Phenomenal Woman Magazine

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NOV DEC 2019



Dr. ANGELA KYEI Skin Care is Health Care

MICHELE CRAWFORD Capital, Construction & Facilities Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College



Inside This Issue - Resolution For 2020 – Financial Health And Wellness...PG 6










Beletu (Bele') Wondwossen Founder / Publisher Shelley M. Shockley Managing Editor Writers Shelley M. Shockley Marsha Walker Eastwood Brittany Garrett Nirvana St. Cyr

Creative Bele’ Wondwossen Jason Garrett

Cover Story: Rhonda Crowder Photo: Jason Garrett Contributing Writers Rhonda Crowder Michelle Phillips Fay Marianna Marron Letitia Nall Stephanie Phelps Kimberly Smith-Woodford

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216.702.0845 2 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019 â–’ 3

From the Editor: Shelley M. Shockley

ARE YOU READY FOR A NEW DECADE? As I sit to write this column, we are a little over one month away from a new decade. Sit with that for a minute. Ten years have flown by, and if you're like me, many of those events seem as though they just happened. Over the last few weeks, I've given this a great deal of thought. That sounds monumental to me, and the more I think about it, I guess it should. Things change a lot in a mere ten years, lives are transformed, and the big things you've overcome just don't seem that big as you reflect. With that in mind, let's take a look back at our lives and see how have we transformed. Have you made any strides on those annual resolutions? When you look at your Vision Boards over the last decade, do you see growth? It is my prayer that you have grown. If you haven't, why not look at the next decade as your timeline to renew your purpose and develop a plan that helps you to achieve it. Instead of stacking all of your goals into one set of three hundred and sixty-five days, stretch them out and plan to grow a little each year. Personally, I don't make resolutions, and my Vision Boards have not been utilized the way they should, but as I reflect on 2010 -2019, I do see growth. I'm thankful for the growth because this has been a decade of extreme loss. Both of my parents gained their wings during this decade, and each passing devastated me, but also strengthened me. The strength came from leaning on the love and upbringing they provided. I became more active and shed many unwanted and unneeded pounds. I recommitted my life to Christ, and I stretched myself professionally. There is still much work to be done, but I look forward to the next decade to work that out. Join me on this journey, take each day as a new canvas to create the best you. With each advance, celebrate your success, but most importantly, don't beat yourself up if you slip a little. If you go thirty, sixty, ninety, or three hundred and sixty-five days without making a significant change, don't fret. As long as you have breath in your body, you can make a change. Remember every other month we'll be right here cheering you on and bringing you tips to help you make that change. These tips will come in the form of columns on ways to improve your physical and financial health. In this edition, Dr. Angela Kyei offers advice on the importance of being healthy inside and out. We tend to focus on shedding pounds, and ridding ourselves of poor habits, but rarely do we think about the importance of healthy skin and hair. Dr. Kyei specializes in these areas and offers valuable information on conditions that regularly impact African-American women. Be sure to take a look so that you can improve your own external health or help someone else. With the holidays quickly approaching, Credit Karma has released a report that one in four Americans will go into debt to ensure their loved ones are happy. At the same time, 22 percent of the population is still paying off debt from last year's holidays. So, it comes as no surprise that the number one resolution of the new year will be to reduce debt and 4 â–’ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

improve your financial health. These resolutions focus on paying off credit cards, cutting spending, and developing a sound budget. Columnist Marsha Walker Eastwood challenges our readers to look beyond the day-to-day expenses. Instead, she encourages you to look at Estate Planning as part of your financial maintenance. The topic is one most of us tend to shy away from because it means that we have to examine the immortality of ourselves and our loved ones. We don't want to think about the potential loss of someone we love. Unfortunately, when you look at the circle of life, death is an inevitable experience that we all have to deal with. If we don't plan ahead, it can have more than just an emotional impact on our lives. Death has the potential to send families into a financial tailspin if you haven't made the proper arrangements. Take it from someone who has experienced the emotional loss that is compounded by emotional instability in families when proper estate planning has not been completed. Plan today, so that your family understands your wishes and can handle your final arrangements. This column, I assure you will offer information many may be unfamiliar with and will help prevent some unnecessary heartache. One of the best ways we can help you grow is by highlighting women like you to demonstrate that with planning, confidence, and a support system, you too can achieve your dreams. Michele Crawford is a local architect living her dreams and working to change the way we look at architecture. Contributing Writer Nirvana St. Cyr recently sat down with Crawford and offers a view into the path the young architect took to get to her current position. In this feature, we see Crawford changing career paths and combining her passions into one career. We also gain insight into the small percentage of women who work in this field. To learn more, take a seat and read this enlightening feature. As women, we often find ourselves struggling to advance our careers while nurturing our families. Many of us are torn, believing that we have to make a choice between the two. Dr. Sherrie Williams is proof that you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too. Contributing Writer, Rhonda Crowder details how Dr. Williams navigates her career and home life. It's an interesting read and could be just the story you need to give you the confidence that you, too, can achieve success in both arenas. Now it's your turn to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to relax with this edition of Phenomenal Woman. So that you begin working on improving all aspects of your life. Remember to give yourself permission to take time for you while being the best addition to your family, job, and community that you can offer. May you find joy and peace in the upcoming holiday season and make the best of the next decade. I look forward to meeting you here in 2020!










