A physician, a dentist, a hospital chaplain and nurses working in medical facilities, industry and higher education are among eight highly accomplished health professionals the St. Louis American Foundation will honor at the 15th Annual Salute to Excellence in Health Care Awards Luncheon on April 30.
When Rev. Traci Blackmon was a minister in Columbia, Missouri, a woman in her congregation dangerously misinterpreted one of her sermons. The woman, who had a history of schizophrenia, heard her preach about “divine healing” and took that to mean she needed to get off her medication and allow God to heal her. She landed in the hospital after a psychotic episode.
For the first few years after moving to St. Louis in 1986 from Arkansas, Kimberly A Brown, MPPA, LNHA worked in the for-profit sector. Her job – making money for other people – conflicted with her passion, which is helping others. She then put her passion to work by joining the staff at Doorways, a nonprofit housing organization for persons living with HIV or AIDS.
As director of youth services – behavioral health at SSM Health Care, Taressa Hockaday, MA, manages youth counseling and social services, case management, transportation and supervises a team of 20 employees.
Moving beyond preconceived notions, achieving higher goals and never underestimating one’s abilities are hallmarks in the career of Louis Gary, MD, medical director for Unity Hospice and hospitalist and former medical director of emergency medicine at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville, Illinois.
The desire to analyze people is what prompted Jameca Falconer, PhD, to pursue psychology as a career. It started with some self-analysis in high school that made her recognize that her phobia about blood and needles conflicted with her early thoughts of becoming a physician.
Kel Ward said he has always been community-minded, which was instilled in him by his mother and father (Kayte Ward and Bill McCulley) as a youngster growing up in St. Louis. His work with youth early in his career after college allowed him to engage with nonprofit organizations in the community.