Hometown Heroes 2014 Profiles: Tackling Problems of All Sizes: Kate Cragwall

This week we continue our series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration hosted by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

Story by Jon Breems

ImageThe American Red Cross of West Michigan is excited to honor Kate Cragwall with the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award for her leadership and commitment in the field of mental health.

Throughout her career, Kate has exemplified the selfless dedication to the health and wellbeing of others the Health Advocate Award embodies. For more than 40 years, Kate has served her community as a clinical social worker, trainer, consultant, and volunteer.

Dr. Charles Drew (1904-1950) was a pioneer in the field of blood transfusion. His research led to improved techniques for storing blood and creating centralized blood banks. Eventually, out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank. Each year, the American Red Cross of West Michigan honors the pioneering work of Dr. Drew to the Red Cross by presenting the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the health and wellbeing of the community.

This year is the first time the Dr. Charles Drew Health Advocate Award has been given to someone in the mental health field. In her career, Kate has focused on being an agent of change—both in the personal lives of clients and in the larger picture of mental healthcare. Kate likes to talk about how she switches back-and-forth between the two ‘levels’ of mental health work—the “macro” and “micro”. At the “micro” level, for decades Kate, in clinical practice, has helped individuals and families from all walks of life.

“I just felt like it wasn’t enough to just do things at an individual level,” she added.“While that was important, you weren’t dealing with some of the systemic problems”.

Indeed at the “macro” level, Kate has been an influential member of a multitude of organizations and societies in West Michigan. She has served on numerous volunteer boards including Spectrum Health, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Michigan Multiple Sclerosis Society, and National Voluntary Hospitals of America Foundation She has presented widely on the behavioral treatment and management of stress disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and Dissociative Disorders. She has been a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, a Board-Certified diplomat in Clinical Social Work, a Clinical Member of both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. She has served as a delegate to the National Assembly of the National Association of Social Workers.

Join the American Red Cross of West Michigan at our annual Hometown Heroes Celebration on May 1 at DeVos Place as we recognize Kate for her accomplishments!

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