BUFFALO, N.Y. — A former Jacobs School of Medicine student at the University at Buffalo received the American Red Cross Real Hero Medical Award for her activism in medicine.

Dr. Karole Collier, M.D. is a surgery resident at the Hospital of the University at Pennsylvania who spent her career as a student working to affect change and celebrate the resiliency of people of color in the medical field.

"It stems from the lived experience of not having anyone to lead the path at times for me, and wanting so desperately to have someone with my experience, or my background, or my family makeup," said Collier.

Faculty member and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg, explained the legacy Collier has left on the community since her graduation in spring 2021.

"She is one of these rare individuals that walks into a school, an organization, and changes it," he said. "Karole helped us write a curriculum around social justice and health equity. Karole kept us motivated to stay strong to inspire others."

Throughout her time as a student and activist, she also founded a clothing line called “Twice as Hard Apparel” that encourages and celebrates people of color who face overcome racism, financial hardships and small support systems as they work to achieve their dreams in medicine.

Collier says she continues to work on her clothing and activism, while also working as a surgery resident.

Friday on Your Morning on Spectrum News 1, we'll introduce you to a Red Cross volunteer who in a moment of crisis took action without hesitation.