Introducing the 2020 Red Cross Class of Heroes: Dr. Kaleem Malik, Disaster Services Hero

Dr. Malik Red Cross Disaster Services Hero

Dr. Kaleem Malik has dedicated his life to emergency medicine—focusing on helping Chicago’s most vulnerable and providing critical and life-sustaining care, where empathy is of the utmost importance. He has also volunteered for many global disaster emergency responses, including last year’s Hurricane Dorian which devastated the Bahamas, and in particular Abaco Island, where Dr. Malik and his team of responders singlehandedly got a devastated clinic back in working order amid significant destruction. That’s why the Red Cross of Illinois has awarded Dr. Malik the 2020 Disaster Services Hero Award, sponsored by Nicor Gas.

In medical school, Dr. Malik decided to focus on emergency response to “do the most good and administer to the needs of many.” To achieve this, Dr. Malik has dedicated his skills as a volunteer, including as the Course Director for Disaster Response Training for Humanity First USA, a nonprofit organization that provides disaster relief and development assistance in 52 countries across six continents. He is also a practicing emergency staff physician with the DuPage Medical Group and is the CEO of TriLab, an academic lab partnering with healthcare systems to combat the U.S. opioid epidemic.

“In every disaster, the same cry is there: When will someone come to help us?” he told the Red Cross of Illinois. “We must be able to provide hope. And that is the single most powerful sensation in the midst of suffering and need—hope.”

Since COVID-19, Dr. Malik has created a standardized approach to COVID-19 specific triage for hospitals and the WHO to use for reference. He is also implementing “virtual doctor” programs for patients with pre-existing conditions. “We’re relying on the general ingenuity and kindness of others to literally save the world,” he said.

Dr. Malik was to receive his award at the Red Cross of Illinois’ annual Heroes Breakfast, which was cancelled because of coronavirus. We hope you are inspired by his story, and consider donating to the Red Cross at Right now, the impact of your gift will be doubled by a generous match.

Better is honored to be a sponsor of the Heroes Breakfast and to collaborate with the Red Cross to share the inspiring stories of all the 2020 Heroes too.

You’re Invited: Virtual Heroes Event

We hope you can also join us for a special virtual event to celebrate our 2020 Class of Heroes, and hear directly from Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Illinois. We promise this will be an uplifting start to your day!

This virtual event is on Thursday, May 7th from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. Please make sure to register online to attend.

More from Better:

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate