Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D. is Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Boston, MA, and the Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School (HDS).
Dr. White-Hammond’s ministry of healing spans four decades and two continents. She served as a dedicated pediatrician at the South End Community Health Center from 1981-2008 where she provided care for resilient families from some of Boston’s most challenged communities. In order to provide additional support for her most vulnerable adolescent female patients, Dr. White-Hammond founded “Do The Write Thing” in 1994. The ministry subsequently served over 200 high-risk girls through small groups in Boston public schools, juvenile detention facilities and on-site at Bethel AME Church.
From 2001 through 2003, Dr. White-Hammond traveled to war-torn South Sudan to participate in an elaborate “underground railroad” to facilitate the freedom of more than 10,000 people enslaved in northern Sudan during the civil war. The experience prompted her and five other women to co-found My Sister’s Keeper (MSKeeper), a humanitarian and human rights organization that champions social justice for women and girls in conflict zones. MSKeeper’s signature projects include construction of the permanent campus for the Kunyuk School for Girls and the Women’s Peace School adult literacy project in Akon, South Sudan; and the Sisterhood for Peace initiative to facilitate the network of diverse Sudanese women in Sudan, South Sudan and the Diaspora, who collaborate to promote peace throughout and between their countries.
Dr. White-Hammond serves alongside her husband and Bethel’s Pastor, Rev. Ray A. Hammond, MD, to shepherd the 500-member congregation to “reach up to God, reach into the congregation and reach out to the world”. As director of the Women’s Ministry, “Pastor Gloria” is passionate about equipping women to become leaders in their church, their communities and beyond. In 2012, she launched the Significant Women Discipleship Ministry that coaches 130 women leaders in small groups. Her other innovations include the Generosity Initiative to encourage Bethel members in their stewardship of time, talent and treasure; Shatter the Silence, a faith-based network of congregations to address sexual victimization of women and men in predominantly African American communities; and, Planning Ahead, a ministry to encourage church members to begin conversations and complete their advance directives regarding their wishes for end-of-life care. Dr. White-Hammond has now expanded this work to engage other community clergypersons from diverse faith traditions who also wish to provide more effective support when their congregants are diagnosed with serious illnesses.
Dr. White-Hammond was appointed Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies in 2015 where she develops learning opportunities for students to explore the intersection of medicine and spirituality. She also co-directs the Harvard Medical School and HDS course, “Medicine and Spirituality in Healing,” along with Dr. John Peteet of Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. White-Hammond is a graduate of Boston University (AB, 1972), Tufts University School of Medicine (MD, 1976) and Harvard Divinity School (MDiv, 1997). She is a member of the Board of Trustees at Tufts University; a member of the President’s Advisory Council of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and HDS Appointed Director to the Harvard Alumni Association.
Gloria has been married to her amazing husband Ray since 1973. They are the grateful parents of Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, a climate change social justice activist, who is married to their “son-in-love” Turahn Dorsey, Chief of Education for the City of Boston; and Adiya White-Hammond, High School Teacher and Service Learning Coordinator at The American School of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. They are doting grandparents to the spectacular 10-year-old “Ella Bella Boo.”
Dr. White-Hammond is the recipient of numerous service awards and honorary degrees. She holds herself accountable to the wisdom of Proverbs 3:3-4, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.”