Black History Month is a time to remember and honor those who made significant contributions to our country in the past. It’s also a time to recognize individuals like Wendy Doolittle who are making a positive impact in their communities today.
Wendy is making a difference in the health and wellness of Springfield, Ohio residents, and she’s doing so on two fronts. She is chief executive officer of McKinley Hall, a substance abuse and mental health treatment facility where she has worked for nearly 30 years. She also served nine years on the Mercy Health – Springfield board of directors, and recently concluded her term as board chair.
Her rise to leadership roles was influenced by role models in her home as well as by Black pioneers in the health and wellness field.
“I am blessed to have been influenced by my parents, both personally and professionally,” Wendy says. “They both have strong core values that have been passed down to me. I have witnessed my mother thrive in the face of adversity, which has helped me build confidence and taught me to look beyond the obstacles. My father has demonstrated speaking up for what is right and not being afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Professionally, Wendy looks up to individuals like Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Wendy feels those writings provide a clear understanding of how slavery still impacts society today. She also admires psychologists and psychiatrists like Dr. Na’im Akbar, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing and Dr. Joseph White, who have made a significant impact on providing mental health treatment to African Americans.
Wendy believes Black leaders in the health care field can make an ongoing difference.
“Seeing people who look like you is important,” she shares. “Going to physician offices as well as hospitals and seeing a diverse population in leadership positions to direct care providers matters. Relatability matters. Being heard matters. When organizations are intentional about their vendors, employees and the work environment, all people being served feel like they belong. They take ownership in the success of the health care organization.”
As a Black woman, Wendy believes Black History Month is every month.
“I am about lifting up and honoring pioneers in my community whenever possible,” Wendy says. “However, what I love most about the month of February is all of the events that focus on the history of my ancestors. While I believe this information should be naturally imbedded in history books, until such time, the month of February will remain a necessity. Black History Month puts a smile on my face and pep in my step!”
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