The Woman One program recognizes outstanding women leaders in the Philadelphia community and raises scholarship funds for talented minority women medical students at Drexel University College of Medicine.
Byers will be honored on Monday, April 28, 2014 at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia as the 12th annual Woman One recipient.
"Laurada is making outstanding contributions to educating Philadelphia children and to civic life here," said Lynn Yeakel, director of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership. "Her dedication to our city and her many accomplishments make her an ideal WOMAN ONE honoree."
In 2001, Byers founded the Russell Byers Charter School with her children, Dr. Alison Byers and W. Russell Byers, Jr., as a tribute to her late husband and Daily News columnist Russell Byers. The school at 1911 Arch Street in Philadelphia serves 410 students from 40 different neighborhoods in grades K through 6.
Since 1971, she has been a board member of International House Philadelphia, a cultural, educational and social program-center that encourages cross-cultural understanding while assisting 400 students from over 65 countries in their adjustment to American society and life in Philadelphia. As chair of the board of International House in the early '90s, Byers helped found the Festival of World Cinema, which later became the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Byers is also an advocate for women's equality, having been an active volunteer with Women's Way and as a member of the Women's Financial Services Network Advisory Board for PNC Wealth Management, serving the Philadelphia region. She also was a co-founder of the 56% League, an organization that advances women's political engagement in Philadelphia.
Byers has received numerous awards, including Philadelphia magazine's "Volunteer of the Year" award in 2004 and the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania's "Take the Lead" award in 2006. She received her MBA from Temple University and currently lives in Center City Philadelphia.
"What a genuine thrill it is for me to learn that I've been selected as Woman One 2014. The previous honorees are among my heroes," said Byers. "To be on that list and to further the ambitions of the Woman One medical scholars is in full harmony with my belief in working to better the human condition."
In 10 years, the Woman One program has raised more than $2.5 million and has supported scholarships for 24 current and former Drexel University College of Medicine students. The 2014 scholars are Cherish Page of Phoenix, Ariz., and Christel Francois of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Each will receive $80,000 in tuition support over four years.
Honorary co-chairs of the 2014 Woman One award are Dr. Alison Byers, W. Russell G. Byers Jr., Adelaide Beacham, 6ABC journalist and Woman One 2013 Lisa Thomas-Laury, and Drexel University College of Medicine Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice-President of Medical Affairs Daniel V. Schidlow, MD.
Past Woman One Award recipients include Estelle Richman ('03); Leslie Anne Miller ('04); Dawn Staley ('05); Suzanne Roberts ('06); Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., ('07); Stephanie Naidoff ('08); Jane Pepper ('09); Eliana Papadakis ('10); Sara Manzano-Díaz ('11); Dianne Semingson ('12); Lisa Thomas- Laury ('13).
One of the original six programs to be designated a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Drexel University College of Medicine's Institute for Women's Health and Leadership helps carry out the College's commitment to women's health and women's leadership in medicine and service. Its core initiatives include: the International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics, with its acclaimed Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women; the Legacy Center, which preserves and protects the largest collection of archival material on the history of women in medicine, much of which comes from one of the College's predecessor institutions; the Woman One Award and Scholarship Fund; and Vision 2020, a national initiative to achieve women's economic and social equality. Learn more about the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership.