MIAMI BEACH — “To whom much is given, much is required.”
This biblical quotation, in Luke 12:48, is a motto of renowned medical intellect and Miami native Dr. Nelson L. Adams III.
A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, Adams was recently named chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Jackson North Medical Center, the first African-American to receive such an honor.
On Dec. 12, Adams will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from The James Wilson Bridges, M.D. Medical Society, Inc. of South Florida, at the Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach.
Also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award will be Dr. William L. Donley, Dr. John T. McAdory, and Dr. George A. Simpson. The Community Service Award will go to Dr. Gershwin T. Blyden, according to Dr. Cheryl Holder, the organization’s president.
Adams, who has his own medical practice, is also president and chairman of Access Health Solutions (AHS), a managed-care company that provides services in 26 counties in Florida.
Under Dr. Adams’ leadership and his keen focus on both access and quality, Access Health Solutions has grown from humble beginnings to serving more than 94,000 beneficiaries with 525 healthcare providers.
He was also the first African-American chief of staff at North Shore Medical Center in Miami.
Adams attributes his success to his parents, both of whom were educators in the Miami-Dade County Public School system. His mother, Bahamian-rooted Naomi A. Adams, and his father, the late Alabama native Nelson L. Adams, always demanded academic achievement and excellence.
“I came up in a very supportive, strong, loving and opinionated family household,’’ Adams said. “The role my father played as a school principal helped to mold the type of influence he’s had on my life as a great motivator. My mother truly understood how important education was.’’
Adams is a product of the Miami-Dade County Public School system himself. He later graduated from Howard University with an undergraduate degree. He earned his medical degree at
Nashville, Tennessee’s own Meharry Medical College, where he was named Student of the Year in his freshman year, and served as president of the Meharry Chapter of the Student National Medical Association. Soon afterward, he completed his four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University in 1982.
Before coming back to Miami, Adams practiced medicine in Mobile, Alabama for three years, where he became a founding member of the Bay Area Medical Association, an affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA).
His passion is to continue to be a medical leader who is passionately committed to eliminating racial and ethnic inequality in the medical field.
He said the doctor who delivered him, along with his pediatrician, were role models who influenced his decision to enter the field of medicine.
“So often, kids don’t see folks of color doing excellent things, especially in the time I was growing up in Overtown in the ‘60s,” Adams told the South Florida Times.
In 1992, Adams founded the Maternal Child Health Initiative, an award-winning model for providing care to at-risk, low-income, pregnant women. The highly successful Maternal Child Health Initiative used a multi-tiered intervention that addressed the psychological, social and medical needs of expectant mothers.
Throughout his prolific career, Adams’ leadership and community service has reached across academic, religious, fraternal and charitable institutions. In April 2008, Adams launched the "Walk a Mile with a Child" initiative in Overtown. This is an annual event intended to highlight community health education.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there are more than 300,000 deaths each year in the United States associated with obesity, and all overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
Adams introduced the “Walk a Mile with a Child” project to combat these shocking statistics.
“This was launched to show kids the significance of physical activity. More importantly, it actually linked a child with an adult and both would physically walk that mile with the intent that there is compelling and encouraging dialogue between the two,” Adams said.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and a proud member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity – the “Boule” – and a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Adams is also a beloved and active member of the historic St. John Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and chairman of the Board of the Churches Community Development Corporation.
With all his earned accomplishments and accolades, Adams said that at the end of the day, his family and faith keep him focused and grounded.
He is married to Effie Jones Adams. Together, they are the proud parents of Victoria, 21, and Nelson IV, 17.
“He is an exceptional, God-fearing man who has dedicated his career to improving the health of the community,’’ said Holder, president of the James Wilson Bridges M.D, Medical Society that is giving Adams the award. “He always remembers from where he came and from whom he derives his strength.’’
Holder continued: “He has a motto that he uses at the end of every speech, and his life is exemplary of the motto: ‘Good, Better, Best, never let it rest, ‘til your good becomes your better and your better your best.’ ‘’
Photo: Dr. Nelson L. Adams
IF YOU GO:
What: The James Wilson Bridges, M.D. Medical Society presents its Lifetime Achievement Awards.
When: 7 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Dec. 12.
Where: The Eden Roc hotel, 4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
Cost: $100. A portion of the ticket is tax-deductible, benefiting the medical society’s student scholarship.
Contact: For more information, call 305 893-2582 or log onto http://www.jwbms.com.