Gina Wadas Recognized For Outstanding Community Service

Headshot of Gina Wadas. She has chin length brown hair and green eyes. She is wearing a v-neck black shirt and and silver chain around her neck.

Recipients of the 2023 Community Service Award and 2024 Levi Watkins Jr. Ideals Award will be honored at Johns Hopkins’ annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration on Jan. 12

Nine faculty, staff members, and students from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine have been selected to receive the 2023 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service, a special honor recognizing those whose commitment to others embodies King’s legacy of service and equality. Whether they spend their time aiding refugees, expanding access to high-quality science education, or advocating for those with disabilities, this year’s award recipients have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of their neighbors.

Additionally, Erica Martin Richards, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Sibley Memorial Hospital’s chair and medical director for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, recently received the 2024 Levi Watkins Jr. Ideals Award. Named in honor of Levi Watkins, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s first Black chief resident and full professor, this award is given annually to a leader at Johns Hopkins Hospital who has made an outstanding contribution to the institution.

All 10 award recipients will be honored during Johns Hopkins’ 42nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, which will be held on Friday, Jan. 12, in the Chevy Chase Auditorium in East Baltimore. The event will include a keynote speech from former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, and will also be livestreamed.

Gina Wadas, who joined Johns Hopkins in 2017, has led her office’s annual holiday-giving efforts for the past six years. Following her lead, Wadas’s coworkers have participated in the Vernon Rice Memorial Holiday Turkey Program, the Adopt-a-Family program, and the Adopt-a-Senior program, donating gifts, clothing, meals, and gift cards to those in need.

Wadas is also an ambassador for the Office of Sustainability, which seeks waste reduction through better recycling, compost, and incineration bin use. Before moving to Oella, Maryland, in July, Wadas typically spent a few hours each week picking up trash on the streets, sidewalks, and alleys around her Remington neighborhood in Baltimore.

Wadas encourages other staff members to look for volunteering and donation opportunities, noting that “Hopkins offers so many ways to give back.”

“I don’t believe in the self-made person concept,” Wadas said. “We all get by with help from people in some way.”

Read the full story on the Hub to learn about all the recipients.