Ala Stanford

Dr. Ala Stanford (BS Sci 1991, Med 1997) is the founder of the nonprofit Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. The consortium started in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when testing was scarce in the Black and Latinx communities where people were dying the most. So, Stanford rented a van, set up shop in church parking lots, and started swabbing noses. Between April 2020-October 2021, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium tested more than 25,000 people for the coronavirus and vaccinated more than 75,000 Philadelphians. Because of her work, Philadelphia was named the No. 1 city in the nation for vaccinating people of color.

During these clinics, Stanford found it was common for people to ask her advice on other medical issues. She realized the services she was providing were just a small part of battling the health inequities that exist for underserved populations. In response, her group founded a more comprehensive, preventative care, health equity clinic, the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity (ASHE), which offers blood draws for lab tests, X-rays, behavioral and mental health care, and wellness checkups for adults and children, plus standard immunizations and flu shots. Stanford’s ongoing efforts have made her a national symbol and advocate for equalizing access to health care for people of color in disadvantaged communities.

Stanford received the Pennsylvania Society’s 2021 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, given annually to a prominent person in recognition of leadership, citizenship, and contributions to the arts, science, education, and industry. She also received the national George H.W. Bush Points of Light Award in 2021 for the critical role she played in Philadelphia’s pandemic fight. The award honors individuals who demonstrate the transformative power of service, and who are driving significant and sustained impact through their everyday actions and words.

Stanford was the 100th person honored with the Philadelphia Award, given annually to a citizen of the Philadelphia region who has acted on behalf of the best interests of the community. Among the city’s most cherished, meaningful, and prestigious awards, past recipients have included some of the most distinguished Philadelphians, including industrialists, educators, lawyers, political figures, scientists, physicians, clergy, social activists, philosophers, musicians, artists, architects, and writers. (Source: