Iyesatta Massaquoi, 2002 Award Winner
At the time a student in her final year at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Iyesatta Massaquoi won the Margolis Award for her powerful stories about the impact of Sierra Leone's brutal, long-running civil war on its children. An estimated 200,000 people lost their lives and another two million were displaced by that war.
"I was raised in Sierra Leone, and it is there that I came to appreciate the resilience of the human spirit," she said. "Sierra Leone is full of unheard voices, untold stories and unsung heroes whose everyday struggles speak to the depth of human perseverance."
After completing her medical school training, Massaquoi planned to continue integrating writing and medicine as a way to address human suffering and social injustice. In January 2003 she planned to return to Sierra Leone for more work collecting fact-based stories about Sierra Leone's children, meeting with child soldiers, child rebels, orphans, disabled children, internally displaced children, and refugees to gain a sense of the complexity of their experiences.
As of July 2018, Massaquoi was an assistant professor and emergency-medicine physician at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, having worked clinically in Ghana, Uganda, Malawi and Sierra Leone. She also was serving as the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) international ambassador to Sierra Leone, working to advocate and promote evolution of emergency medicine in Sierra Leone.