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For immediate release: April 22, 2024

DES MOINES — The Iowa Medical Society (IMS) proudly announces the recipients of its esteemed awards for 2024, recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations for their exceptional contributions to public health and the field of healthcare.

Urban Bicycle Food Ministry: Washington Freeman Peck Award

The Iowa Medical Society presented the 2024 Washington Freeman Peck Award to Urban Bicycle Food Ministry for its remarkable dedication to public health in the greater Des Moines area. The award, given annually, acknowledges lay organizations for their outstanding contributions to the well-being of the community. Urban Bicycle Food Ministry has been significant in preparing and delivering food and hundreds of personal items to those in need, showcasing a steadfast commitment to the betterment of public health.

Vallery Griffis at Corinthian Free Clinic: John F. Sanford Award

Vallery Griffis, Clinic Administrator at Corinthian Free Clinic, was selected as the recipient of the 2024 John F. Sanford Award. This honor, bestowed annually, celebrates lay individuals who have made remarkable contributions to public health or healthcare.

The IMS Board of Directors commends Vallery Griffis for her dedication to the Corinthian Free Clinic, where she plays a pivotal role in ensuring the care team operates at their full capacity. Her commitment to supporting minority health initiatives within the clinic and the community has significantly impacted public health.

Dr. Marygrace Elson: Merit Award

Marygrace Elson, MD, was honored with the prestigious 2024 Merit Award, one of the highest accolades bestowed by IMS. This annual award recognizes a physician’s exceptional contributions to the medical profession and IMS. Dr. Elson, Professor emeritus, OBG, at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics was awarded for her dedication to advancing the practice of medicine in Iowa, her valuable service to IMS, and her commitment to the society’s mission.

These awards reflect IMS’ longstanding tradition of honoring those who tirelessly contribute to the enhancement of public health and the medical profession. The recipients were celebrated at the President’s Reception April 19 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, preceding the installation of new IMS President Christina Taylor, MD.

About us

The Iowa Medical Society, established in 1850, is the largest and oldest statewide professional association for Iowa physicians representing more than 6,000 members. Our mission is to advance the practice of medicine through advocacy, education, and engagement with physicians throughout Iowa to ensure the highest quality of care for the patients they serve. Visit for more information.


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