Congratulations to Dr. Garmon-Brown!

Photo by Novant Health

North Carolina recently honored Ophelia Garmon-Brown, MD, chief community wellness and healthy equity executive for Novant Health, with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest honor for a civilian.

“Ophelia is a remarkable woman with extraordinary gifts and talents,” Novant Health President and CEO Carl Armato said during a surprise awards ceremony. “As a physician, minister, volunteer, advocate, community leader — she embodies the spirit of giving and caring for others.”

As noted in an article on the presentation to Dr. Garmon-Brown in The Charlotte Post, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine dates back to 1963 and is awarded for service to the community as well as career accomplishments. Dr. Garmon-Brown joins other honorees including Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan (1985), evangelist Billy Graham (1996) and poet Maya Angelou (1992 and 1996).

Dr. Garmon-Brown earned a degree in biology from N.C. Central University, followed by a medical degree from UNC Chapel Hill. She became the first female African-American alumnae of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte’s residency program, where she concentrated on family medicine. Her last 20 years practicing medicine in Charlotte have been with Novant Health, while also serving as a medical missionary in countries such as Uganda, South Africa, Jamaica, Kenya, Guyana. Dr. Garmon-Brown also holds a master’s of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, which she earned in 2003.

Dr. Garmon-Brown co-founded the Charlotte Community Health Clinic—Mecklenburg County’s first free clinic to earn distinction as a federally qualified health clinic. She was the first African-American elected president of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society, served as the medical director for the Salvation Army’s Women’s and Children’s Shelter’s health clinic, as well as a volunteer at the Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center. Additionally, she co-chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force, which the city and county established to address disparities regarding upward economic mobility; an area where Charlotte ranked 50th out of 50 cities for leaving poverty if one was born into it.

Congratulations, Dr. Garmon-Brown!


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