COVER STORY /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////



FROM THE EDITOR Shelley M. Shockley

Resolution For 2020: Financial Health And Wellness Marsha Walker Eastwood

Perception Equals Reality: Cleveland's Infant Mortality Challenge Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew


Beware of 'Free Genetic Testing' Medicare Scam

Is a pulmonary critical care specialist at The MetroHealth System and Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. MetroHealth's strong commitment to the delivery of state-of-the-art care, to the education of health care providers and to the investigation of pulmonary disease, critical illness and sleep disorders has proven to be a great success.


This Month’s Feature


As phenomenal women, we want to be healthy inside out. This means we not only care about our internal health but also our external appearance. In fact our external appearance is often a reflection of our internal health.





An energetic woman, talented and soft-spoken architectural designer, Crawford is currently the Capital, Construction & Facilities Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). In 2017, a $227.5 million capital bond was passed which allowed Tri-C to expand and enhance many areas at various campuses, including a $34M state of the art facility for STEM studies at the Western Campus in Parma. ▒ 5

Resolution For 2020 FINANCIAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS Fall and winter are the two seasons that many people try to focus on physical wellness and prevention. After all, it is flu season and every doctor, pharmacy, and health center is on a mission to get people vaccinated. There's never a shortage of news reports regarding people who have experienced serious and deadly outcomes from contracting this season's affliction. It is also the season of spend, spend, SPEND, and this is the reason that saving more money is among the top five resolutions going into the new year. It is also the time of year people come up with a whole laundry list of resolutions for the new year. In addition to saving money, resolutions usually include getting more exercise, losing weight, getting organized, and becoming healthier. Nowhere in the top five resolutions do we see one for becoming financially healthy. Unlike physical health where there are obvious preventative measures like vaccines to stave off certain devastating illnesses, there are also preventative measures that can help protect you and your family against disastrous outcomes in your financial health. By: Marsha Walker Eastwood, B.S.Ed, MSHSVC PWM Contributing Writer

The Centers For Disease Control estimates that as many as 56,000 people die from the flu or flu-related illnesses, and the great majority of those deaths occur among the adult population. The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one can cause financial chaos. Unlike those flu shot campaigns, generally there are no seasonal campaigns stressing the importance of life insurance, a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, having a will, and naming an executor or how to deal with probate issues. These are all unpleasant topics to discuss because to most people they represent loss–loss of health, loss of independence, loss of quality of life and life itself. The feelings generated by these discussions become fuel for procrastination because the belief is that there is always time, when in reality it eventually runs out for everyone. Creating a file of financially necessary documents is one of the first keys to proper estate planning and asset protection. In order to accomplish a complete estate planning program, you must make a firm commitment to the resolution. This means not looking on the dark side of things, but rather the practical side. Everyone needs life insurance, no matter how young or old. It is very difficult to obtain medical care without some form of healthcare, and it is impossible to be buried or cremated without some plan to finance it. Life insurance is an age-banded product which means the older a person is when they purchase it the more expensive it becomes. According to Thom Tracy, a writer for Investopedia, “While the optimal age to purchase life insurance is under 35, Millennials are the 6 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

least likely to purchase a policy. In 2015, individuals between 18 and 35 overestimated the cost of a policy by 213%. Among the 57% of U.S. citizens who own life insurance, more than half of those policyholders are 45 or older. With marital rates decreasing 21% from 1960 to 2010, life policy purchases are being delayed despite the inherent advantages of buying at a younger age. Age isn't the only factor when it comes to purchasing life insurance. Health issues are another serious factor in the cost of life insurance. For those who wait and have developed serious or potentially serious health issues, the underwriter can rate the policy so that the premiums are higher or the application for life insurance is declined without question. A Durable Power of Attorney includes specific language dealing with a variety of financial duties and responsibilities including full access to bank accounts, investments, and other financial accounts. A Durable Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time, but once again – don't delay. Waiting until an individual is too old may put the execution of a power of attorney at risk. If at any point the individual granting that power is judged to be incompetent, the opportunity to set up the power of attorney may be gone forever. End of life estate planning encompasses many issues and depending on financial circumstances and assets, the options vary. For many people probate seems like an uncomfortable and expensive process to determine the distribution of assets. Such is the case with a will. A will must be located then verified to be valid. The assets must be located and inventoried. Many times, when a will is drafted, and assets mentioned may no longer exist, or the beneficiary may be deceased as well. Any outstanding debts and taxes will be taken care of first, and then whatever assets remain will be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. Probating a will can be expensive because it requires the services of an attorney, appraiser's fees, court costs, and other fees to settle the estate, especially if the will is contested. Depending on the state and the value of the estate the process could take from 1 to 3 years. However, there are a few alternatives to the probate process, and Joint Tenancy is one of them. Defined as a special form of ownership by two or more individuals of the same property, the individuals, who are called joint tenants share equal ownership of the property and have the equal and undivided right to keep or dispose of the property. Joint Tenancy creates a Right of Survivorship. The property can include a home, vehicles, and bank or investment accounts. Since every situation is unique, the pros and cons of joint tenancy vary. The most significant pro is the right of survivorship is that it allows for 100% ownership of the property upon the death of the other owner without going through probate.

