Shirma Pierre, of the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners, speaks at BWH’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event.

Shirma Pierre, chair of the BWH chapter of the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners, speaks at the Brigham’s celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Peter Linck, manager of Office Services, was grateful for the opportunity to view Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech with his colleagues during this year’s celebration of the civil rights leader at the Brigham on Jan. 17. Having never seen the speech in its entirety before now, Linck said the experience was moving and memorable.

“It’s really important in times like these to hear such great, strong words from people like Dr. King who very much care about who we are as a society,” Linck said.

He was among the BWHers who gathered in Bornstein Amphitheater, in addition to those who tuned in via webcast, for the hospital’s annual celebration of King, presented by the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners.

Before viewing the speech, Sabrina Williams, MBA, interim vice president of Human Resources, reflected on King’s inspiring leadership and accomplishments.

Williams recited part of one of her favorite quotes by King about the value of helping others: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. … You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

The words reflect the hospital’s mission to provide the best care to all who walk through our doors, she said.

“There are many reasons why we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. Most importantly, he had a humanistic approach,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, it’s about people. And from a human resources perspective, it’s about helping each of our employees be effective in serving the work and mission of the Brigham.”

As part of the Brigham’s commitment to supporting discussions about diversity and inclusiveness, Williams added, BWH will work with Dani Monroe, the first chief diversity and inclusion officer at Partners HealthCare, and her team to provide resources and training about issues such as unconscious bias.

Following the speech, several BWHers reflected on the address and what it meant to them.

Shamoore Simpson, a data analyst and project coordinator at Partners Community Health, encouraged her colleagues to go back to their teams and continue the conversation about diversity and inclusivity.

Wanda McClain, vice president of Community Health and Health Equity, said watching the speech was a reminder that the fight for equality is ongoing and that it’s important to speak up against injustice.

“It was so hopeful to watch the speech and see people together, fighting together for America,” McClain said. “Sadly, today there’s so much distrust, discord and disrespect, and if we don’t get to a place where we can look at each other with humanity and realize that our struggles are the same, then I’m not sure we’ve really fulfilled Dr. King’s complete legacy.”

Ron M. Walls, MD, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Brigham Health, emphasized the need for people to participate in conversations and share their ideas on how to make the world a better place.

“To effect real change takes both belief in that change and a dogged determination to work at it over a long period of time,” Walls said. “If this kind of change were easy, it would have been accomplished before 1963, and certainly by now, yet the struggles and challenges of 50 years ago are very familiar to us today. We have a lot of work to do, but I feel proud that we are part of an organization that deeply believes in that work.”

View a recording of the event.

2017 YMCA Achievers Award Winners

As part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute, BWH recognized recipients of the YMCA Achievers Award. The award honors employees who have made an outstanding contribution to their organization’s success and are willing to make a difference in the lives of youth in the Greater Boston area. This year’s winners are:

Farah Abellard

Farah Abellard, MSN, RN, a clinical nurse on Tower 10AB, for her various volunteer activities, including serving as a mentor for students who are part of the BWH/Roxbury Community College partnership.


Shamoore Simpson

Shamoore Simpson, a data analyst and project coordinator at Partners Community Health, for her volunteer activities, as well as working with youth in Mission Hill through the BWH Center for Community Health and Health Equity.