Newswise — The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has awarded NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo the Goodermote Humanitarian Award for his efforts to reduce polio globally as well as his work improving the health of neglected and underserved populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mutombo will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., on April 13.
“Mr. Mutombo is a winner in many ways—on the court and as a humanitarian. His work has improved the health of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center is a model for the region,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Likewise, Mr. Mutombo has been instrumental in the fight against polio by bolstering vaccination efforts and bringing treatment to victims of the disease.”
A former all-star and the NBA’s first Global Ambassador, Mutombo began his career in 1991 as a center for the Denver Nuggets. He went on to play for teams in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York before retiring in 2009 as a Houston Rocket. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mutombo came to the U.S. on an academic scholarship to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. During his second year at Georgetown, Mutombo was invited to try out for the Men’s Basketball Team. After joining the team, he re-directed his pre-med ambitions and graduated from Georgetown with dual degrees in Linguistics and Diplomacy. Mutombo has long been dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of Congo and globally. The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation was created in 1997 to eradicate childhood diseases that have virtually disappeared in developed countries as well as improve health outcomes in Congo.
The Goodermote Humanitarian award was established in 2008 by Dean Goodermote and the Goodermote family to support the Bloomberg School’s training and education mission and to honor the commitment of the School’s alumni to advancing public health worldwide. Dean Goodermote chairs the advisory committee for the Bloomberg School’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. The Goodermote award is the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s humanitarian honor. The first recipient of the Goodermote Award was CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, who was given the honor for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Asian Tsunami. In addition to the award, the Goodermote family has established a scholarship for students studying international health who are committed to addressing the needs of displaced people and to furthering the mission of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response.