By Paidashe Mandivengerei
ZIMBABWEAN born physician Matifadza Hlatswayo Davis has been honoured by US’ Drury University with a Distinguished Alumni Award for her media work on the Covid pandemic .
The Missouri university’s Distinguished Alumni Award was founded in 1951 to recognize individuals who have achieved professional and personal successes and demonstrated exemplary service to their community.
Hlatswayo enrolled to study science at Drury University in 2001. She was one of the outstanding individuals honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award and received the Young Alumni Award at a ceremony held on April 29.
In bestowing her with the award, the Drury award council said: “Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis found her voice, and her place in the world, as a trusted medical messenger.
“The Zimbabwe native came to Drury in 2001, sight unseen, to study science. She then went on to attend medical school at Lerner College of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and became an infectious disease doctor.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic she was called on as a medical contributor to national and international media outlets, such as BBC, CNN and Newsweek. She’s made it her personal mission to dispel disinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines.
“It’s been especially important for her to speak out, she says, because she is a Black woman, an immigrant and a new mother. Mati now serves as the director of health for the city of St. Louis.”
In September 2021, Hlatswayo was appointed director of the Department of Health of St Louis, Missouri.
She is the city’s first black female health director and has made strides in leading St Louis’ Covid-19 response and improving health service delivery.