Dr. Linda Walden received the Distinguished Service Medallion Award at the Georgia State Medical Association’s 125th anniversary Presidential Gala on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
It is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a member. Dr. Walden is the GSMA immediate past president and was chair of the board.
Dr. Walden practiced in Cairo for 20 years and was the first black chief of staff of Grady General Hospital and the first black female physician in the area. Then-Gov. Roy Barnes appointed her to the Composite Board of Medical Examiners, responsible for licensing physicians in the state. She has received numerous honors and awards over the years, including the prestigious National Jefferson Humanitarian Award in Washington, D.C., established by Jackie Kennedy, the highest humanitarian award honoring community and public volunteerism.
She was selected Physician of The Year by the National Medical Association, which represents 35,000 black physicians. Dr. Walden also has been inducted into the Southern Rural Black Women’s Hall of Fame. She also has been honored with the MLK Dream Award, Drum Major for Justice and Peace, awarded Most Outstanding Rural Practice in Georgia by the Georgia Rural Health Association, and named an honorary fellow by the American Academy of Family Physicians. She was founder and served as president of several nonprofit organizations including The Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, founded the Grady County Habitat For Humanity and founded the Griffin Jordan Medical Society Of Southwest Georgia that received the Medical Society of the Year award for the U.S. by the National Medical Association.
She is an active member of Bethel AME Church, Tallahassee, Florida, where she is a Sunday school teacher, sings in the choir, and is a member of the Commission on Health and the Lay Committee. She is a speaker on stress and many health-related topics and mentor to many youth encouraging them to become physicians. In 2017, Dr. Walden was elected as the National Medical Association Region III chair representing eight states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Currently, she is a primary care provider at the Valdosta VA clinic.
GSMA, founded by Dr. Henry R. Butler in Atlanta in 1893, is one of the oldest African-American and most active state medical associations in the U.S. The GSMA represents 2,500 African-American physicians in the state.
The convention theme this year was “Champions to Advance Health Equity.”