Additional pros of Joint Tenancy include: Proportional Shares of Property Rents paid by other parties regardless of the relationship to those parties. This also holds true from any revenue generated from any commercial profits derived from natural resources discovered on the jointly held property. As ideal as all of these sounds, there are also cons to Joint Tenancy. In his article 10 Dangers of Joint Tenancy, Certified Financial Planner Brad Tinnon points out the following potential pitfalls: Difficulty Accessing Accounts – Even though as joint owner each person technically owns 100% of the account, there could be difficulty accessing accounts if one person dies. Irrevocable Decision – Once you allow a person to be a joint tenant on your account, you cannot remove them without their approval. It is an irrevocable decision, so think twice before you do this. This is very common in the situation where there is land or property in the family and all the siblings are named as joint tenants. This could be very problematic if one of the owners wants to sell their “share” of the property. Additionally, any one of the joint tenants could request that the asset be divided up, which would then likely subject all the owners to a legal battle they did not anticipate. Also, if any of the joint owners are married, the property cannot be sold without the consent of their spouses. Heirs Could Be Disinherited – If one joint tenant dies, then the remaining joint tenants become 100% owners of

the asset. This means that the children of the joint tenant who died would be potentially disinherited. To try to avoid this, you can list all the owners' children as beneficiaries; however, there is no guarantee that the children will still receive anything. Reason being is that the last living joint tenant could change the beneficiaries. Example, husband and wife each have children from previous marriages. The couple titles their assets (i.e investment accounts, home, savings accounts, etc.) into joint tenancy and names all the children as beneficiaries. If the husband dies, the wife becomes sole owner of the assets and she could legally change the beneficiaries to her children. Once she dies, the asset passes to her children, thereby disinheriting her husband's children. Joint Tenancy Trumps Wills and Trusts – Joint tenancy is a contractual arrangement, and as such it takes precedence in the way assets are passed to heirs. Even though you list in your Will or Trust that you want certain assets to go to certain people in a certain way, all of this will be secondary to the contract created when a person titles asset in joint tenancy. When it comes to estate planning there is no one size fits all solution. A professional estate planner can walk you through what alternative works best for you based on your particular assets and family dynamic. By now it should be clear that the need for commitment to a resolution for financial health and wellness is an absolute necessity. By doing the work sooner than later to create that document file for asset protection and estate planning will allow you time to indulge in all your other resolutions for the coming year. ▒ 7

Photo Credit: Tatiana Chekryzhova |

Perception Equals Reality: Cleveland's Infant Mortality Challenge Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, MEd, MPPM, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

mothers in environments that present sustained and long term exposure to stress creates a toxic environment. Many of these babies are subjected to this environment prior to conception and beyond.

Infant mortality (the death of an infant within the first year of life) is a widely-reported indicator of population health. In 2017, the infant mortality rate in the US was 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. Over 22,000 infants died in the US in 2017. Various studies indicate that infant mortality rates differ from state to state with significant racial disparities. Nationally, African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.

There are several organizations that have embraced the challenges of reducing the deaths of black babies which will also result in a reduction of deaths for all babies. Centering Health Institute's Centering Pregnancy Model, the University Hospitals' Baby Box & Safe Sleep Initiative and Birthing Beautiful Communities' Doula program are just a few of the champions.

The state of Ohio is a leader in the country in many areas such as innovation, vision and corporate leadership. Sadly, the state is also a leader in infant mortality. Within the state, Cuyahoga County has the highest rate of infant mortality calling for urgent attention and intervention. Of the 13,871 babies born in Cuyahoga County in 2018, 118 didn't make it to their first birthday and 67 percent of these babies were African American from all socio economic levels. Infant mortality rate (IMR) for African Americans was 15.1, while the rate for white babies was 3.8 in the county. African American babies die four times more often than white babies. In addition, African American women at every socioeconomic level have higher rates of infant mortality than white women who have not completed high school. Infant mortality from extreme preterm births and sleep related deaths are two of the three targeted community priorities. What are the root causes of so many deaths of babies of color? It is well known that poverty, no prenatal care, teen moms and moms with alcohol and/or drug abuse ARE NOT the root causes of maternal deaths. Over the past five years, more than fifty percent of the black women who have had a premature birth had private insurance and less than four percent of the deaths in the last ten years were born to teen mothers. Contributing factors do include many Social Determinants of Health such as transportation, housing, food and job insecurities but also include structural racism, the third targeted priority. Placing 8 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

In December 2015, community leaders who were alarmed by the number of babies dying in Cuyahoga County established First Year Cleveland (FYC). A community movement dedicated to reversing this trend and helping all babies celebrate their first birthdays, First Year Cleveland continues to play a huge role in tackling the issue. FYC has created a framework that is supported by data –driven priorities engaging community partnerships and strategies to reduce racial disparities, address extreme prematurity, eliminate sleep related infant deaths and more. Numerous Action Teams have been created to implement several innovative programs that are demonstrating results. I am proud to Chair Action Team 1 which is charged with “Dismantling Structural Racism” through utilizing the voices of women and their partners. These powerful voices will assist in the development and implementation of bias training across our major health care systems in Cleveland (University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and MetroHealth). This model may be duplicated throughout the country and promises to focus on bias that may result in decisions that affect poor maternal outcomes. To learn more about First Year Cleveland and join the movement, visit â–’ 9

By Dr. Angela Kyei Cosmopolitan Dermatology


As phenomenal women, we want to be healthy inside out. This means we not only care about our internal health but also our external appearance. In fact our external appearance is often a reflection of our internal health. Therefore our overall healthcare must include skin care. Skin care is also important because for better or worse, our external appearance is the most salient factor by which we are judged. The state of our skin and hair also impacts our self confidence and self esteem. What follows are some common skin concerns in people of color and some skin care treatments to address them.

