My Neighborhood, My Life, My Journey, My ACCESS!
My environment shaped a lot about me, my schools were all within walking distance of my home where me and my 5 siblings shared a three-bedroom one-bathroom apartment. I went to school in mobile units (I know that seems strange) called Phyllis Wheatly Parent Child Center, then I moved to the big school Isaac Newton which led to George Washington Carver Middle and High School. I graduated in 1982 at the age of 17, and I am sure my siblings were happy about mom holding me back when I was promoted from the 3rd to the 5th grade, she decided that 4th grade would suffice, as I had to grow into all that knowledge bestowed from that environment. First in my class of 1982 to get a Ph.D., and that didn’t happen until 2016, 38 years after high school. A Walden University doctorate in public health specializing in health promotion and community education…talk about confronting the social and health disparities that plagued your playground, neighborhood and community against the intimate comforts and familiarities in the place that I still call home. I grew up in one of the first public housing environments, went to the first private Historically Black University…Wilberforce University (1986) and went on to graduate school as a first in my entire family lineage (known and unknown) to acclaim a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University (1988)…these two prestigious documents would allow me to publicly do what I had naturally been doing all my life…creating ACCESS for other like me. And still I had not realized that was what I was doing. Nevertheless, there was and still is something to be said about incorporating who you are with who you will become, because even a toxic jungle can’t hold you back. It may make you sick, it may stunt your thinking, it may allow you to doubt your creative self, but it cannot take away the drive to want OUT!!!
Every dream has a dreamer from whom it originated, embrace the dreamer for without selfish-insight, the dream cannot be realized. I learned early on to invest in myself even at the will of being broke, as education cannot be foreclosed, and knowledge has no repossession clause attached to the price you will pay…because ACCESS is the only way OUT!!!
Writers Note: You can find me studying about the Quality of Life for Black girls in the city of Columbus under the vision of Columbus City Council Member Priscilla R. Tyson’s vision for the Commission on Black Girls (2018); or you may have read my research on An Exploration of Ohio’s Mandated Shaken Baby Law (2015), or remember the All Babies Matter campaign (2011) on infant mortality that was a contribution to the current work today on addressing race and health disparities in African American infant mortality rates in Franklin County, Ohio, or remember my work when Ohio celebrated all 88 counties participating in planting one pinwheel for every reported case of child abuse and neglect in April (1988) to recognize the adults and communities who advocate on behalf of children who are victims of abuse and neglect Pinwheels for Prevention. This is how I create ACCESS.
Pat grew up in the concrete jungle as some would like to say…Yeah the “projects’ or “AG” as she would fondly call it, or as it is properly known…Altgeld Gardens. She has 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations in both clinical management and leadership. Her research interest is in the intersection of health promotion and education to health outcomes within minority communities and how legislative processes address public health issues. Pat is the current Executive Director of CERIIDD and is responsible for leading the charge in transforming lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Pat has previously served as President of the Association of Black Social Workers, Columbus (OH) chapter; Vice-President of the Executive Board of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC); on the Boards for: the Family Violence Prevention Council, the Diversity Board for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), the Coalition for Family Violence School-based Task Force, and The Buckeye Ranch.
Writers Note: If you do the research, my home has been described as a toxic jungle and on the registry as a public health concern from environmental protection agency on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois.
Pat Educational History:
1982 – HS Graduate, Chicago Public Schools
1986 – BA in rehabilitation counseling, Wilberforce University
1988 – Master’s of Social Work , The Ohio State University
2016 – Ph.D in public health, Walden University
Connect with Pat:
PatLyons is my handle, look me up…Oh, now they call me Doctor P/Pat. I occupy the space where personal touch and contact matters…can’t tweet, post or find my story unless you find me personally!