by Madison V. Fisler
Nov. 5, 2013. Dr. Henry Perry, Watauga County native and founder of CurAmericas will be honored with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Medical Award of Excellence at the 29th annual Awards of Excellence in Chicago Nov. 9.
Each year year, Ronald McDonald House Charities hosts the annual Awards of Excellence celebration to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of health and well being of children. The annual event presents three Awards of Excellence to individuals selected from around the world which includes a grant of $100,000 awarded in honor of the recipients to other nonprofit organizations selected by the awardees.
In addition to honoring the individuals, the Awards of Excellence celebration includes a dinner, entertainment and a live and silent auction throughout the evening which raises funds to help Ronald McDonald House Charities to provide for families in need.
“This was a total surprise, and it is a great honor,” Perry said. “The most important part to me is that it highlights the kind of work I have done, helping to strengthen and expand programs that can help save the lives of mothers and children from preventable and easily treated diseases.”
Dr. Perry co-founded Curamericas Global in 1983, which partners with underserved communitys to improve health and well-being with a mission of “hope through health.”
Perry is no stranger to helping others in a community in need.
Perry is the grandson of Dr. H.B. Perry Sr., one of the very first doctors in Watauga County and a former state senator representing Watauga and the people residing in the county. His great-grandfather and great-grandmother Lillie Shull Dougherty and Dr. Dauphin Disco Dougherty founded and built Appalachian State University, and put that part of the High Country on the map for many.
Perry’s love for helping those in need widened its horizons when 44 years ago he spent a summer in Bolivia treating patients, and two years later worked in Nicaragua in the midst of a measles epidemic treating patients and saving lives.
“I was passionate about trying to make medical services available to the poor from the time I was a child,” Perry said. “I had the opportunity to help in Bolivia in 1969 and was very moved by the lack of medical care in rural areas. I spent three years there from 1981-1984. Over the following ten years I practiced surgery in Waynesville, but I continued to support the work we had started in Bolivia, and over that ten year period I got really passionate about community health. I eventually left my surgical practice and moved to Bangladesh, and then Haiti.”
Today, Perry not only works as director emeritus and founder of Curamericas Global Inc., but also remains Senior Associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
“In this later part of my life, I am more involved in teaching and writing, and I am looking forward to continuing that. I still help with Curamerica to promote policies and programs.”
Perry plans to use the grant that comes with the award to widen the scope of Curamerica Global Inc.
“Part of it will go to strengthen the current work in Guatemala and Liberia, part of it will go toward reconnecting in a stronger way what we had worked on in the past in Bolivia, part will go to help establish an endownment fund for those who make a request to the organization and part of it will go to our ability to help others.”