Black History Month: Spotlight on Gilchrist’s Employees

February 29, 2024, Diversity

Black History Month: Spotlight on Gilchrist’s Employees

This Black History Month, join us in celebrating the outstanding contributions of our Black professionals throughout Gilchrist’s 30 years. Their dedication and expertise enrich our organization, reflecting the diversity and excellence that define our team. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on each of these individuals, recognizing their vital roles in our commitment to compassionate care.

Jaamal Keith’s journey with Gilchrist began at the young age of fifteen. As fate would have it, Jaamal lived on the same block as the Joseph Ritchey House, the original home of Gilchrist Center Baltimore, and was offered a job to provide security and cooking support for the building’s patients and visitors. Now, over 26 years later, he serves as a Facilities Supervisor, ensuring all in-patient services are fully equipped. Reflecting on Gilchrist’s growth, Jaamal remarks, “It feels good to witness a once small hospice expand into one supporting so many people.” Jaamal’s motivation stems from knowing he’s making a difference. When it comes to the mission of Gilchrist, Jaamal says, “The work we do is essential to the community because a lot of people don’t have a nice place to pass away and it’s nice to have a facility where you can have good care before you pass. Your last moments on earth you want to be comfortable, and I think Gilchrist provides that.” As we celebrate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Jaamal hopes for continued growth and unity, emphasizing mutual support and respect among staff. Jaamal’s dedication embodies the essence of Gilchrist’s mission to provide compassionate care.

Dawn Lowe, our Philanthropy Services Manager, has been a driving force behind our fundraising efforts for 25 years. Dawn’s role includes processing, analyzing and reconciling all charitable donations made to Gilchrist and managing   Gilchrist’s fundraising database, and its components. Her meticulous work has facilitated hundreds of thousands of gifts, enabling us to fulfill our mission. When asked about the message she would like to convey to her colleagues and the broader community about the importance of recognizing and honoring African American influences to hospice and healthcare in general, Dawn says, “African Americans have played major roles in the past and current advancement of healthcare. I think that recognizing and celebrating those contributions will be beneficial when interacting and providing patient care. When African American patients know that they are respected and valued as members of our society trust in health care settings will increase.” As we commemorate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Dawn expresses her hope that, “We continue to raise awareness about hospice care and its benefits, especially within diverse cultures and low-income communities. I also hope for our continued growth and the expansion of care to additional surrounding areas.”

Gail Chevalier has been with Gilchrist for over two years and is the FIRST person to ever serve as the Chief of Staff for Gilchrist. In her role, she provides support to Cathy Hamel, President of Gilchrist; Dr. Mark Gloth, Chief Medical Officer; the Board of Directors; and the GHIPM Department. Gail believes that the work we do at Gilchrist is vital to our communities, because it gives individuals and their families the opportunity to live the end of their lives on their own terms. “We all deserve to make our own decisions about our healthcare. Because Gilchrist offers a variety of services (hospice for both adults and kids, palliative, geriatric care, counseling, and bereavement) throughout the community at inpatient centers, residential communities, hospitals and in homes, we can live out the mission of allowing people to live life to the fullest.” The message Gail would like to share with her colleagues and community about the importance of recognizing and honoring African American contributions to hospice care and healthcare is, “Recognition and celebration of our contributions are an essential part of the representation that is so vital and necessary in our work. Representation is important because we know there are many prevalent health equity issues that are contributing to a large need for care services within our communities. I believe that, in general, healthcare outcomes can be most successful in communities where the representation of caregivers, clinicians, healthcare providers and thought leaders are equivalent to those on the receiving end of the services and care we offer. All in all, when cultures are greatly represented, great things can be accomplished.” As we celebrate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Gail hopes that “Gilchrist will continue to grow its services and programs and retain its respected reputation as an industry leader in Maryland, as well as continue to attract employees and volunteers who truly believe in and live out the mission of our founder. I would also like to see the advocacy work Gilchrist does through its volunteer and community programs encourage and enhance conversations around end-of-life care and hospice services in our communities.”

Ebony Brown-Sewell, our Access Center Manager, has made a substantial impact through her 22-year tenure. Her dedication to providing quality care and respect to every patient exemplifies our core values. As the Access Center Manager she leads and supports quality intake operations for all of Gilchrist service lines to include hospice, elder medical care, counseling and support, bereavement, palliative care and   provides direct management of all Access Coordinators and Care Navigators. When Ebony thinks about the mission of Gilchrist she says that from firsthand experience, “No matter what their circumstances may be, every patient is treated with dignity, quality care and the utmost respect.” When asked, what message she would like to share with her colleagues and the broader community about the importance of recognizing and honoring African American contributions to hospice care and healthcare in general, Ebony says, “The more education that is done in the African American community about hospice the more African Americans will use healthcare in general. African Americans fellowship at church, hair salons, community events are often a resource for each other. By listening and educating my African American colleagues about healthcare that gives them the autonomy to make good, educated healthcare decisions.” As we celebrate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Ebony hopes that Gilchrist continues growing as an organization that provides education and resources in order to help meet patients and families where they are.

Sharon Mitchell has been an invaluable member of the Gilchrist team for over 10 years, serving as a Medical Secretary in the Gilchrist Geriatric and Elder Medical Care practice. Her journey into this role began when she recognized a need for additional office support due to high provider and patient workloads. Sharon’s dedication to Gilchrist’s mission was evident in her voluntary efforts to step into this crucial role. She continues to work at Gilchrist because of the meaningful interactions she has with patients, their families, and friends on a daily basis. Sharon believes our work is essential because end-of-life care is often overlooked in life’s planning, yet it’s a crucial aspect that Gilchrist provides with compassion and understanding. As we celebrate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Sharon hopes to see the organization continue hiring individuals who treat patients like family and recognize the talents and abilities of each employee. She also emphasizes the importance of fostering future opportunities for the next generations. When asked about the significance of recognizing African American contributions to hospice care and healthcare, Sharon believes in the power of unity, stating that “the best way forward is always together.”

Johnny Joyner has been positively impacting the lives of patients and their families as a Hospice Aide at Gilchrist for a decade. With over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field, Johnny retired from the state of Maryland before joining Gilchrist. However, a visit to a Gilchrist inpatient center sparked an epiphany within him. Despite being retired, Johnny felt compelled by his heart’s calling to continue helping others through hospice care. He believes our work is vital for the community, especially within the black community, where there may be misconceptions about hospice. Johnny emphasizes the importance of education and embracing alternative methods of transitioning. As we celebrate Gilchrist’s 30th anniversary, Johnny hopes the organization will uphold its values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and continue to offer opportunities to individuals from diverse backgrounds. He believes growth occurs through conversations and mutual education on various cultures. Johnny says, “Everyone is not called to do this. If you know that you are called to be part of someone’s life at this stage, you’re special, embrace it.”

This Black History Month, we celebrate these remarkable individuals and their contributions to Gilchrist. Their passion, dedication, and expertise embody the spirit of Black excellence and enrich our organization in countless ways. Join us in honoring and celebrating their vital roles in our commitment to compassionate care.

Learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Gilchrist by clicking here!

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