Corewell Health West VP honored by NAACP for Health Equity Work

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 27, 2022 — Candace Smith-King, MD, vice president, academic affairs, Corewell Health West, formerly Spectrum Health, received the 2022 Health Equity Award from the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP.

The Greater Grand Rapids division of the historic civil rights organization recognized Dr. Smith-King during the 56th Annual Freedom Fund Gala and Awards held Oct. 21 in downtown Grand Rapids.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized with such a meaningful award from the NAACP,” Dr. Smith-King said. “Our work in health equity continues here at Corewell Health where we have an ongoing commitment to the many diverse communities we serve across the state of Michigan.”

The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. In support of these efforts, the NAACP’s Health Equity Award recognizes individuals who selflessly share their time and talents with their local communities, churches, schools and similar organizations.

A 2020 recipient of Crain’s Notable Women in Health award, Dr. Smith-King has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to providing equitable care for all, and is a long-time advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She joined the academic general pediatrics practice at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in 2009, which offered the opportunity to teach medical students and residents while caring for the underserved. This teaching opportunity was broadened in 2012 when she became the program director for the pediatric residency program.

In 2016, Dr. Smith-King, Talawnda Bragg, MD, and Lisa Lowery, MD, formed the Resident Diversity Council at Corewell Health West with the mission to increase diversity in the hospital’s sponsored residency and fellowship training programs and to ensure the programs mirror the diverse West Michigan community they serve.

In 2018, Dr. Smith-King became the designated institutional official and vice president of academic affairs at Corewell Health West, where she has continued her mission for health equity.

In 2020, she, along with Nirali Bora, MD, medical director of the Kent County Health Department, received funding for a proposal for the Health Equity and Leadership Scholars program. The program supports diversifying the resident physician workforce by helping residents from the organization’s three-year residency programs (emergency medicine, internal medicine, family medicine or pediatrics) pursue a health equity scholarly project involving leadership, advocacy, scholarship or community engagement, and providing them with a yearly scholarship. Participants are paired with a faculty mentor and serve as mentors themselves to medical students in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine chapter of the Student National Medical Association.


About Corewell Health West

Corewell Health West, formerly Spectrum Health, is a not-for-profit health system serving 13 counties in West Michigan. Corewell Health West is a region of Corewell Health, formerly the BHSH System (Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health) that provides care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 22 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving over 1.2 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit or

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