Fifth Annual RWJF Award for Health Equity Presented by the NAFC Awarded to Dr. Maurice Lee

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) presents the Fifth Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity to Dr. Maurice Lee, Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of St. Vincent de Paul’s Virginia G. Piper Medical & Dental Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

Photo and Graphic of Dr. Maurice Lee, 2020 Awardee of the 5th Annual NAFC RWJF Award for Health Equity“For decades, Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies, their staff and their volunteers have been providing access to care and have been building a culture of health care equity for all individuals throughout the country,” NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer Nicole Lamoureux said. “It is Dr. Lee’s passion for ensuring the uninsured are able to access affordable quality care that made him a perfect candidate for this award which highlights the successes of practitioners in changing systems that impact health outcomes among the medically underserved population.”

Dr. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a Doctorate of Medicine and Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Arizona. Prior to medical school he served two years in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Ecuador. During his family medicine residency, he started and operated a free clinic out of the Chris-Town YMCA. After residency Maurice worked for a Phoenix Federally Qualified Health Center and joined St. Vincent de Paul full time in 2014, shifting the clinic from a sick-urgent care specialty-based clinic to one that focused on quality primary care utilizing evidence-based medicine. 

In 2016 Dr. Lee founded the Arizona Safety Net, a collaboration among 40+ Phoenix-area free and low-cost clinics aimed at improving health equity for Arizona’s uninsured through collaboration, quality improvement, and improved access to care. As Founder and President of the Arizona Safety Net, Dr. Lee also used his position as the Chief Medical Officer at St. Vincent de Paul to create an uninsured specialty referral system that gives primary clinics access to over 20 free specialty services through a simple referral form. Dr. Lee opened the door to accessible and quality specialty care which did not exist prior to creating the Arizona Safety Net referral system.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — the nation’s leading philanthropy on health and health care — developed this award program to find and honor individuals who are using systems changes to advance health equity within their communities.  

Previous winners of the RWJF Award for Health Equity presented by the NAFC include:

  • 2019 – Dr. Mary Wirshup, Vice President of Medical Affairs of Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Chester, PA
  • 2018 – Angela Settle, Family Nurse Practitioner and Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia Health Right, Inc. in Charleston, WV
  • 2017 – Dr. Steve Crane, Volunteer Medical Director of The Free Clinics (TFC) in Hendersonville, NC
  • 2016 – Mike Espel, Pharmacy Director for the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy in Cincinnati, OH

The RWJF Awards for Health Equity is a seven-year grant program that began in 2016. It has been awarded to the NAFC and other organizations in several sectors including public health, health care, social justice, civic leadership, education, community development, and philanthropy.





For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


About the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics 

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is the only nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of the medically underserved throughout the nation and the more than 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies that serve them. The NAFC has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is working to ensure that the medically underserved have access to affordable quality health care and strives to be a national voice promoting quality health care for all. For more information about the NAFC, please visit Follow the NAFC on Twitter at @NAFClinics and on Facebook at