J. Michael Brennan, a partner in the Towson office of Miles and Stockbridge, has been elected chair of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Brennan has served on the Habitat affiliate’s board for eight years, helping to oversee its merger with two other Habitat affiliates, Arundel Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of Howard County. He is supervising the organization’s search for a new CEO. Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake serves Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Cardiologist Elijah Saunders, professor of medicine and head of the Section of Hypertension at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has received the 2011 Herbert W. Nickens Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The Nickens Award honors individuals for outstanding contributions to promote justice in medical education and health care equality. For more than 50 years, Dr. Saunders has worked to achieve medical equality and eradicate health care disparities. He is an expert on hypertension in African-Americans, consistently recognized for his patient education efforts to raise awareness of high blood pressure and for his exploration of new treatment options for African-Americans. He has devoted his career to developing innovative programs to reach patients in non-traditional settings, such as barber shops, to educate at-risk patients about the importance of cardiovascular health. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from what was then Morgan State College, Dr. Saunders was the first African-American resident in internal medicine at the University of Maryland in 1960 and the first African-American cardiologist in Maryland in 1965. After operating a private practice for 20 years, Dr. Saunders joined the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he pursued research that advanced treatment options for hypertension. He also played an instrumental role in the desegregation of University of Maryland hospital wards in the 1960s; co-founded the Association of Black Cardiologists and later served as chairman of the board and president; co-founded, and was past president and past chairman of the board of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks; co-founded the Heart House of the American College of Cardiology; co-founded the American Society of Hypertension; received the Louis B. Russell Award for contributions to cardiovascular minority health; served as chair of the cardiology section of the National Medical Association; and was honored by Associated Black Charities in 2009 as a “Living Legend.”