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Pediatrician, Case alum to spearhead child policy initiative

Cheryl Morrow-White, M.D., has hung up her stethoscope to join Case Western Reserve University as the director of the new Child Policy Initiative of the Schubert Center for Child Development. But she won’t skip a heart beat in her determination to take a few pulses—especially those of policymakers and advocates for improving the lives of children.

Morrow-White has found a niche that will allow her to integrate her background in pediatrics with the intellectual resources at Case and the interdisciplinary interactions of faculty and students interested in child studies.

Morrow-White will implement the new child policy initiative, adopted by the Schubert Center last July and supported by funding from the George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation. The Robert Mann and Carol Mann Endowment Fund provides additional funds for student externships and experiences.

The goals of the initiative include infusing child-related public policy issues where applicable throughout the Case curriculum; developing research briefs and white papers on child issues for policymakers; and conducting communication workshops that prepare and equip Case researchers with skills to report academic findings to audiences beyond the university.

In her new role, Morrow-White said she will facilitate the transmission of child-related research findings from Case faculty to the policy arena where there is often a need for scientifically sound, data-driven information.

She added, “Policy makers at all levels of government request and require factual data upon which to base their decisions.” Morrow-White said her practical, hands-on experiences in medicine have given her the background to advocate for children in local, state and national arenas.

Morrow-White will link more than 300 faculty members engaged in research on child-related issues in the areas of social sciences, humanities, nursing, medicine, dentistry and public health.

The 1981 alumna of Case School of Medicine said she “welcomes faculty and other members of the Case community to engage in dialogues surrounding the issues of child wellbeing.”

Morrow-White grew up in Cleveland. She has lived most of her life in the Northeast Ohio area except for her undergraduate years at Harvard University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and her residency years at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

At MetroHealth Medical Center’s Kenneth Clement Health Center in Cleveland, she launched her career as a pediatrician. She began at Clement Center with a three-year National Health Service Corps commitment and remained there for nine years. Her professional career took a new turn when she assisted Mt. Sinai Hospital with the redesign of its pediatric clinic into a private practice model. After the hospital closed, she joined Huron Road Hospital to start a new pediatric clinic just as the Cleveland Clinic, which runs Huron Road Hospital, revived obstetrical services at the Huron site.

“The Huron Hospital experience was one of building an outpatient department from the ground up. It was exhilarating and all-consuming,” said Morrow-White. The department served the East Cleveland community.

“We earned the respect and trust of the Cleveland Clinic Hospital System. This was reflected in the significant number of employees who chose to have their children seen in our practice, and pediatricians at CCF frequently referred children with complex medical problems to us for primary care,” said Morrow-White.

As a pediatrician, she did more than just analyze vital signs, perform exams and prescribe medicine. “I treated the child holistically. Not only health issues, but social, educational and emotional wellbeing must be addressed in the primary care setting,” she explained.

Even with policy initiative opportunities on the horizon in places like Washington, she could not pull herself away from the city, she said.

“I continue to meet people who have similar interests in child advocacy, but the ‘connectedness’ that I already have in Cleveland can only help to further the goals of the Schubert Center’s initiative,” Morrow-White said.

She began honing her advocacy skills through work as chair of the Public Policy Committee for the American Heart Association, national office. Other local involvement includes participation on the Health and Wellness Visioning Council of the United Way; president of the American Hearth Association’s Ohio Valley Affiliate and as a consulting as a medical expert with the Social Security Administration. Morrow-White is also a trustee of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, from which she graduated in 1973.

 

About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.