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Temple’s Dr. Amy Goldberg Receives Prestigious Philadelphia Award

Dr. Goldberg Joins The Rev. Luis Cortés, Jr. and Nicole Kligerman as Honorees Selected to Commemorate the Award’s 99th Year

News September 30, 2020

Dr. Amy GoldbergAmy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS, George S. Peters, MD and Louise C. Peters Chair and Professor of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and Surgeon-in-Chief of Temple University Health System, will receive the coveted Philadelphia Award for 2019, the 99th year of the annual award. In addition to Dr. Goldberg, The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr., Founder and President and CEO of Esperanza, and Nicole Kligerman, Founder and Director of the Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance, will also receive the award. The recipients were selected by the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Award for their dedication and service to improving the lives of underserved people and communities in Philadelphia. The awards will be presented at a virtual ceremony on November 4, 2020.

Watch the Virtual Ceremony 

“This year’s honorees have dedicated their careers and lives to help Philadelphians who dwell in the shadows of our society," said David L. Cohen, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Award and Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. “One of the main purposes of the Philadelphia Award is to spotlight extraordinary service to the Philadelphia community that might otherwise not be known or recognized. Recognizing the work of Luis, Amy, and Nicole shines a light on three important and neglected communities experiencing the despair of poverty, ravages of gun violence, and the unfairness of low-wage employment. The extraordinary work of our honorees illuminates a path forward to serve our forgotten and overlooked neighbors and neighborhoods most in need.”

“This award represents the advocacy that is done in the city for people who can't necessarily speak for themselves," said Dr. Goldberg. “It's such an honor to be recognized for the decades of work that we've done at Temple University Hospital, and most importantly, an opportunity to acknowledge those who need a voice.”

A Temple University Hospital (TUH) trauma surgeon for the past 30 years, Dr. Goldberg knows the catastrophic damage a single bullet can inflict not just on the physical body, but in the minds of victims, families, bystanders, and within an entire community. A Level-1 trauma center that treats more gunshot and penetrating wound victims than any other in Pennsylvania, TUH is the only hospital in the country with a hospital-based gun violence prevention program and one of only 25 hospitals to have established intervention programs.

The innovative programs were born from a case during Dr. Goldberg's trauma fellowship in 1992 when she performed life-saving surgery on a 16-year-old gunshot wound victim who died, was revived, and survived. When she saw her former patient months later, he wasn't attending school, and she was stunned.

"It occurred to me that even though we saved his life, we didn't improve his life expectancy if we didn't have the tools and systems in place to assist him when he was discharged," Dr. Goldberg said.

The case stuck with her and became a slow-growing seed of change. In 2005, Goldberg advocated hiring psychologist Scott Charles, MAPP, as Temple's first full-time trauma outreach coordinator. Together, they developed four initiatives aimed at gun-violence prevention, action, and intervention.

The groundbreaking Cradle to Grave prevention program utilizes the hospital’s trauma bay as a live classroom to educate youth and adults about how bullets destroy organs, muscle, and bone and show the tools and instruments used by trauma surgeons to repair the damage. Fighting Chance brings doctors outside the hospital and into the streets to provide a series of first aid training sessions that teach community members what to do in the critical minutes after a gunshot wound and before police and EMTs arrive, empowering neighbors to save neighbors. With Safe Bet, gun locks are passed out freely to help prevent unintentional firearm injuries and death. Turning Point works to use gunshot trauma as a life changing opportunity for affected patients, beginning at the hospital bedside. Additional counseling, speaking with a trauma survivor, and the choice to watch the video observation of doctors working to save their lives are offered and become part of the healing and recovery process. A recent study of 80 gunshot patients in Turning Point found reductions in proclivities to violence and aggressive responses, suggesting that a bullet intended to end life could create a path to a new beginning.

Dr. Goldberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Surgeon-in-Chief of Temple University Health System, Senior Vice President of Perioperative Services at Temple University Hospital, and a Director of the American Board of Surgery. After earning her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She completed her general surgery residency at Temple University Hospital in 1987 and in 1993 joined the surgical faculty of Temple University. Dr. Goldberg is a nationally celebrated clinician scholar with a robust portfolio of highly regarded publications and presentations, and is the winner of multiple awards for her contributions to academic medicine and education. Dr. Goldberg is regularly called on by the national and local press for her expertise, including being featured extensively in the Huffington Post Highline article “What Bullets Do to Bodies,” which details the long-term physical and emotional damage suffered by victims of gun violence.