HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is pleased to announce that Dr. David McEwan has been named the recipient of the 2020 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award. McEwan is being honored for his outstanding contributions to HIV/AIDS services in Hawai‘i. The award will be presented during the annual World AIDS Day ceremony in Honolulu, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
McEwan, a native of Canada, resolved to become a doctor at the age of eight. Five years later, he read about Father Damien, the Catholic priest who devoted his life to caring for people with Hansen’s disease (more commonly known as leprosy) on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Deeply moved by Father Damien’s example, McEwan dreamt of one day devoting his abilities to helping people at the margins of society. After graduating from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1972, he set off to hitchhike around the world. But as soon as his feet touched the sand in Hawai’i, he knew he was home.
For the past 40 years, McEwan has provided vital contributions to HIV/AIDS care and prevention services in Hawai’i. As the first physician in the state to care for persons with HIV/AIDS, he has dedicated his professional life to providing excellent care and to educating clinicians in the state on how to best provide care for their patients with HIV/AIDS. In addition to serving as one of the few providers of quality HIV primary care in the state, he has and continues to be a unique contributor to HIV care through his advocacy role. He co-founded Hawai’i’s first AIDS Service Organization (ASO), the Life Foundation (now Hawai’i Health & Harm Reduction Center) on O‘ahu. This was one of the first ASO’s in the nation and it continues to provide essential case management, prevention, and support services for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Suzanne Richmond-Crum passed away in August 2004 after serving for more than 10 years as director of the Hawai‘i Seropositivity and Medical Management Program (HSPAMM) of the DOH Harm Reduction Services Branch. The award was established in honor of the competence and compassion she demonstrated in her HIV/AIDS work, and is presented each year to an individual in Hawai‘i for their outstanding contribution in providing HIV/AIDS services. The year 2020 will mark the 17th annual bestowing of this honor.
This year’s World AIDS Day will be commemorated with an O’ahu community event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. This virtual ceremony (on ZOOM) will be hosted by the Church of the Crossroads, in Honolulu. For more information on this and all statewide World AIDS Day events, go to: https://worldaidsdayhawaii.org/.