Dr. Ala Stanford ’91, ’97g is a pediatric surgeon and advocate for healthcare equity. In her current role as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ regional director, she ensures communities across her six-state region have access to the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy, with a particular emphasis on advancing equity in all aspects of health care.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford created the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium in response to disparities in the health-care system that created barriers to testing and disproportionally high rates of COVID-19 infection and death among minority residents. The consortium brought together more than 200 healthcare professionals to bring testing—and, later, vaccinations—to thousands of residents in Philadelphia’s minority neighborhoods. In 2021, she expanded the consortium’s scope, creating the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity.
Stanford has received many accolades, notably a: 2021 Top 10 CNN Hero, USA Today’s Pennsylvania Woman of the Year, and 2021 George H.W. Bush Points of Light Award Recipient. Most recently, she led a FEMA mission, Region 3 Team, to vaccinate students in Philadelphia School District and a mobile vaccination unit in hard-hit Southeastern Pennsylvania neighborhoods. She was recognized by Forbes magazine as a woman over 50 changing the world and by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 Greatest Leaders.
She also is the founder of R.E.A.L. Concierge Medicine, a medical consulting and health advocacy service. She has served as director of pediatric surgery at Abington Memorial Hospital and director of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities at Temple University’s School of Medicine.
Stanford began her college career at Penn State Behrend, where she created the track and field program, graduating from Penn State Eberly College of Science at University Park, with a degree in Biology. She continued her education at the College of Medicine, receiving her medical degree in 1997. She is the first African American female pediatric surgeon to be trained entirely in the United States.
Stanford is a life member of the Alumni Association and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Byron Drayton, and three sons.