Skin As people of color, three of the most common skin concerns include; uneven skin tone/hyperpigmentation, hair loss/alopecia and unwanted facial hair. Hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone is more common in people of color due to our ability to produce massive amounts of melanin. The purpose of melanin is to protect the skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer. Our skin however often responds to rashes and even acne by “spilling melanin” and causing dark spots or marks on the skin after the acne or rash resolves. The resulting blotchy uneven skin is undesirable and patients seek treatments to remedy it. There are several medical therapies to even out the skin tone including; skin brightening prescription creams, chemical peels, microneedling, microdermabrasion and laser therapy. The goal of treatment is not to make the patient a different shade of color but to give her even skin tone by erasing the excess color deposited on her skin by acne and other rashes.

Figure 1: Patient with acne and blotchy, uneven skin after treatment with prescription acne creams and skin tone corrections creams

Hair Hair loss or alopecia is a very common and often devastating condition affecting both men and women. There are many different types of alopecia with many causes. One of the most common types of alopecia is telogen effuvium or excessive shedding. This occurs when women and men suddenly start to lose excessive amount of hair when combing, brushing, or washing the hair. They see clumps of hair come out with any manipulation of the hair. This may be due to stress, hormonal fluctuations, medications, and other illnesses. Seeking help for hair loss can thus reveal a dis-ease that can be addressed to improve overall health. Treatment of this condition requires a review of one's medications, checking blood work to rule out medical causes, addressing nutrition and finding ways to mitigate stress. In addition we give growth stimulators such as minoxidil, vitamins such as biotin and procedures such as platelet rich plasma injections. Androgenetic alopecia a form of genetic thinning that often presents later on in life is also treated similarly. Scarring alopecia, a form of alopecia caused by inflammation in the scalp is treated with steroid injections. The most important advice concerning hair loss is to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent permanent hair loss.

Figure 2: Woman with androgenetic alopecia before and after PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatments and prescription strength minoxidil drops.


2323 Lee Rd. Cleveland Heights, OH 44118


Facial Hair

Unwanted facial hair is a common problem even among women. It can often signal a hormonal imbalance, with possibly elevated testosterone. Unwanted facial hair often occurs on chin, neck and upper lip and can often cause a lot of social distress for women. Management of this condition requires blood work to rule out a hormonal imbalance. In addition laser hair removal or electrolysis is performed to control hair growth. Multiple treatments are required to achieve optimal results. These modalities can remove up to 70 percent of the hairs permanently but most patients require maintenance treatments to prevent the hair from eventually coming back. It is important to know that lasers are only effective on course dark, pigmented hairs, therefore grey or white hairs are not affected by the laser. Thus it is important that hair removal procedures are done before the hair turns gray or white. The skin is the largest organ of the body, often reflecting the state of our internal health. It is also the physical factor by which we are often judged. For these reasons it is important that we include skin care as part of our health care, and put our best face forward. Figure 3: Female with unwanted facial hair before and after laser treatment

Dr. Angela Kyei has done ground breaking research in the field of dermatology and is author of several scientific articles in the area of her specialty. A phenomenal dermatologist, Dr. Kyei is founder of Cosmopolitan Dermatology. â–’ 11


MICHELE CRAWFORD: Laying Foundation, Building Structures, Reaching Heights By Nirvana St. Cyr PWM Contributing Writer According to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), “While African Americans made up 13 percent of the total U.S. population at the last census, only 2% of licensed architects are African-American.” The situation is even bleaker with African-American women who currently represent only 0.3% of all licensed architects. Well, Michele Crawford, a phenomenal woman in her own rights is working hard to increase this percentage and join the ranks! Recently awarded the Architects Foundation Jason Pettigrew Scholarship, Michele hopes to complete her remaining test to obtain her state license in 2020. An energetic African-American woman, talented and soft-spoken architectural designer, Crawford is currently the Capital, Construction & Facilities Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). In 2017, a $227.5 million capital bond was passed which allowed Tri-C to expand and enhance many areas at various campuses, including a $34M state of the art facility for STEM studies at the Western Campus in Parma. A typical day in Crawford's professional life consists of early morning hours filled with multiple meetings managing up to six construction projects of different scales and locations. These projects include new construction and/or renovation of food service areas, classrooms, information technology labs, engineering labs, parking lots, etc., while also ensuring all environments are ADA compliant. Crawford graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Architecture from Ohio University, and earned a Master of Architecture (M. Arch) degree with an emphasis in Interior Architecture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was originally interested in mechanical engineering, with dreams of designing automobiles but, in her junior year of undergraduate studies, her interest was pulled in another direction and she changed her major to interior architecture. Crawford explains, “I was good at 12 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

math and had a great appreciation for the arts, but couldn't make the connection between the two at that time. So, I dropped engineering courses to focus more on the artistic rather than the technical side of complex design.” While pursuing her studies, Crawford took advantage of studying abroad in Brazil, Italy and Kenya, where she was immersed in the architectural history, scale, city structure, and style of these cultures. The experience was impactful in that the structures “continue to be appreciated and admired. It's amazing how they've stuck around for so long.” What she values most is the preservation of iconic edifices that have endured time and still remain in their “original” creation. She is particularly fond of one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Colosseum. The oval amphitheatre made of stone and concrete, located in the center of Rome, was commissioned in 70 AD, opened in 80 AD, and is the largest freestanding structure of its time (Editors, 2019). As an interior architect, Crawford appreciates the amount of ornate detail incorporated into its design and formation.

