery at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. He served as the chair of ChristianaCare’s Blood Pressure Ambassador Advisory Committee.
Dr. Blackwell has dedicated his life to service of others, especially on behalf of underprivileged and underrepresented people. As a high school student, he participated in A Better Chance Program, which places underprivileged, underrepresented and underfunded students in better academic environments. He is still active with the organization. He also served on the minority admissions subcommittee and later became a regional recruiter for Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School. In 2019, he received a lifetime achievement award as part of a Dartmouth College celebration, “Standing at the Threshold,” honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Blackwell also received the Raising Kings award in 2018 from the One Village Alliance, an agency dedicated to elevating positive images and setting high expectations for Wilmington’s Black men and boys, He is a regional alumni council member of National Medical Fellowships, which funds underrepresented and underfunded medical students and is co-founder of the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, which supports and develops upcoming and practicing cardiothoracic surgeons.
He has also held numerous leadership board positions for Delaware organizations, including the Delaware Medical Education Foundation, the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, the New Castle County and Great Rivers Affiliate Boards of Directors for the American Heart Association. He is also a board member of the Friends of Hockessin Colored School 107C and Indoor Track Delaware.
Dr. Blackwell is also a recipient of the James H. Gilliam, Jr. Award from the American Heart Association for his contributions to the health, welfare and benefit of the community.
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Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,299 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute.
ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 5th best health system to work for in the United States and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by HealthGrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.