Dr. Mary Rorro Receives Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award
AMWA Leader Mary Rorro, DO has been honored with the Presidential Gold Volunteer Service Award, an award bestowed by the President of the United States. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award was established by executive order by George W. Bush to honor outstanding volunteers that give hundreds of hours per year helping others and recognizes the impact they make, through the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Gold level indicates over 600 hours committed to community service.
Dr. Rorro is a physician, songwriter and published poet and writer. She is Physician Chair for the AMWA Music and Medicine Committee and Co-Chair of AMWA’s Medical Humanities Committee.
In her psychiatric practice at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. Rorro can be found playing the viola for patients under her care as part of a music program she created in the VA, known as “A Few Good Notes.” As part of the program, Dr. Rorro performs as well as recruits fellow employees to perform with her on inpatient units and in outpatient clinics. Patients have played guitar with her on viola, as part of their guitar lessons through the Guitar Instruction Group. Dr. Rorro has observed the remarkable impact music has made on their journey toward healing.
Dr. Rorro has composed many original songs and instrumental pieces and coordinated with AMWA Music & Medicine and Medical Humanities members to orchestrate multimedia videos, including:
In November, AMWA announced the inaugural issue of Humanities and Healing: An Arts and Medicine Journal, a project conceived by Dr. Rorro and her Medical Humanities Committee Co-chair, Dr. Gloria Bachmann, who is director of the Women’s Health Institute of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The “Humanities and Healing: An Arts and Medicine Journal” showcases the work and talents of more than 50 physician and pre-medical student artists. It was published jointly by AMWA’s Music and Medicine Committee and Rutgers’ Women’s Health Institute. Physician Co-Leaders for the project included Premlatha Amalraj, MD, Sydelle Ross, MD and Olapeju Simoyan, MD, MPH. Student Co-Leaders were also invaluable to the project, including Cait Cavarocchi, MM and Lori Horhor, BA.
Dr. Rorro’s community service commitment and artistry have been recognized in varied settings. She played her viola for HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice, Italy at the Gala of the American Foundation of Savoy Royal Orders in December, 2022 in New York City. She has been published twice in issues of “Antenna,” the Journal of the Royal Entomological Society — Queen Elizabeth II was the former Patron of the Journal.
In addition to composing the Centennial AMWA Anthem, Dr. Rorro composed international Anthems for other organizations, including Filitalia, an organization promoting Italian heritage and culture, and “A Chance in Life,” a charitable organization founded after WWII to help orphans and disadvantaged youth.
In 2018, Dr. Rorro was honored alongside her mother, Dr. Gilda Rorro, with the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards, the official volunteer/public service recognition program of the United States Senate. Dr. Mary Rorro’s Jefferson Award was given in recognition of her “extraordinary volunteer service in support of veterans.”
“We are proud of Dr. Mary Rorro’s commitment to integrating creative works and public service to improve mental health,” said Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, Executive Director of AMWA. “We are grateful for her leadership in AMWA and her many endeavors bringing our community together around music and art.”