Crawford spent four years as an intern and part-time assistant at the prestigious architecture firm of Robert P. Madison International Inc. (RPMI). Founded in 1954, RPMI was the first African American owned architecture firm in the State of Ohio and only the tenth in the US. Robert P. Madison was also the first African-American to earn an architectural degree in the state of Ohio and the first African-American to graduate from the Western Reserve University School of Architecture in 1948. Sandra Madison, the current CEO and Chairperson for RPMI, whose husband is Madison's nephew was Crawford's mentor. Passing on to Crawford the knowledge and wisdom of being an architect, and how to navigate the waters as a minority, is a significant asset to Crawford and the industry. She pays heed to Sandra Madison's advice to have confidence and to focus on knowing your craft by consistently learning new practices and maneuvers. This will align Crawford to become a powerful and influential force in the world of architecture. The project which really initiated Crawford into the world of architecture was working on the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, her first skyscraper! The hotel interior boasts of floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, offering terrific views and letting in tons of natural light. Seeing the building from its bare bones to completion, this project is where Crawford was hands-on and learned the most about architectural processes and operations, while experiencing the challenges of plan changes and the coordination of efforts, people, and tasks.

Crawford also assisted AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity in North Carolina, where she realized the importance of doing something meaningful and charitable with her professional background and understood how impactful her work is to society. She was the community liaison and Habitat representative in Charlotte's west side neighborhood of Reid Park. She helped jumpstart the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) program, creating the framework, strategy and community engagement, for economic development and education. Crawford developed and recorded the NRI baseline information which included; working with non-profits, public and private stakeholders to support community driven initiatives, site analysis and neighborhood asset mapping of land use and community character, and led planning processes for Lowe's Community Impact Grant partnership. Exercising and building her skills in community organization and development, Crawford volunteers on several boards. These include; The Rainey Institute, MidTown CLE, Green Ribbon Coalition and the Trustee Board at her church, Antioch Baptist Church. She is consistently involved in youth outreach and mentoring at John Hay High School of Architecture and Design, Citizens Leadership Academy, CollegeNow and the ACE Mentoring Program at Max Hayes High School. She served on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ohio Board as Associate Director in 2017, and is a recipient of AIA Cleveland's Activism Award. Continued on next page... â–’ 13

Crawford is able to network with fellow architects and colleagues to stay abreast on current trends and practices in the industry and understands how policies and legalities influence her work. Her groundwork has positioned her to succeed and excel in her current roles while constantly involving herself in activities that elevate her as the subject matter expert. She enjoys visiting her projects during and after construction, seeing her work and designs come to fruition. One project she particularly is most proud of is the renovation at the historic Karamu House. Located on the east side of Cleveland, Karamu House is the oldest African-American theater in the US. To help aid the Theatre's renovation and preservation efforts, the Cleveland Foundation recently announced a $2 million grant to Karamu. While exploring, developing and establishing her own signature style of design, Crawford indulges her creativity through paintings and photography. She has begun taking on small design projects- kitchens and room additions, for friends and family and also has plans to enter architecture competitions as she hones her creative side. As she is constantly working on expanding her creative side, lately she's been studying and admiring the works of British architect, Sir David Adjaye, touted as, “an architect with an artist's sensibility and vision.” Born to Ghanaian parents, Adjaye was selected as one of a team of architects, to design the new $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian Institution museum, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Crawford admires his unique contemporary, African-inspired designs of museums and furniture. Unbeknownst to Sir David, Crawford considers him a role model. According to Crawford, mood and creativity are everchanging, and knowledge fuels growth. She believes that the most important skill necessary is empathy. “We must consider how people will feel in the environment and space they occupy.” She further explained her statement by describing that “90% of people's time is spent in spaces created by architects, but most people cannot name one.” She wants to instill greater awareness and appreciation for the art of architecture where the value of the building life-cycle is realized. To exude the notion of empathy, particularly with youth outreach and engagement, Crawford's dream project would be to create a space and develop a community of young artists and architects by engaging them in creative projects that align with education initiatives which promote ingenuity and economic stability. Crawford wants the next wave of architects to be well-informed, monitor their goals and adjust accordingly, be self-advocates and seek help from mentors when needed. She wants to leave a legacy of creating spaces that are useful, comfortable and enjoyable. When asked, what advice she would give to her younger self and the next generation, she replied, “Be curious! Investigate and research. Leave room for randomness, be flexible, and don't be afraid to ask questions.” As for her, with a deep breath and a smile, said “I do sleep and have fun!” Clearly, Crawford enjoys her career and still has room for personal pursuits. Architects always have plans and this brilliant architect and rising star has more plans underway. Stay tuned! 14 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

Photo: Digizoom Media

Through her memberships with the AIA, and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), she has positioned herself to take advantage of opportunities to learn and expand on her technical knowledge and expertise. With each new project that comes her way, she is diligent and committed, making her a rising star in her field. â–’ 15



