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2013 Spirit of Advocacy Award Winners

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We?re pleased to announce the 2013 Spirit of Advocacy Award winners. The three awards – Community Partner, Family, and CHoR Faculty/Staff – are awarded to those who advocate for children in our community. Nominations are made by CHoR faculty and staff, community members and CHoR families. The Spirit of Advocacy Selection Committee had a difficult task this year as all of the nominees are strong representations of the important role advocacy plays at CHoR and in our community.

Community Partner Award Winner

Mark A. Smith, Owner of Midas of Central Virginia

Mark is recognized for his tireless efforts to help those in need, especially children. He has served as the Board Chair for FeedMore (a conglomerate of the Central Virginia Food Bank, Virginia Community Kitchen, and Meals on Wheels), and most recently has been the Chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk. You regularly hear Mark on the radio and see him on television advocating for the needs of children and families in Richmond. The tremendous efforts made by Mark and his wife Patty shine throughout our community.

Family Award Winner

Murai Johnson, Parent of a CHoR patient

Murai is recognized for her efforts to advocate for her two sons and other patients who are followed by CHoR?s hemophilia clinic. She has served on the Virginia Hemophilia Foundation's (VHF) Board of Directors and on the VCU Hemophilia Consumer Advisory Board. Murai serves on the VHF Advocacy Committee and has actively participated in "Richmond Days," an annual advocacy event where families affected by bleeding disorders meet with Members of the Virginia General Assembly to advocate for community needs.

CHoR Faculty/Staff Award Winner

Dr. Robin Foster, Associate Professor and Director of Pediatric Emergency Services

Dr. Foster has devoted her adult life to advocating for the health and well-being of children and their families. She participates in grassroots efforts in our community and on a government level for policy change. Whether it is promoting reading among children, providing support and education for abused and neglected patients, healthy lifestyle alternatives, or helping to identify and respond to teen dating violence, Dr. Foster recognizes that promoting health encompasses far more than immediate medical treatment.

Finalists include:

Community Partner

  • Jessica Cann, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Infant and Toddler Connection of Henrico, Charles City, and New Kent
  • Liz Pearce, Director of Parent Engagement, Children's Museum of Richmond (CMoR)


  • Paula Belmonte
  • Mary Brown-Brooks
  • Jennifer McMillen
  • The Whitt Family (Jennifer Whitt)
  • Jodi Lemacks

CHoR Faculty/Staff

  • Dr. Carole Ivey, Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy
  • Katherine Tofferi, Clinical Nurse, Pediatric Oncology
  • Dr. Clifton Lee, Associate Professor and Chief, Hospital Medicine
  • Dr. Linda Meloy, Professor, Pediatrics
  • Jill McGehee, Clinical Coordinator, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

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