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Metairie Country Club was the setting for an extraordinary evening of celebrating the best in medicine in Southeast Louisiana. More than 160 people attended Friday's Celebration of Medicine & Awards Night sponsored by Medical Association of Southeast Louisiana (MASELA)Jefferson Parish Medical Society (JPMS) and Orleans Parish Medical Society (OPMS). George S. Ellis, Jr, M.D., served as Master of Ceremonies.

First recognitions of the evening were of Celebration Partners including LAMMICO, LCMC Health, Ochsner Health, and Tulane School of Medicine for their contributions of $5,000 each to the event. Cocktail reception sponsors ($2,500) were LSU School of Medicine, LSU School of Medicine Foundation, and Tulane Center for Women’s Health. The Awards Sponsor ($1,250) was West Jefferson General Medical CenterEagle Capital Management, LLC, Millcreek Financial and WJ Industrial Medicine were Event Sponsors. We are appreciate these generous donations which will support MASELA and our LifeBridge Counseling Program.

Passing the gavel of leadership were Dr George Ellis, Jr., 2022 President of MASELA to Gabriella Pridjian, M.D., MBA, 2023 President, and Eric Ehrensing, M.D., 2022 President of Jefferson Parish Medical Society, to Jonathan Boraski, M.D., 2023 PresidentMichael Wheelis, M.D., President of OPMS was recognized as he is serving a two-year term 2022 and 2023. Past presidents of all three organizations were recognized.

Also physicians graduating 50 years ago from medical school who practiced in the area and are current or past members of JPMS, OPMS and/or MASELA were recognized for their contributions to the communities they serve. On hand to receive recognition from Dr. Ellis, Dr. Pridjian, and Mrs. Gail Louapre, President of Orleans/Jefferson Medical Society Alliance, and their peers were Edwin N. Beckman, M.D., John Hevron, M.D., Bennie Nobles, Jr., M.D. Meade H. Phelps, Jr., M.D., William Rolston III, M.D., Eugene Tilton, Jr., M.D., Robert Ancira, M.D., William M. Long, M.D., and Rene A. Louapre, III, M.D. See a complete list of 50-year physicians. 

Another highlight of the celebratory evening was the presentation of MASELA’s 2023 Awards for Public Health Leadership (Recipient: Holly Gore Groh, M.D.) Physician Well-being Champion (Recipient: Nigel Girgrah, M.D.) Patient and Physician Advocate (Jamie Kuo, M.D.), and Medical Role Model (Amelia Jernigan, M.D.). Each of these deserving recipients, all with cheering sections, provided remarks of inspiration and encouragement of physicians to get involved on behalf of their patients and communities. 

MASELA’s Lifetime Achievement in Medicine Award was presented posthumously to Donald J. Palmisano, M.D., JD, FACS for decades of extraordinary leadership in organized medicine serving as president of LSMS and of the American Medical Association. Mrs. Donald (Robin) Palmisano accepted the award after a standing ovation. Dr. Palmisano passed in late November. Members of Dr. Palmisano's family were also present.

Dr. Ellis and Dr. Pridjian recognized the contributions and leadership of Jodi Schwing, Chief Operations Officer for MASELA, as she is pursuing a new career opportunity. We wish her well. Special recognition was given to Ms. Susan D’Antoni, MASELA’s Chief Strategy & Advancement Officer, for planning the exceptional event.

The goals of celebrating physicians, recognizing accomplishments, collegiality, and raising awareness of MASELA, JPMS and OPMS were achieved through this event which is part of the strategic plan for the organizations. 

MASELA is your cheerleader and advocate. If you are not a member, we encourage you to join and get involved!

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MASELA’s mission is to unify and empower physicians in Southeast Louisiana to enhance medical care and the quality of life in our community.


MASELA’s vision is to create a medical practice environment which supports and encourages physicians’ professional satisfaction and well-being and enables them to provide accessible, equitable, and quality medical care.


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