2021 Gold Medalist
Dr. Ala Stanford





Dr. Stanford’s leadership in vaccinating Philadelphians in underserved neighborhoods embodies remarkable work performed statewide by Pennsylvania’s COVID Heroes 


PITTSBURGH (August 9, 2021) – Edward Sheehan, Jr., President of The Pennsylvania Society, today announced that the recipient of The Pennsylvania Society’s 2021 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement is Dr. Ala Stanford of Philadelphia. Dr. Stanford is the CEO and Founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium who has worked tirelessly to create a testing and vaccination alternative specifically for Pennsylvanians diagnosed at a higher rate than other groups, to reduce the incidence of disease and death from COVID-19. To date, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium has tested more than 25,000 Pennsylvanians and vaccinated more than 51,000 – over 1,000 to homebound patients. Dr. Stanford will receive the Gold Medal at the Annual Dinner of The Pennsylvania Society on December 4, 2021 in New York City.


“While there are countless examples of Pennsylvanians who have stepped up in significant ways during the pandemic – many of whom we have recognized on social media through our PA COVID Heroes campaign – Dr. Ala Stanford stands out for her ability not just to recognize a problem, but to then create a unique solution and put that solution into action with powerful results. Dr. Stanford’s Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is truly inspirational work worthy of celebration. And all of Pennsylvania can be proud as Dr. Stanford’s personal life journey has touched communities all across our Commonwealth.”


Sheehan noted that Dr. Stanford received her undergraduate degree from Penn State, her medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine at Hershey, performed her residency in General Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, her fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and is today both a board-certified adult general and pediatric surgeon based in Philadelphia. During her career, Dr. Stanford has served at some of the nation’s leading medical institutions, including Jefferson Health- Abington. 


Throughout the pandemic, people of color have been devastated by COVID-19 in the U.S., dying at a much greater rate than white Americans. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is addressing the needs of the hardest-hit areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania by building and deploying a mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination operation that, to date, has vaccinated tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians – many of whom would likely not have taken the vaccine without the advocacy and education provided by Dr. Stanford and her team of certified doctors, nurses, operations staff and hundreds of volunteers. Dr. Stanford’s work has been featured nationally by CNN, NPR and on ABC’s Good Morning America, among others, and has been recognized by the Vice President of the United States, Congress, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Assistant Secretary of Health.  


“The pandemic has affected all of us in very significant ways and we continue to draw inspiration from our fellow Pennsylvanians who helped us through those very difficult early days up until now, when things are looking somewhat brighter,” said Sheehan. “So, we very much look forward to honoring Dr. Stanford this December along with saluting many other individuals from across the Commonwealth during what is sure to be both an emotional and celebratory evening in New York – an event unlike any other in our 122-year history!”


The Society’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement was founded in 1908 and is presented annually to a prominent person in recognition of leadership, citizenship and contributions to the arts, science, education and industry. In addition to the honor itself, The Pennsylvania Society contributes to a Pennsylvania charity chosen by the recipient of the Gold Medal, subject only to the approval of the Society Council. Dr. Stanford’s charity will be announced at the Annual Dinner.


The Annual Dinner will once again be held at the New York Hilton Midtown. The Pennsylvania Society will work closely with the Hilton to follow all government guidelines related to indoor capacity, social distancing and any other New York City COVID-19 health requirements.