The CARAH Awards are the premiere recognition awards in the Caribbean American community. The 2009 Gala is chaired by Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-USVI) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and held under the patronage of the Caribbean Diplomatic corps, and honors and celebrates individuals of Caribbean heritage who have been standard bearers of excellence, and who have made positive contributions to the American and international landscape.
Hon. Shirley Nathan Pulliam was born on the island of Jamaica and is a well-respected Delegate in the Maryland House of Delegates. She has over 35 years of service as a political and community activist. This service includes over 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates. She is the first Caribbean born person elected to the Maryland General Assembly since its inception. Some of her present committee assignments in the Maryland House of Delegates include Health and Government Operations Committee, Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families Committee and the Joint Committee on Health Care Delivery and Financing. In 2007, she served as the President of the Women Legislators of Maryland session; she is also a former chair of the Black Caucus Health Committee and former Vice Chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus.
By profession, Delegate Pulliam is a Registered Nurse, with several years of experience in nursing administration. She has served as a quality assurance coordinator, head nurse and team leader at hospitals in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Delegate Pulliam has been a leading advocate for better health care for the underserved and has played major roles in sponsoring legislative bills promoting the reduction of health care disparity. This dedication to public service has not gone unnoticed. Delegate Pulliam has received numerous awards and honors, which include : Monumental Medical Society Pioneer of the Year Award 2007, 2008 Legislator of the Year by the Mental Health Association of Maryland and in 2005 she received the American Public Health Association Distinguished Health Legislator of the Year award.
Other Honorees include Willard Wigan MBE, MicroSculptor and ‘Icon of the Impossible’; Dr. Anthony Kalloo, Chief of Gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins Hospital; Lynton Scotland, VP Operational Excellence, NRG Energy; George Willie, CEO, Bert Smith & Co., and Alison Hinds, Soca Diva.
The Gala will be co-hosted by John Blake, Host, Caribbean Experience, WHUR FM 96.3 and Maureen Bunyan, Anchor, ABC TV7.
Past keynote speakers and honorees include : Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados; Black Enterprise publisher Earl Graves, legendary actress Cicely Tyson; Hon. Eric Holder, US Attorney General; Dr. Cato Laurencin, Vice President, University of Connecticut Hospital; and Dr. Velma Scantlebury, Kidney Transplant Surgeon.