Updated: Sep 12
We’re screaming CONGRATULATIONS to longtime GASP board member Maren Cooke, who was recently named an Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation awardee.
The annual Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation (also known as ACMSF) awards recognize outstanding efforts by physicians, health care professionals and others who have significantly advanced patient care, contributed to improving the health of the community, served the medical profession, provided exceptional leadership, or enhanced the quality of patient care and safety.
Maren will be honored with the Benjamin Rush Individual Award, which recognizes a non-physician who is making a positive impact on community health.
“For those who don’t know her, Maren is a true renaissance woman – a scientist, educator, activist, master gardener, wife, mother, artist and musician,” outgoing GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “GASP is so fortunate to have someone with her experience and passion fighting alongside us for cleaner air for all.”
Filippini noted that Maren selected GASP as her charitable organization to receive a $1,000 donation on her behalf.
“We are so grateful for the donation,” she added. “The money will be spent doing what we do best: Watchdog work, education, and progressive policy advocacy.”
Maren earned a bachelor of science in physics and astronomy, (and most of a BA in studio arts, to boot) from the University of Rochester, along with a doctorate in planetary science from Cornell University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in science education and formerly worked for NASA.
She moved to Pittsburgh in 2000 and quickly became involved with GASP. But we’re not the only organization that benefits from her time and talent: She also helps lead 350 Pittsburgh, Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic, and ReImagine Food System. Maren also co-founded a school garden and school outreach program with Frick Environmental Center and serves as an urban eco steward with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and as a Tree Tender with TreePittsburgh. She organizes the Sustainability Salon, a monthly environmental education forum and community gathering. You can learn more about Maren’s work on her blog.
Dr. Edward Wrenn, who nominated Maren for the award, said she is “living proof that one individual can have a profound and even transformative effect on others.” “Maren is an inspiration and role model. She has taught me that if you see something that’s not right, that is inconsistent with your values, you must act on it,” Wrenn added.
Maren and the other 2020 and 2021 award recipients will be honored at the first ACMSF Virtual Gala Thursday, October 7.
This virtual gala will convene ACMS members and supporters to honor excellence among their peers and raise funds for a special purpose: supporting the development of a comprehensive treatment and prevention program for children with asthma in the Mon Valley region of southwestern Pennsylvania. This asthma program will include the establishment of local asthma clinics.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end and philanthropist Cameron Heyward is the featured celebrity guest – he will speak about his experiences as a child with asthma, its effects on his life today, and his humanitarian work.
Also on tap: GASP friend Dr. Deborah Gentile, a local pediatric allergy and asthma specialist, and her patients will share their experiences and describe the impact of asthma in their lives.
You can learn more about the event, the awardees, and how to attend the gala here.