The Iner Sheld-Ritchie Presidential Award is granted to individuals of exemplary character and commitment to the vision and mission of the Alumni Association.
Ingrid K. Blomquist ’81 has contributed in exemplary ways to the Alumni Association’s mission to support present and future graduates of our school as they carry out the ministry of Jesus Christ.
As an infectious disease specialist with a passion for mission service, Dr. Blomquist listened to the stories of alumni returning from Loma Linda University’s (LLU) Deferred Mission Appointments and was alarmed to find our graduates were unprepared to handle diseases not seen in the United States.
Raising monies through Adventist International Medical Society (AIMS), she was foundational in making an online course in global health available to all LLU students and faculty, free of charge.
While researching tropical medicine and global health courses, Dr. Blomquist connected with William Stauffer, MD, the then director of the Minnesota Center for Global Health. She was shocked to learn Dr. Stauffer had no knowledge of LLU despite our long history of medical mission work overseas. It seemed LLU had been left behind in the world of academic global health, and this too Dr. Blomquist set out to change.
She went to work creating the Global Service Pathway and a global health senior elective for LLU medical students. Participants in the Global Service Pathway complete an online course, attend a refugee health course at Johns Hopkins University, serve overseas, and learn from some of the foremost physicians in the field. They also qualify to sit for the Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health exam offered by the American School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
In addition to creating real solutions to improve LLU’s presence in global health, during her four years as president of the AIMS, a corporation separate from the Alumni Association, she brought awareness that the society was languishing. Committed to maintaining a focus on alumni missionaries as one of the ministries of the Alumni Association, the board of directors approved her proposal to dissolve Adventist International Medical Society as a corporation and form a new Alumni In Mission Service (AIMS) Council within the Alumni Association. The formation of the AIMS council was completed in 2018 and now has greater support from the Alumni Association staff as well as a more consistent connection with the entire alumni community.
Dr. Blomquist’s vision, hard work, and commitment to mission service are deeply appreciated and recognized.