Daily Point of Light # 2431 May 30, 2003

Legends have it that true heroes must be passionate and compassionate. Dr. William R. Leahy is both. As a tireless volunteer he has unselfishly dedicated himself to community needs: seeing that the citizens of Prince George’s County can thrive regardless of age or station in life. His long and prestigious record in medicine is enhanced by his huge volunteer investment, in time, personal funds and especially hands-on leadership. He is an outstanding community educator and civic visionary: a volunteer extraordinaire in the broadest sense. Without fanfare, the determined William Leahy, M.D. encourages others to be better, kinder human beings. A steady voice of conscience in Prince George’s County for more than two decades, he is also a leading catalyst for new approaches both in educating youth and providing adequate and affordable health care for the elderly and homebound.

A practicing physician with and partner in Neurological Medicine, P .A. in Greenbelt, Maryland since 1979, he is board-certified in both Pediatrics and Neurology with a specialty in child neurology. His path to volunteer leadership was in part shaped by his mother, whose own life was marked by dedication to community service. A longtime Maryland resident, Dr. Leahy has volunteered all his adult life for church, for schools, and for community needs arising from his “professional” home, Prince George’s County. His dedication to helping grew from his deeply felt determination to respond to critical generational issues, to meet the challenges arising from both young and old, from illness, poverty and lack of education. His outstanding charitable efforts are highlighted by his work as a health care educator and service as volunteer leader of several Prince George’s County health care support groups.

Since many of Dr. Leahy’s patients are also elderly, and in urgent need of care giving, he has first hand experience with the dreadful impact of inadequate elder care resources. But most of all, for years he had been troubled by witnessing senseless murders and other violent crimes perpetuated by – and on – the County’s youth, some of which affected his own patients directly. As a consequence, he chose to devote more than six months to searching for a program that puts all these challenging issues together. When he discovered that no such program existed that helps BOTH the young and the old to care for one another, he decided to start one. Thus, Leahy became more deeply involved in home health aid education. He became more and more dedicated not only to making sure his patients received the best care possible, but also equally as important to give direction and meaning to the lives of young people in his community.

A decade ago, already involved in a lively medical practice, and teaching the home heath aide program at Bladensburg High School, he conducted research for and wrote the highly-acclaimed textbook: Providing Home Care: A Textbook for Home Care Aides. To fulfill the promise of the textbook in 1996, he became founder and leader of a visionary model-training program launched in Prince George’s County called The High School Home Health Aide Training Program. This program has witnessed a success rate in program completion and certification of 97% or better each year, and during the past year; its enrollment tripled.