Highly respected Jamaican-born obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Millicent Comrie, has been recognised by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her exemplary contribution to American life.
Dr Comrie, director of Brooklyn Heights Women's Health Center, Maimonides Medical Center in New York, is the only Jamaican-born to be recognised by the Carnegie Corporation this year.
She attended Half-Way-Tree Primary School, and Ardenne High School before emigrating to the United States, and is sister of former Jamaica Cabinet minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, a dental surgeon.
Every American Independence Day, July 4, Carnegie Corporation of New York celebrates the contributions of immigrants to American life.
This year the foundation honoured 34 naturalised citizens who have strengthened the United States through their lives and examples.
Dr Comrie and her 'Class of 2021' represents more than 30 countries of origin and emphasises service to society, including honorees who are recognised for helping others as medical providers and researchers; as advocates for the disadvantaged, disabled, and disenfranchised; and as changemakers in politics, voting rights, climate change, and teaching.
In introducing Dr Comrie, Carnegie described her as someone who “once got a failing grade in a surgery class because she was told that she 'does not speak English.'
“Dr Comrie, who was fluent in English but spoke with a Jamaican accent, asked for a new professor. But that was not her only obstacle. In her second year of medical school, she was studying for her final exam when she went into labour with her daughter. She brought the final exam to the hospital with her.
“Dr Comrie, who speaks German and Spanish in addition to English, is a pioneer in treating uterine fibroids and a leading force in women's health care in New York. Director and founder of the Brooklyn Heights Women's Health Center at Maimonides Medical Center, she has helped many women avoid hysterectomies and has been called a 'preserver of fertility in black women.'
“Treating every patient like a family member, she believes in listening to them and taking the time to counsel them.
“My desire to improve women's health is the driving force behind my work,” Comrie told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper.
“Education is a strong weapon in the hands of patients, surgeons and other health-care professionals.”
“Dr Comrie is also a founding board member of the Red Hook Initiative, a non-profit 'creating change from within' for 0ver 6,500 residents of Brooklyn's historically under-resourced Red Hook public housing community.
“She has received widespread recognition for her work and service, including the Marcus Garvey Award for Community Service, the Leader in Medicine Award from the Society of Foreign Consuls, and the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica.”
Dr Comrie is rated among the top 100 professionals in obstetrics and gynaecology in New York.
Among the other honorees this year were:
Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary, Martinique-born Karine Jean-Pierre; Albert Bourla (Greece), Chairman and CEO of Pfizer; Carlos del Rio (Mexico), Professor of Medicine, Emory University; Wayne A I Frederick (Trinidad & Tobago), President and Professor of Surgery, Howard University; Gita Gopinath (India), Chief Economist, International Monetary Fund; Min Kao (Taiwan), co-founder, Executive Chairman, Garmin International; Katalin Kariko (Hungary), Scientist and Senior vice-president, BioNTech; Young Kim (South Korea) US Congesswoman, California, District 39; Olga Korbut (Belarus), Olympic medal winning gymnast; Ruth Lehman (Germany), Professor of Biology, MIT; Kamlesh Lulla (India) NASA scientist, senior advisor, Johnson Space Center, NASA; Helen Mirren (England), actress; Herro Mustafa (Iraq), US Ambassador to Bulgaria; John Oliver (England), comedian and commentator; James Peebles (Canada), Professor Emeritus of Physics, Princeton University; Vincenzo Piscopo (Venezuela), President and CEO, United Spinal Association; Ivan Poupyrev (Russia), Director of Engineering and Technical Projects, Google; Pedro Sanchez (Cuba), Professor of Tropical Soils, University of Florida; Ali Zaidi (Pakistan), Deputy White House National Climate Advisor; and Xiaowei Zhuang (China), Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.