Dr. SHERRIE D. WILLIAMSʼ LIFE AND CAREER PROVES WOMEN CAN HAVE IT ALL By Rhonda Crowder PWM Contributing Writer Dr. Sherrie Williams is a pulmonary critical care specialist at The MetroHealth System and Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. MetroHealth's strong commitment to the delivery of state-of-the-art care, to the education of health care providers and to the investigation of pulmonary disease, critical illness and sleep disorders has proven to be a great success. The older of two children, Dr. Williams was born at the Freedmen's Hospital (now Howard University Hospital), where her mother worked. Dr. Williams grew up in Washington, D.C., and both of her parents are Howard University alumni. Her mother studied nursing while her father majored in business and accounting. “We grew up very, very Catholic,” said Dr. Williams, who attended Catholic schools from kindergarten to grade 12. She still has friends she's known for over 50 years because of that experience. Despite her Catholic upbringing, her parents separated when she was only 10 years old. “That was really, really rough,” she said. As a result of this she became a confused teenager, angry at both her parents. It wasn't until she entered college and started to go through her own relationship woes that she saw her parents as two people who struggled with the same issues in relationships like everyone else. She recognized that they married and started a family young - in their 20s - something she determined she could not have done! “In college, I came to understand a lot about relationships and ended up forgiving both of my parents and putting behind me a lot of anger. I'm glad I did it,” she said. Going forward, she had a great relationship with both parents. “I wouldn't trade that for the world. I could've been bitter and never spoken to my dad again but that didn't happen. My dad was there for every major event: when I graduated from high school, when I graduated from graduate school and when I graduated from medical school. He also walked me down the aisle when I got married,” said Dr. Williams. She is grateful that her mother, who could've been vindictive and spiteful, she said, recognized relationships are important and always encouraged her to have a good relationship with her father. As Dr. Williams grew older, her mother began to explain the challenges she faced with her husband. “The whole ordeal with my parents played a big part of me appreciating how important relationships are, and taught me a really valuable lesson about forgiveness and the importance of preserving relationships.” Dr. Williams' father passed two years ago and she has no regrets. When she misses him and gets sad, she looks at the pictures that they took together on various trips.

In her high school yearbook, Dr. Williams declared, “I'm going to be a physician.” Her mom, being a nurse and having asthma since age 3, and always being sick, played a role in the decision. “I always in the back of mind thought I would be a lung doctor.” Dr. Williams attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and describes the experience as really, really tough. She admits going from being valedictorian of her class of 65 students to “barely clinging to a seat” in college. Attending the male-dominated school with a large Jewish population came as both a culture and academic shock to her. “Before, I never had to study hard. Things had come easy,” she said. “I had to learn how to study, how to buckle down, how to put in the selfsacrifice, and the hours that it would take to be successful.” As one of the few black women on the campus, she recalls feeling isolated. She resided in one of two women's dorms and found herself there with the Orthodox Jewish girl when everyone else went out on Friday night. “No one would ask me out,” she said. Another black girl, living in the other dorm, became her best friend and matron of honor at her wedding. Also, in chemistry class when students lined up to pick partners, no one wanted to pair with Dr. Williams. “The lab tech had to assign someone to be my partner and you could see the look on his face, like why do I have to be her partner?” Dr. Williams said going to Johns Hopkins is a story in and of itself. Initially, she wanted to attend Georgetown. She interviewed for Georgetown but left disappointed, discouraged and in tears after an alum, also a parish priest from her high school, basically told her she didn't have what it takes based on her test scores. She came home and threw all of her college applications in the trash. Her mom, distraught, called her dad. He came over, retrieved the crumpled applications, straightened them out and made her complete them that night. He told Dr. Williams, “I don't care what he says. You are my daughter. And, I know what my daughter is capable of. Your mother and I know what you can do.” She did get accepted to Georgetown, but she also applied to Johns Hopkins because she attended a summer program at Howard University for students interested in medical careers, and a guy who was a part of the program encouraged minorities to apply to Johns Hopkins. “When the offer letter came, they pretty much gave me a full ride,” said Dr. Williams. Continued on next page... ▒ 17

“You have to be willing to be disciplined and accept delayed gratification, short term sacrifice for a long term gain. You have to put in a lot of selfsacrifice, discipline and time."

At Johns Hopkins, her class had the highest number of minority students (about 32) in the history of the school. So, she and some other black women decided to form a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, due to being discouraged from joining the white sororities. On the day she graduated, Xi Tau City Chapter of AKA was created. “At the time, I don't think my line sisters and I realized that chapter would mean so much to all the other generations of women coming through Johns Hopkins,” she said. When she attended the 30-year reunion for the chapter, Dr. Williams discovered its impact as younger women thanked them for founding the chapter. They expressed how much the sorority meant to them. “It was really a big thing, that at the time I didn't appreciate for what it would mean in terms of legacy. We leaned on each other. There weren't that many of us.” Dr. Williams faced a lot of what she calls naysayers and even struggled through her first semester at Johns Hopkins to the point an advisor told her, “I don't think I'll be seeing you next semester. You just may not be Johns Hopkins material.” That devastated her, but she remembered what her dad told her. “You're my daughter. You just keep studying.” Plus, her mom, a strong


woman of faith said to her, “I got the whole church praying for you. You're going to be okay.” Dr. Williams graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1984, and because she finished with a G.P.A. not good enough for medical school, she didn't immediately apply. “You have to be a realist, I think, even though sometimes you're undaunted,” she said. “You have to accept critical advice and constructive critique.” So, she went to Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and obtained a Master's degree. “I needed to prove to people that I could do graduate level work, and that I could hang in class with other professional people.” Dr. Williams did well there, graduating with flying colors. Since the graduate program was combined with her undergraduate program, that one year of stellar graduate work increased her G.P.A to where it needed to be for her to apply to medical school. She applied to Northwestern Medical School and University of Illinois and was accepted to both. But, because her mentors at Johns Hopkins encouraged her to attend Northwestern (considered “the Johns Hopkins of the Midwest”) she told University of Illinois, “Thanks but no thanks,” until realizing Northwestern would cost $30k a year and the University of Illinois offered a much more attractive incentive for her to attend.

