Northern Illinois Native Receives AMA’s Medal of Valor for Medical Work in Africa

CHICAGOThe American Medical Association (AMA) presented Susan L. Nagele, M.D., a lay missioner, with its Medal of Valor for her life-long work leading primary health care programs in Africa today at its semi-annual policy making meeting.

“It is an honor to present Dr. Nagele with this award in recognition of her selfless work to improve the health of African people,” said AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Her commitment to helping provide much needed health care to underserved patients is an inspiration to her fellow physicians.”

Dr. Nagele currently works as the medical consultant to the Kenyan Health Care Coordinator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa and oversees 19 health units. Dr. Nagele moved to the south of Sudan to begin a primary health care program for the Diocese of Torit in 1991. She established multiple dispensaries and health centers throughout various parishes. Dr. Nagele began a tuberculosis treatment program that cared for over 500 patients before it was closed due to war. At one point, she was the only physician for more than 30,000 displaced people in two camps.

Her interest in helping the underserved began after Dr. Nagele participated in mission trips to Appalachia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Nagele decided to become a lay missioner for the Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful in 1984. She spent six years in Tanzania, where she renovated a health center and provided primary health care to those in need.

Dr. Nagele received her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois and completed her medical degree from the University of Southern Illinois.

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