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Johns Hopkins-trained cardiologist Athol Morgan has a ready answer when asked why he has stayed a cardiologist at Grace Medical Center, in west Baltimore, for the past 40 years. The son of a physician in rural Jamaica, he explains, he learned at a young age how badly people in certain areas need a doctor they can trust.

“That model stuck with me, as did the way my father treated everyone from the richest man in town to those who were penniless and down on their luck exactly the same,” he said. At Grace Medical Center, Morgan said, it’s the same for him.

“In the course of a week, I may treat people who are homeless drug addicts, but I may also treat a nationally elected politician. Same amount of effort, same level of respect.”

A 1982 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Morgan said his greatest challenge as a

physician has been working in “an increasingly failing health system.

“I have refused to succumb to the temptation to go along and have instead endured, putting more in and getting less out. It has been frustrating but deeply rewarding.”

Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of Life-Bridge Health, the nonprofit health care corporation that owns Grace Medical Center, called Morgan “a leading resource for underserved communities in west Baltimore, educating the public and his patients on how to avoid heart disease and giving them access to the care they need.

“Throughout his career, he has gravitated to where the need is most critical and done all he can to meet those needs.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.