“I had to eat humble pie,” Dr. Williams said. “I called up the dean at the University of Illinois and told him I didn't know what I was thinking. I changed my mind.” Once Dr. Williams explained she couldn't afford the debt attending Northwestern could create, he told her to come on over. She withdrew her acceptance to Northwestern in the 12th hour and it turned out to be one of the best decisions she ever made. “I had a great time in med school,” she said. With Chicago being eager to recruit minority medical students, she received a lot of financial and academic support. “Medical school was fun. I didn't feel isolated.” At the same time, she couldn't deny its level of difficulty. Her first year, she had to attend summer school to retake anatomy. “I was looking at having to repeat my freshman year because it was just so hard,” she said. The biggest lesson Dr. Williams learned during this period of her life was everyone can't go with you on your journey, as she had to give up a distracting relationship as well as a good girlfriend who spent more time planning a wedding than studying. Both friends were medical students but neither finished, said Dr. Williams. University of Illinois Medical School wasn't lacking racism. Majority race students couldn't understand why the minority students received “special treatment,” and resented the program. During medical school, Dr. Williams trained at the Veterans Administration in Chicago. “The veterans were great at encouraging me. They were the most encouraging bunch,” she said. “They would tell me come, you have to learn how to draw this blood.”

The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County's public health system, is building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland to better serve the community. The building and the 25 acres of green space around it are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth's West Side neighborhood. Today, its staff of nearly 8,000 provides care at MetroHealth's four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid. The health system is home to Cuyahoga County's most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio's only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center. As an academic medical center, with more than 650 physicians and more than 2,000 nurses, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health. For more information, visit

When she left Chicago, she went to Detroit where she completed her residency and fellowship at Wayne State University Medical School. It was in Detroit that she met her husband at a Baptist church she started going to after attending a sorority sister's wedding. Her husband was the vice president of the single's club and would coordinate events. She attended a few events, but they didn't connect until after he showed up at the church's health fair needing to see the doctor. Dr. Williams told him, “That would be me.” She started dating Richard and a year later, they got married in Washington, D.C. Her husband, a systems engineer, is originally from Cleveland. He spent parts of his childhood in Detroit and had returned there to attend college after graduating from Euclid High School here in Ohio. While working as chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital, the first African American woman to hold the position, Dr. Williams gave birth to her first child - a son. With a young child, they found living in Detroit to be a bit rough - especially since Richard traveled a lot. Due to a couple of incidents, a break-in and vandalism, he always worried about his family's safety. Then, he put their home up for sale and they moved into his old bachelor pad until a job opportunity, as well as his father having a heart attack, brought them to Cleveland. Continued on next page... ▒ 19

In Cleveland, Dr. Williams birthed her second child - a daughter - and joined a private practice group where she worked between Huron Road, St. Luke's, St. Vincent Charity and South Pointe Hospitals. “I met a lot of wonderful people that I'm still in contact with,” she said. Dr. Williams came to MetroHealth unintentionally. She served on a committee, an asthma coalition, and one of the members informed her MetroHealth was going through a transition, looking to hire, and thought of Dr. Williams. She resisted a bit but agreed to meet Dr. Ted Warren. “I came here and fell in love,” said Dr. Williams. “What I had in mind as the county/state hospital wasn't at all what was here. I was impressed with the people and the mission that they had here. I was impressed with the building and how well run and organized things were. Dr. Warren, who is my boss to this day, is a great guy, and I couldn't ask for a more supportive boss.” When Dr. Williams left private practice, one of her partners told her she was committing career suicide. In hindsight, she disagrees. “Nothing could be further from the truth. I've had a great career here.” Today, Dr. Williams works as a pulmonary critical care specialist where her division continues to provide advanced quality and unsurpassed care with compassion. She said working in Critical Care makes her realize how short and fragile life is. At MetroHealth, Dr. Williams also served as president of the medical staff, a position you're elected to by your peers. As a result, she became the second African-American, and first African-American woman, to hold the position. She was also assigned to the medications safety committee, which oversees pharmacy services, a position she was not enthusiastic about but later learned to appreciate. “It gave me an appreciation for a system-wide service. I learned a valuable lesson,” Dr. Williams continued. “What can seem like drudgery or a task, is really about being a good steward. Be the best you can be and learn from it. Take every experience and learn from it. Work hard and be accountable.” In addition to taking care of patients with lung disease, often in the ICU, Dr. Williams is an advocate for public health in her role as a board member for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. And, participation on the medication safety committee led to her becoming Chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (P&T) at MetroHealth. Dr. Williams' dedicated and compassionate services were not left unnoticed. Recently she became chair of the national 340B Health Board of Directors, which represents nearly 1,400 hospitals and health systems that participate in the 340B drug pricing program. “Formed in 1993, the organization works to increase the affordability and accessibility of pharmaceutical and clinical care for the nation's poor and underserved populations. It monitors, educates and serves as an advocate on federal legislative and regulatory issues related to drug pricing and other pharmacy matters affecting safety-net providers.” Dr. Williams' selection as board chair at national level is a clear testament to her dedicated and extraordinary accomplishments. Nurturing students is also at the core of Dr. Williams' passion. She has served as medical director for Cuyahoga Community College Respiratory Therapy Program for several years now. “It's all about the new generation of health care students,” she said. She enjoys teaching and mentoring, especially women who are trying to make 20 ▒ NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

