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CNHP Alumna Wins Service to the Community Award

February 17, 2017

Each year during Homecoming Weekend, the Drexel University Alumni Association celebrates the achievements and contributions of its graduates by presenting awards in five categories: Alumni Entrepreneurship, Service to the Community, Service to Profession, Special Distinction and the Harriet E. Worrell Society award, in honor of the creator of the Alumni Association. Each year, a large number of qualified nominations makes the selection process very competitive. However, the Honors and Awards Committee of the Board of Governors takes pride in reviewing all of the personal and professional achievements carefully. 
The Service to the Community Award is presented to a Drexel alum “who, through voluntary or paid work, has significantly contributed to civic and/or community life.” This year’s recipient was CNHP alumna Johanna Berrigan, PA-C, `97. She was nominated by Patrick Auth, PhD, clinical professor and department chair of the physician assistant program.
Berrigan began as a physician assistant student at Drexel in 1994. Her commitment to community service was already apparent then. As a member of the Wilbur W. Oaks Student Society, she volunteered in many community activities such as blood pressure screenings, health fairs and feeding the homeless. 
After graduating from Drexel in 1997, Berrigan co-founded The House of Grace Catholic Worker Community and Catholic Worker Free Clinic, which provide hospitality to former homeless people, as well as health care, dental care and advocacy for homeless, uninsured and underinsured people of the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.  
In addition to The House of Grace, Berrigan also co-founded the House of Health Kay Lasante Education and Outreach Prevention Care in Port au Prince, Haiti. Since its inception in 2004, it has grown into a full service health clinic that serves 40 patients a day. Kay Lasante provides a plethora of services, including primary care, emergency services and pharmacy. It also provides crucial community and health care education. The increased access to care it provides has improved the health of the community and saved hundreds of lives in Haiti.  
The Service to the Community Award is not a first for Berrigan. She also received the Physician Assistant Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants in 1999.  
The Alumni Association encourages all members of the alumni and university community to participate in the awards process by sharing the achievements of fellow alumni, colleagues and friends with the Honors and Awards Committee. Nominations for any award may be submitted throughout the year, and will be held for future consideration. For more information, please contact Lauren Villanueva at