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Charlotte Woman of the Year | Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown, 2010


Each year the Charlotte Woman of the Year organization awards a local woman who exemplifies philanthropy, advocacy and community. Meet 2010 Charlotte Woman of the Year, Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown. 

Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown at the 2010 Charlotte Woman of the Year/A Woman's PlaceWhen you set out for medical school did you know you would be the first African-American female resident at Carolinas Medical Center in 1980?

When I began medical school I had no expectations of being the first African-American female in any particular setting. I just felt so blessed to be able to attend medical school. My only goal was to be the best that I could be in whatever God was calling me too.

How do you bridge your career in medicine with your community advocacy?

I see my career in medicine and my community advocacy as really being the same. Dr. Martin Luther King said "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane".

What are ways others can connect their career with the advocacy?

I see one's career really as being one's calling. I believe when you are really working in what you are purposed to do then advocacy will come naturally because you will be passionate and want to make a difference.

Along with healthcare what other causes are you passionate about?

Other than healthcare, I am passionate about people being given the opportunity to live up to their potential. I'm passionate about education especially early childhood education. I believe all neighborhoods should be good neighborhoods with decent housing and people having employment with a living wage.

What are some changes in community healthcare you would like to see?

Some of the changes in community health care that I think are necessary is to have Medicaid expanded and access to care for everyone. Healthcare will need to be more effective in partnering with community organizations to make a greater impact in helping to decrease healthcare disparities.

What does it mean to you to be the 2010 Charlotte Woman of the Year?

Although I'm extremely grateful for the honor of being named 2010 Charlotte Woman of the Year, the award is really not about me because alone I can do nothing. If the influence of my winning this award helps me to be able to help someone else, I am grateful.

Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown Charlotte Woman of the Year 2010

About Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown
A physician, minister, volunteer, and leader; Dr. Garmon-Brown is above all else a caretaker and advocate for the health and well-bering of the Charlotte community and beyond. She serves as medical director of the Charlotte Community Health Free Clinic and of the Salvation Army's Women's and Children's Shelter; as well as volunteers at the Charlotte Pregnancy Center. She is the first African American female resident at Carolinas Medical Center after graduating from medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1980. She served as president of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society in 2010 and a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Investment Committee which announced the ambitious Project Lift campaign. Among her many awards are the Black Women's Caucas Trailblazer Award, National Women of Achievement Humanitarian Award and the Charlotte Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business


This year's Charlotte Women of the Year are Jill Dinwiddie and Susan Patterson. A Woman's Place explores the evolving role of women in the New South and honors women's civic leadership and service in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. This year's program "Civic Activism Now" features a panel discussion moderated by Vi Lyles, 2003 Woman of the Year and Charlotte City Council Member. Panelists Janet Cowell, North Carolina State Treasurer, Janeen Bryant, Regional Director, Leadership for Educational Equity and amalia deloney, Senior Program Officer, Media Democracy Fund; will examine the evolution of civic activism including new tactics, technologies and current movements that are making an impact on our socity today. 

A Woman's Place & the Charlotte Woman of the Year Award takes place Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm at Wells Fargo Playhouse, 300 E. Seventh Street, Charlotte, NC. Tickets are free, reservations are required. To reserve your tickets visit by Tuesday, March 15.