King to receive Washington University’s 2015 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award

Congratulations to Allison King, MD, MPH, who will be one of the seven recipients to receive Washington University’s 2015 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award. The award recognizes members of the Washington University community who exemplify a character of service and contribution to the St. Louis region. She was nominated by former students Ashley Housten, OTD, MSCI, and Catherine Hoyt Drazen, OTD, OTR/L, for her dedication to helping children with chronic illness maximize their education and receive quality health care no matter where they live or their economic situation.

“Dr. King has supported us in the role of professor, mentor, employer, confidant, and friend. We sincerely believe that Dr. King is an exemplary model of what it means to be client-centered, to truly care about the health, well-being and outcomes of those around her. While balancing clinical, academic and professional responsibilities as the head of the Child Health and Education Laboratory at the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. King prioritizes the needs of others. For us, as mentees, she always has an open door to provide mentorship, support, and encouragement,” writes Housten and Hoyt Drazen in their nomination letter. “In addition to her commitment to her students and colleagues, Dr. King always takes the extra time to help all of her patients. She works primarily with underserved, under-recognized populations, such as individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD). In St. Louis, SCD affects primarily low-income families that identify as African American. Children with SCD are at risk for stroke and often struggle with meeting educational requirements. Dr. King has made countless efforts to support this population in community collaboration, education and research.”

King was also acknowledged for taking the time to go into schools to educate teachers and others involved in the long term care of her patients. She developed a line of ground-breaking research addressing educational needs of youth with cancer or SCD in the school setting, an important area of study often overlooked. As a tutor in St. Louis Public Schools for youth with SCD, King developed a program to improve their academic attainment. From there, she initiated programs that have provided one-on-one tutoring in local underserved school districts to help determine strategies to meet their educational goals.

In the community, King wrote and was awarded an innovative national grant and used some of the funding to assist a local support group, the Sickle Cell Association, with program development, providing funding for initial events, and mentoring the group. King is currently participating in the Integrated Health Network’s Community Sickle Cell Initiative (CSCI). This is a local group of health care providers and educators working to improve care and quality of life for patients with SCD.

Through King’s new Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, she has formed and is leading the Heartland Sickle Cell Disease Network, a regional collaborative that provides education to both medical providers and patients about SCD, and provides quality improvement activities and training for medical providers in major health care centers in four states: Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. Dr. King’s formation of the Heartland Sickle Cell Disease Network will provide infrastructure and opportunity to test education and change among medical providers and patients to increase access to appropriate, quality medical care for people with SCD.

“Dr. King does far more than educate those in her direct network. We have observed her spending countless hours calling insurance companies, other doctors, and family members to ensure that all stakeholders understand the medical situation and each patient receives the best possible care,” says Housten and Hoyt Drazen.

The annual Ethic of Service Award reception will be held Thursday, April 23, 2015, from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education & Conference Center on the Danforth campus.

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