Samuel Cassell, MD, is the recipient of the 2014 Jack B. McConnell, MD, Award for Excellence in Volunteerism, presented by the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation. This award recognizes the work of senior physicians who provide treatment to patients who lack access to health care.
Dr. Cassell is the founder of the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative (BVMI) Health Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, which opened in 2009. This clinic, a member of the Volunteers in Medicine Alliance, provides free medical care to working, low-income uninsured residents of Bergen County.
In his endorsement of Cassell’s nomination, Michael Azzara, BVMI’s board chair and former president and CEO of Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, noted that “Dr. Cassell’s accomplishment in creating Bergen Volunteer Medicine Initiative is nothing short of remarkable and inspirational. After his distinguished medical career, he decided it was time to do something of significant value in helping others and make a difference. He learned of the work of Dr. Jack McConnell who established the first Volunteer in Medicine clinic and used that model to create BVMI. Dr. Cassell was on a mission, in the best sense of the word, and enlisted friends, donors, legislators, and community leaders to transform an idea into reality. He was unrelenting, passionate and convincing; many of us had no choice but to get on board and support this worthwhile mission. The obstacles were many and complex but it was his tenacity and leadership which made the difference.”
An internist with a pulmonary sub-specialty, Dr. Cassell served the Bergen community for more than 40 years in private practice and as an attending physician in Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. He is also a longtime clinical instructor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Cassell serves as an active member of the board of BVMI as well as a member of the Medical Services Committee, a key recruiter of volunteer talent, a fundraiser, and a valuable medical consultant.
For more about the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative visit www.bvmi.org.