Memorial Hospital celebrates Black History Month

Memorial Hospital held their Black History Month program to celebrate the significant contributions of team members and leaders within the health and wellness community.

For 75 years, Memorial Health System has been an advocate for healthcare for African Americans, underprivileged, and underserved people in the community. To show their appreciation, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team hosted their second annual Black History Month program. Human Resources Vice President Myron McCoo said, “This is really one way for us to go back to the community and let our community know that we truly do care about our community by providing close company care by making sure we are educating people on the different cultures at the hospital.”

Executive Director for the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute Dr. Stephen Farrow was the keynote speaker. He talked about black resistance and the state of Mississippi having the highest diabetes and obesity rates in the country and ways to solve the problem. “Gulfport Memorial and Mississippi has a significant population that’s African American. So, naturally, it is very helpful to have a healthcare institution that is close by in the neighborhood, convenient for you and your family to visit who understands the culture of the community and can actually engage you in a positive way.”

Along with the speech, the Dr. Felix Dunn Service Excellence Award was given to Rev. Theodore R. Williams Jr., who served on the board of trustees for 18 years and was the first African American board member. While Williams served on the board, he fought for equality and better pay. “I noticed that every time we get a raise, the top would get a raise, too. But, I wanted for the janitors and the cooks, the ones that saw fit for Memorial Hospital to go forward because we couldn’t survive without them. So, I fought for a raise for them.”

Williams says although African Americans have come a long way, “We still have a long way to go.”

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