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Founder of Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra Jeri Lynne Johnson to Receive 2021 Woman One Award

Director of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership® Lynn Yeakel with Previous Woman One Scholars


February 25, 2021

The Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine will present the Woman One Award to Jeri Lynne Johnson, Founder and Artistic Director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, on April 26, 2021, in a livestreamed webcast from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Woman One program honors an outstanding woman for her leadership in the Philadelphia community and raises scholarship funds for talented, underrepresented women in medicine who are studying at the College of Medicine.

“We are very proud to honor Jeri Lynne Johnson for her unique talent, leadership contributions and example that contribute to our quality of life,” said Lynn Yeakel, director of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. “We are proud also to support the Woman One Scholars, whose dedication to medicine and science will improve the health and well-being of so many.”

Johnson established the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in 2008. Her concert performances have won critical acclaim and earned numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Johnson’s innovative community engagement programs have made the Black Pearl the only organization in the nation ever to win three prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grants.

A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago, Johnson has been featured on many national television and radio programs. She sits on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Einstein Health, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the “Grammys”), and the Boards of the Philadelphia Award and Philanthropi Charitable Foundation.

The Woman One Award honors Johnson’s commitment to civic engagement and leadership in arts and culture.

Over 17 years, the Woman One program has raised more than $3 million and has supported scholarships for 32 current and graduate scholars at the College of Medicine. Scholars are selected for their academic achievements, leadership qualities and community service and receive $100,000 in tuition support from the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership over four years. Many graduate scholars now work as physicians in medically underserved communities across the United States and have been fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

“I am delighted and honored to have my work recognized alongside the accomplishments of such illustrious past honorees and I salute the talented and dedicated women whose work is supported through the Woman One program,” said Johnson. “The examples of their leadership, passion for service and skill in healing are needed now more than ever.”

For the first time this year, the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership plans to present a $100,000 D. Walter Cohen Shared Leadership Scholarship, which will benefit a talented, underrepresented man who is entering Drexel University College of Medicine. Named for D. Walter Cohen, DDS, the Chancellor Emeritus of Drexel University College of Medicine, the D. Walter Cohen Shared Leadership Scholarship is an extension of the Woman One program, honoring the importance of shared leadership among women and men, while also addressing the serious problem of declining medical school applications from underrepresented men in medicine. 

Past Woman One Award honorees include Estelle Richman (2003), Leslie Anne Miller (2004), Dawn Staley (2005), Suzanne Roberts (2006), Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD (2007), Stephanie Naidoff (2008), Jane Pepper (2009), Eliana Papadakis (2010), Sara Manzano-Díaz (2011), Dianne Semingson (2012), Lisa Thomas Laury (2013), Laurada Byers (2014), Lynne Honickman (2015), Reneé Amoore (2016), Molly Shepard (2017), Gloria Twine Chisum, PhD (2018), and Eileen McDonnell (2019).