A pioneering cardiologist, a retired medical missionary, a paralympic medalist, an engineering entrepreneur and a progressive social and community builder. These five individuals have made their mark in our community and will be recognized for their accomplishments at the annual MOSAIC Awards to be held on Thursday, May 26, at The Louisville Downtown Marriott.
This fundraising event, which benefits Jewish Family & Career Services, honors international Americans who have made a significant contribution in their profession and in our local/global community. This year’s honorees are Dr. Emma Birks, Dr. Manuel Grimaldi, Oksana Masters , Thangam “Sam” Rangaswamy and Dr. Riaan van Zyl.
“JFCS was founded to assist newcomers to Louisville, and this event honors its original mission,” siad Judy Freundlich Tiell, JFCS executive director. “To date, the event has recognized 52 international Americans who make our community a richer and more interesting city, creating a mosaic of many colors and perspectives.”
A cocktail reception at 5 p.m. will feature a showcase of new micro-businesses created by entrepreneurs who have received training and financial assistance from the JFCS Navigate Enterprise Center.
“Many new businesses only have a small budget for marketing,” explained Jarett Duker, Navigate director. “By introducing our businesses to the people attending the MOSAIC Awards, we hope to generate interest in the products and services they provide and create new clients for them.”
Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is the title sponsor and WLKY 32 is the media sponsor. Papercone Corporation, PharMerica and Kindred Healthcare are also major sponsors.
Event Chair Barbara Sexton-Smith said, “We are happy to have Viki and Paul Diaz as our honorary chairs this year. Paul is a past honoree and executive vice chairman of Kindred, and we hope that their participation will generate a whole new level of interest for the event.”
Tickets to the event are $125 per person, and table sponsorships begin at $1,500. For reservations, contact Beverly Bromley, JFCS director of development, at 502-452-6341, ext. 223, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Emma Birks from Great Britain is a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Failure, Transplantation & Mechanical Circulatory Support program in the Cardiovascular Division at the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital, Kentucky OneHealth.
She developed a myocardial recovery program and the burgeoning Ventricular Assist Devices and Transplant programs in Louisville. She currently teaches cardiology fellows and residents and started a heart failure fellowship program.
Dr. Birks works closely with cardiothoracic surgery and biomedical engineering and is involved in translational studies. Her research focuses on inducing myocardial recovery and on the underling molecular mechanisms in recovery; i.e. in the reversal of heart failure.
She has an international reputation in her field. She has lectured nationally and internationally and published widely in the area of heart failure, left ventricular assist devices and transplantation, and is a frequent research contributor to the American Heart Association.
Dr. Manuel Grimaldi came from Spain to the United States in order to be certified in internal medicine (1976) and medical oncology (1977). He joined the practice of Drs. Beard, Fuller and Dobbs currently known as CBC in 1977.
He has won numerous accolades, including the American Cancer Society Physician of the Year Award in 2010 and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Award. Upon retirement, he became a volunteer through the Greater Louisville Medical Society, donating his time, knowledge and service in medical missionary trips to Nicaragua and Belize.
Dr. Grimaldi has traveled to Nicaragua numerous times with Hand to Hand Ministries, visiting hospitals and clinics where he provided families, women and children with routine health care that would otherwise be unavailable to them. He raised funds to build homes in Belize and also served as a medical missionary for homebound families living with HIV.
Oksana Masters from Ukraine was born with several radiation-induced birth defects. She was abandoned and lived in orphanages until she was seven. She endured surgeries, amputations, hunger and physical abuse, something no child should have to endure; yet she survived.
Masters and her partner, Rob Jones earned a bronze medal in trunk & arms rowing at the 2012 Paralympics. This was the first medal for the USA in this category. She was then named US Rowing Female Athlete of the Year in 2012, first time ever for a para-rower.
In 2014, after one full season on sit-skis, Oksana earned a silver and bronze medal in Nordic Cross Country at the Paralympics. In 2015, during her next season on snow, she earned cross country World Championship medals and was World Cup Leader.
She also earned a bronze medal at the Paracycling World Championships in 2015 as well as numerous medals in World Cup competitions in cross country, biathlon and handcycling.
Thangam “Sam” Rangaswamy from India is the president and principal engineer of Rangaswany & Associates, Inc., which he started after receiving his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Kentucky.
He has taught concrete courses at the U of L Speed School of Engineering. He is the founder of the Structural Engineering Association of Kentucky and served as its president, director and secretary. He has also served as Kentucky Minority Business Development Council treasurer, secretary and board member.
Rangaswany was given the U.S. Small Business Administration Person of the Year Award in 1985. He is a registered engineer in nine states and has received many national structural engineering and concrete masonry design awards.
He is currently serving on the Parking Authority of River City Board (PARC) and the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. Dr. Rangaswamy was a founding trustee involved in the building and opening of the Hindu Temple of Kentucky and organized the India Community Foundation of Louisville.
Originally from South Africa, Dr. Riaan van Zyl’s leadership and involvement in progressive social matters has developed solutions that work, such as the first alcohol safety program in South Africa’s criminal justice system and programs for those with epilepsy for which he became director of national services.
He founded the South African Association of Mediators, facilitated the national aging policy for the National Department of Welfare and united all of South Africa’s schools of social work in a transformation process that developed high educational standards, and helped to reform the prison systems.
Dr. van Zyl continues work in the area of prevention of HIV/AIDS in Africa. In 2000, he became the associate dean for research at the Kent School of Social Work. He set about creating a new environment for research, building relationships with community people and creating a collaborative environment where faculty would work with each other to solve community problems. He positioned the school to be one of the fastest growing in the country in terms of federal research dollars.