Enduring echoes: Maggie Phoenix Gilead December 4, 1943-July 16, 2012.
Dr. Gilead brought vision, conceptual thinking and unique ideas to any group in which she participated Her expertise in mental health nursing brought additional perspective to any conversation. Her contributions were at the local and state levels. She served on the Governor's Mental Health Planning Committee, which she chaired, and the Governor's Think Tank on Women's Health. She served on the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board and helped to pass House Bill 100-a bill that aided improvement of services for mental health patients in the community. Her advocacy efforts were noted by twice winning a Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Community Service, one for her work in innovative nursing projects for treatment of African-American patients with Sickle Cell Anemia. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Ludie Andrews Award from the Georgia Nurses Association.
Dr. Gilead was a pioneer in being only the second African-American faculty member in the School of Nursing at Emory University, and one of the first faculty members to earn a PhD degree. She was drawn to projects and initiatives that incorporated interdepartmental cooperation and cultural diversity She was a member of a committee that met in 1984 to design a new way to teach cultural concepts in the School of Nursing and then together published the results in a scholarly article entitled "A values clarification approach to cultural diversity," which was published in Nursing and Health Care. She also participated in planning a series of conferences held throughout the 1990s entitled the "Politics of Caring" that attracted participants from all over the country and brought together women faculty from nursing, medicine, theology, English, history and other departments of Emory University to plan and learn from each other. She served as adjunct faculty in the Department of African and African-American Studies in Emory College, and lectured in the Women's Center of Emory University. Gilead's research included touch in nursing practice patient health issues within the African American community, coping with chronic pain and best nursing practices.
Dr. Gilead served on the faculty of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing for 35 years, where she influenced scores of nursing students as their mentor, classroom lecturer, clinical instructor and friend. Her office door was always open with a jar of candy on her desk. And her door never closed until illness took her away. Her hope never waned for a return to the School to help mold men and women into the profession she loved.
Dr. Maggie Gilead's funeral service was held on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church with her family, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate her distinguished life as a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, colleague, mentor and friend. Maggie made the world a better place for many people. Those who remain will cherish her memory and celebrate her life.