home life and career work. Watching her mom go back to school to become a nurse practitioner taught her that she can work outside the home, be a wife, have a career and be a mother. To young women, desiring to enter the medical field, she gives this advice. “You have to be willing to be disciplined and accept delayed gratification, short term sacrifice for a long term gain. You have to put in a lot of self-sacrifice, discipline and time. You also have to know when to cut people loose that are a hindrance and to take and do things at face value, when you see no value, with the idea of it being an investment in your career.” She also advises to be diligent and work hard. Reputation is important. “Have an attitude of gratitude for everything. Always be humble. Life is short.” This advice has helped her live every moment, to develop a real love and appreciation for the struggles people encounter. She tells her children often, “Don't ever doubt that I love you.” “It's a terrible thing to live life with regrets and remorse. I try hard to let people know how much I love and appreciate them.” Dr. Sherrie Williams' personal journey has led her to the upper echelons of the medical profession. Her life story is a testament to hard work, dedication, self discipline and more importantly self-belief. She is an advocate for public health. She nurtures young medical students and is noticeably making a difference as a role model. Any one of these could be considered a remarkable achievement. But for one person to have accomplished them all is truly extraordinary by all standards.


Completed her undergraduate and graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD


Completed medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago, IL


Completed her residency and fellowship training at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, MI


Serves as the medical director of the pulmonary function lab and the pulmonary rehabilitation and smoking cessation programs, MetroHealth


First African American woman to hold the position of chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital


Associate Professor of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine


Serves as chair of the 340B Health Board of Directors, which represents nearly 1,400 hospitals and health systems that participate in the 340B drug pricing program


First African- American woman to hold the position, president of the medical staff for The MetroHealth System

¥ ¥ ¥

Board Member, Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) Member of Board of Directors, The MetroHealth Foundation


Chairs MetroHealth's Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee

Served as the Immediate Past Chair for the Education Committee for America's Essential Hospitals (AEH). â–’ 21

Beware of 'Free Genetic Testing' Medicare Scam Over the past few years, DNA tests have become more popular across the country. However, unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the buzz around these tests to scam Medicare beneficiaries. Scammers target Medicare beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs and door-todoor visits. They offer “free” genetic testing to help recipients avoid diseases or find the right medications. The scammers claim the testing is covered by Medicare, and therefore is free to the beneficiary. In reality, Medicare only covers genetic testing in limited situations, and only when ordered by the beneficiary's physician. If a company bills Medicare for genetic testing, and Medicare denies the claim, the beneficiary could be responsible for the entire cost of the test, which can total around $10,000. In other cases, the scammers are simply trying to obtain Medicare numbers they can use to steal a beneficiary's medical identity or to fraudulently bill Medicare for services they did not provide. Such fraud can hurt not just Medicare beneficiaries, but all American taxpayers who contribute to Medicare. To avoid being scammed, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) offers this advice to beneficiaries:

Ÿ Do not accept genetic testing services, including a cheek swab, from someone at a community event, local fair, farmer's market, parking lot or other large event.

Ÿ Always be cautious about giving out your personal information, including your Medicare number.

Ÿ If you receive a genetic testing kit in the mail, don't accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender and keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the item.

Ÿ Always review your Medicare Summary Notice or explanation of benefits. The terms “gene analysis” or “molecular pathology” may indicate questionable genetic testing. If you received a cheek swab or screening that was not ordered by a trusted provider or have concerns about billing errors or possible fraud, contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP program, funded by ACL, helps Medicare beneficiaries protect themselves from fraud, errors and abuse, and detect and report problems if and when they occur. To find your local SMP, visit or call 1-877-808-2468.


Make Time for Better Health on Busy Days

Fitting in time to exercise and eat sensible meals can be impractical, if not impossible, when the demands of daily life get in the way. If busy days limit your ability to live as healthy of a lifestyle as you desire, take charge by squeezing in fitness and smart snacking when and where you can. Sneak in some exercise. Even on days you can't make it to the gym, you can find ways to get your body moving. Forego the closest parking spaces and get in a little cardio with a walk into the office or while running errands. Skip the elevator and use the stairs. Swap out your traditional desk chair for a standing desk or a balance ball that lets you get in a little core exercise. Make a point to write down your fitness resolutions and stick to them. Choose smart snacks on the go. There are plenty of snack foods available that prove you don't have to choose between great taste and great for you – even when a busy schedule threatens to get in the way. For example, when you need a quick, healthy snack, make a clean choice like Stryve Beef Biltong, a meat snack with a few simple ingredients that is high in protein. Air-dried to retain as much of the protein and flavor as possible with no sugar or preservatives, biltong is just beef and spices. It also contains no MSG, nitrates, gluten or other artificial ingredients. Biltong also works in popular high-protein, low-carb eating plans like keto and paleo. Drink more water. Staying hydrated is essential for good health, and since you can carry water with you nearly any place you go, it takes virtually no extra time at all. Proper hydration helps keep skin supple and your body systems functioning properly. Water also helps you feel full; in fact, people often mistake the body's natural craving for more water as hunger. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and refill it often. If you have trouble guzzling at least 64 ounces a day, set reminders on your phone or computer to keep you on track. Make meal prepping more fun. If planning an entire week of meals seems like a chore, make it more entertaining by sharing the duty with a friend or incorporating the whole family. Having meals and snacks ready to go for the week ahead makes it less tempting to grab quicker, less healthy options when a busy day sneaks up on you. Carve out mental health time. It may seem counter-intuitive but forcing yourself to grab a few minutes of down time can actually make you more productive. Turn off or mute your devices and take a break. You might use the time to collect your scattered thoughts into an efficient todo list or simply meditate to give your brain a break before you head to bed so you can wake up refreshed for another day. Find more ideas for living a healthier on-the-go lifestyle at â–’ 23

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