A clean-cut Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean stepped to the podium at the Harlem Hospital Center Thursday night to officially accept his role as the first Global Ambassador for New York City’s public hospitals system.
The self-described “Renaissance man” joins the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) in their new healthcare initiative, The Fund for HHC, to help raise funds for HHC programs and outreach efforts- including Harlem Hospital’s newly unveiled $325 million health care facility that showcases a gallery of original African-American paintings created under President Roosevelt’s Harlem Renaissance-era Works Progress Administration.
“As global ambassador, I am dedicated to bringing awareness to the youth… bringing healing through art and philanthropy work,” Swizz told Vibe.com. He added, “tonight is one of those nights where you want the people to contribute so that all of these beautiful things can happen and we can start expanding even bigger than this.”
The fundraising ceremony not only celebrated the opening of the center, but also honored the hospital’s legendary surgeon, Dr. John W.V. Cordice, who operated on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after he was stabbed in 1958, ultimately helping to saving his life. The 95-year-old spoke humbly of his times with the hospital and thanked his wife of 60 years.
The evening’s festivals brought out notables such as Hot 97’s Angie Martinez, Food Network’s Chef Danielle Saunders, and the evening’s mistress of ceremonies, Bevy Smith.
“To have the opportunity to hear Dr. Cordice speak is touching,” said Martinez, who was also a participant in the silent auction to raise money for the fund. “This is history, and I am honored to be apart of it.”
Added Chef Danielle Saunders: “This initiative is unbelievable. This creates jobs…creates structure…creates a place for people to have access for their needs.”
The hospital expansion represents a pivotal moment for the historic Harlem center and its communities. The pavilion— which will address the community’s high rates of asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and stroke— will expand access to preventive health services, emergency room care and specialty care and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
“I want to be the renaissance man for my generation to show them that there are so many more things that we can do out here to move this world to a forward-thinking place,” Swizz went on to say, as he officially accepted his leadership role.