(MEMPHIS, TN) Medtronic Spinal’s chapter of the African Descent Network will award Dr. Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. with its inaugural Trailblazer Honor today. Dr. Robinson is Pastor of St. Andrew AME Church and the first African-American President/CEO of United Way of the Mid-South.

Medtronic SpinalDictionary.com defines “Trailblazer” as a person who creates a trail for others to follow; an innovator; a pioneer.  Dr. Robinson epitomizes this word and is recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Memphis community.  He was selected based on the following criteria:

  •  Recruiting & Retaining Diversity
  •  Cultural Awareness
  •  Broadening Inclusion outside of Corporate Environment
  •  Promoting Memphis
  •  Aligns with Key Business Strategic Health Care Priorities
Dr. Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D.

Dr. Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D.

“The African Descent Network is a diverse group of employees who want to make our company and our community a better place through inclusion and advocacy,” said Brian Ellis, Vice President, Chief Counsel, and Executive Leader for Medtronic’s African Descent Network. “We created the Trailblazer program to honor individuals outside of Medtronic who share our goals and set strong examples in leadership and community impact, and Dr. Robinson was an obvious candidate.”

Dr. Robinson has a long history of serving our community as a leader at the highest levels of influence and impact. He was the first African-American to hold the position of Tennessee Commissioner of Health (2003-2007) and has served as Health Program and Policy Consultant and County Health Officer to the Mayor of Shelby County since 2008.

Dr. Robinson’s leadership gained the attention of United Way of America (now United Way Worldwide) in the 1990s and the organization awarded him its Community Builder of the Year award in 2000. The award recognized his local volunteer work with United Way and his work in our South Memphis community through St. Andrew AME Church and its numerous health and human service programs. He is also the Founder of The Works, a very effective nonprofit that partners with United Way to impact lives in the Memphis area.

His bi-professional background as both physician and pastor has given him the ability to see the interrelationships between faith and healing, for individuals and communities.

Dr. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Harvard University (1975); the Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard Medical School (1979); and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School (1986).

The recognition ceremony will take place at Medtronic Spinal’s Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee today in celebration of Black History Month.

(Note: Medtronic Spinal staff contributed to the writing of this report.)