Going above and beyond: Marshaun Butler, Andrea Bradley-Ewing honored by Black Achievers Society
Children’s Mercy staff members are regularly among the accomplished individuals recognized each year by the Black Achievers Society of Kansas City, usually one at a time.
But this year, two Children's Mercy professionals – Andrea Bradley-Ewing, MPA, MA, and Marshaun Butler, MHSA – stood in the spotlight at the annual Black Achievers Award event in January, Andrea as a new inductee into the organization, and 2008 inductee Marshaun as Black Achiever of the Year.
The Black Achievers Society was founded more than 40 years ago to recognize accomplishments of African-American leaders across the metropolitan area and provide role models for minority youth. Andrea and Marshaun are among several Society members at Children's Mercy, including past inductees Julia Simmons, MD, MBA; Milton Fowler, Jr., MD, MBA, FAAP, FACEP; Venise Mobley, RN, MSN, CPN; and Jesse Smith.
In honoring Marshaun and Andrea this year, it’s clear the Society continues to take its mission seriously.
Marshaun Butler: Leading by example
Black Achiever of the Year recognition is conferred upon Society members who go “above and beyond what is expected in every aspect of what we represent” – and it’s difficult to go more “above and beyond” than Marshaun.
As Vice President – Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas and Regional Practices, she oversees operations at the Overland Park hospital, Blue Valley and College Boulevard clinics and regional practices in St. Joseph, Wichita and Joplin. As big a job as that is, Marshaun also finds time to serve in leadership roles for community organizations ranging from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and Overland Park Chamber of Commerce to the Gift of Life Foundation, Mattie Rhodes Center, the Greater Kansas City chapter of Links, Inc. – and, for the past four years, as President of the Black Achievers Society.
Marshaun grew up in a family rooted in academic achievement and community service. The one-time Girl Scout followed her mother’s footsteps seeking academic excellence. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University, then a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Kansas. With expertise in strategic planning, she joined CM in 2003 in planning and business development positions before moving to CMH-Kansas in 2007.
She acknowledges the influence of family role models in setting her course, and seeks to similarly influence today’s young people. While the Society currently awards college scholarships and offers many avenues for members to interact with youth, Marshaun sees opportunities to accomplish even more in a world that has changed since the Society’s founding in 1974. As outgoing president, she is leading a strategic planning initiative to amplify those efforts.
“I want to help engage the next level of leaders,” she said. “We need to build a pipeline of talented young role models and be a resource and mentor to them. We need to focus not just on what we do today, but also the legacy we leave behind.”
Andrea Bradley-Ewing: Collaborating for good
Andrea is Director of Community Engaged Research in the Division of Health Services and Outcomes Research, a title that describes both her role and her contribution to CM and beyond.
“Community engaged research is a collaborative approach that engages parents and families, community members and stakeholders in every aspect of research, from development and design to implementation and dissemination of results,” Andrea explained.
It’s an approach that takes more time, but yields better results.
“The beauty of research is when you can engage populations from different socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural perspectives in efforts to improve health outcomes,” Andrea said.
“If we want to influence patients’ and families’ health behaviors and outcomes, we have to engage them in the process and take the nuances of their unique cultural perspective into account,” she added. “The greatest interventions will not be effective if they never reach their intended audience.”
Andrea initially intended to turn her interest in psychology into a career as a clinical psychologist. But during her undergraduate years at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, she began noticing that she along with many of her friends began losing family members at an early age due to avoidable health conditions that disproportionately affected minority communities.
“I wanted to make a difference so dads get to spend more time with their daughters and grandmothers get to see their grandchildren’s baseball games or dance recitals,” she said.
So after earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in psychology and public administration at UMKC, she went to work at her alma mater, collaborating on projects to increase medication adherence, reduce risks of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and increase preventative health screenings in multiple community settings.
She came to CM in 2014 and still draws upon partnerships she has developed over her 10 years at UMKC. “It’s great to see how many of those relationships have blossomed over the years,” she said.
She now is involved in collaborative research validating tools to screen pediatric patients for suicidal ideation, developing and testing interventions to increase adolescent vaccination rates, engaging English- and Spanish-speaking families in designing interventions to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing, and developing tools to increase HIV education and screening in African-American faith communities. She serves on CM’s Community Benefit Advisory and Community Health Needs Assessment committees.
Andrea also is actively involved with several civic and professional organizations, including the KC FAITH Initiative Community Action Board, KC Grand Families Advisory Council, the Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition, the American Public Health Association, American Psychological Association and Pi Alpha Alpha honor society.
Being inducted into the Black Achievers Society was both an honor and a surprise.
“I simply follow my heart and passion, and I don’t really think about anyone noticing,” she said.
But Andrea’s expertise and commitment have indeed been noticed.
As a colleague wrote in Andrea’s nomination for membership, “She has taught me so much about how to bring community leaders and stakeholders together and how to get them engaged in the research and discovery process…. She is a true gem, and I feel very lucky to get to work with her.”
Andrea defines achievement as always putting forth one’s best effort and making a difference in the community and the world. She values the support she has received from family, teachers and colleagues, and like Marshaun and other Society members, is eager to pay those blessings forward.
“It’s planting seeds for the next generation,” she said. “We may not be able to eradicate all of the issues affecting our communities, but we can give of our time, talent and resources to help cultivate the next generation of community and business leaders.”
Learn more about the Black Achievers Society of Kansas City.
Learn more about research at Children's Mercy.