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On the night of February 6th, 2016, close to 500 distinguished guests gathered for the 66th annual Polish American Physician’s Ball at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago. The annual charity ball coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Polish American Medical Society in Chicago.
Many prominent professionals were present at this year’s ball, and each was specially welcomed during the speech presented by the PAMS society’s president, Dr. Kornelia Krol. First, several politicians, who have been deeply involved with the Polish community came to the stage and presented highlights of their work. The society welcomed the governor of the state of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, US Senator Mark Kirk and US Representative Bob Dold. Additionally, the society welcomed the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Washington D.C., Ryszard Schnepf and the Consul of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, Robert Rusiecki.
Among other distinguished guests, the ball was also attended by the president of the Regional Medical Council in Cracow, Poland, Dr. Andrzej Matyja, the president-elect of the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Adrianne Fregia, the president of the Federation of Polish Medical Organizations Abroad, Dr. Marek Rudnicki, and Chief Executive Officer of Medicover’s Polish Division, John Stubbington.
Local area hospitals and medical organizations were also represented at the ball. The PAMS society welcomed The University of Chicago Medical Center, represented by Emilio Williams, the Director of International Programs and James Bae, Regional Manager of International Programs. Chief Executive Officer Rich Floyd represented Lutheran General Hospital. Loyola University Medical Center was also represented by several academic faculty members. Presence Resurrectional Medical Center, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Alexian Brothers Medical Center were also in attendance. Two hospitals in Poland were also represented by executives: Medicover Hospital in Warsaw was represented by Ashley Livesey, the hospital’s medical director and Ludwik Rydgier Hospital in Cracow was represented by Bozena Kazanecka. In total, guests at the ball traveled from 9 states and 2 countries.
The PAMS society president, Dr. Kornelia Krol, continued the society’s annual tradition and welcomed 5 new honorary members to the society, all of whom were present at the ball. These impressive professionals are known for their work around the world, and have attained incredible achievement in their fields of study. Unfortunately, too often, many of us are unaware of these individuals’ accomplishments. As Polish Americans, we should be incredibly proud of these honorary members and share their stories with our Polish community in Chicago. Many of these special guests were present at the Consulate event.
The first honorary guest introduced was Professor Andrzej Jakubowiak. Dr. Jakubowiak is the only one this year who is representing our hometown of Chicago, although not long ago, he came to the University of Chicago Medicine from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Jakubowiak is a world-renowned expert on multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in a patient’s bone marrow. He is now the director of the Myeloma Program at University of Chicago, which was recognized in 2014 by the Accelerator Award as the best program of its kind in North America. Dr. Jakubowiak is a proud graduate of the medical university in Poznan.
The second honorary guest present at the ball was Professor Jerzy Krol. Dr. Krol is the chief of Neuroradiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the best centers for diagnostics and treatment of cancers in the world. Dr. Krol is a professor at Weil-Cornell University. He has achieved many awards throughout his career for his innovations in the field of neuroradiology. Last year, he also won the award “Outstanding Pole in New York.” Dr. Krol is a graduate of the medical university in Krakow.
The third honorary guest welcomed at the ball was Professor Jaroslaw Maciejewski. Dr. Maciejewski is a world-renowned expert in hematologic oncology and blood disorders and the chief of Hematologic Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic. He finished his medical school studies in Berlin.
The fourth honorary guest was Professor Andrzej Matyja, the chief of general surgery and GI at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He is also the president of Malopolskiej Izby Lekarskiej. He has also achieved many awards throughout his career, including ““Gloria Medicinae” and the “Gold Order of Merit.”
The fifth honorary guest this year was Professor Malgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska, an incredibly accomplished radiologist, and the chief of radiology at the Medical University in Lublin. Dr. Trojanowska is an honorary member of radiological associations in 9 countries, an award recipient from the European Radiological Society, as well as the American Association for Women Radiologists and the Radiological Society of North America.
Finally, the guest of honor of this year’s ball, Alex Storozynski, was also present. Alex Storozynski is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, award winning author, and the President and Executive Director of The Kosciuszko Foundation.
Two more special awards were given out. First, Emilio Williams, Director of International Programs at University of Chicago Medicine received recognition for his continued involvement and cooperation with the Polish community in Chicago and Medicover Hospital in Warsaw. The medical society in Chicago was able to help create a link between Medicover and the University of Chicago Medicine, which has resulted in cooperation between the two institutions.
Secondly, Dr. Kornelia Krol also received a special recognition, which was presented by Professor Andrzej Matyja representing Regional Medical Council in Cracow.
After the presentation of awards, the ball continued under the direction of two very special hosts, television host and media personality, Candace Jordan, and ABC news anchor and reporter, Alan Krashesky.
Ball guests also enjoyed special performances by local area Polish dancing group, Polonia Ensemble as well as a unique private concert by legendary group, Boney M. Celebrations and dancing continued well into the night.
The main goals for this annual ball are charitable. All of the funds raised are donated in entirety to charitable causes. Over the last 16 years, PAMS has proudly raised over $250,000 for foundations focused on scholarships for Polish American medical, dental and veterinary students. PAMS has also donated to scholarship funds for students coming to America from Poland in an effort to further their education or research.
Traditionally, the PAMS society also chooses a special Polish organization each year, for which donations are raised at the annual ball. Last year, this organization was Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego w Illinois, or the Polish Scouting and Guiding Organization of Illinois. This year, the tradition continued for a 25th year. PAMS chose to raise money for the well-known Polish Symphony Orchestra. In total, PAMS has donated over $100,000 to Polish organizations over the last 24 years.
Kornelia Krol, M.D