Dr. Patricia Morris
On May 11, 2016, at age 74, Dr. Patricia Morris coordinated the first coloring book art therapy class for East Jefferson General Hospital’s Healthy Lifestyles program. The classes use music and intricately patterned, adult-level coloring templates to promote relaxation and stress relief.
Pat thought she’d do nothing but catch up on sleep after she retired. Doing nothing simply didn’t work out for her. Before long she started going to the fitness center (she goes five days a week now, exercising more than most of us). Next, she started volunteering regularly at East Jefferson General Hospital. Believing that no task is too small and no grand idea too big for her to tackle, she embodies the ultimate spirit of volunteerism with an outlook guided by this question: What can I do to help others?
From her childhood appetite for learning to her success at becoming a first-generation college graduate — and then attaining a master’s degree, a PhD and a distinguished career as an education professor — Pat recognized the impact others had on her development. People took an interest in her, believed in her and encouraged her to reach further. It’s a lesson she’s paid forward a thousand-fold. Some of her most important work as a college educator involved connecting with, guiding and inspiring students who were struggling under the weight of things out of their control — whether it was overwhelming economic hardship, an incarcerated parent or any number of challenges small or large.
At age 74, Pat continues to reach further. In trading the education environment for the healthcare setting, she has expanded her ability to help others, even those she’ll never meet. She says volunteering is a way of life for her now. The one thing she won’t do is slow down. She tried it once; it’s not for her.
Patricia Morris … Peoples Health Champion.
If you think about it, you probably know a Champion.
A Champion may even be you. Nominate yourself or someone you know—like a relative, co-worker or neighbor—as a Peoples Health Champion.