Board Member Spotlight: Catina O’Leary

image-1Dr. Catina O’Leary believes that a safe and healthy life should be guaranteed to everyone in our community. Her work has made this more attainable to all members of the community, particularly underserved women.

As President and CEO of Health Literacy Missouri, much of O’Leary’s time is spent working toward that goal. Health Literacy Missouri brings together a wide range of health care providers, advocates, and organizations with the goal of helping people make good health decisions. This goal is achieved by focusing on health literacy, or empowerment of individuals to obtain, communicate, process, and understand the basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Much of Dr. O’Leary’s career has been dedicated to making health resources more accessible to the underserved. As an assistant professor at Washington University, Dr. O’Leary has participated in and led various projects, including efforts to reduce HIV in high-risk St. Louis women. She also served as director of HealthStreet, a community health program focused on engaging underserved populations. In addition, Dr. O’Leary has participated in research on behavioral intervention to increase participation in health services, and other projects involving public health.

Dr. O’Leary first became interested in Magdalene after listening to Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, speak about the transformation of lives taking place in Nashville. Shortly after learning about the Magdalene model, Dr. O’Leary was approached by Rev. Mike Kinman and asked to join the effort to bring a similar program to the women of St. Louis.

Her current service on Magdalene St. Louis’s Board of Directors and leadership of The Healing Processes Task Force are just two more ways Dr. O’Leary gives back to the St. Louis Community.

Dr. O’Leary believes that Magdalene will have a tremendous impact in St. Louis on both the individual and community level. Directly, it will transform the lives of women invited to the Magdalene home. The effects of participation in the Magdalene community will ripple through the St. Louis community to impact the lives of children, parents, friends, and neighbors of women served.

Angela Mullins