Health Literacy Missouri Names President and CEO
ST. LOUIS – The Health Literacy Missouri (HLM) Board of Directors announced Monday that Dr. Catina O’Leary will serve as the organization’s president and chief executive officer. O’Leary, a St. Louis-based health researcher who most recently served as an assistant professor at the Washington University School of Medicine Program in Occupational Therapy, will begin June 1.
O’Leary was selected after an extensive, nationwide search to lead the non-profit, which works to improve the health of Missourians through health literacy and is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
“She is extremely intelligent and energetic with a strong management style that will help to further establish Health Literacy Missouri as a leader in its field,” said Dr. Steve Pu, chairman of the HLM board and a surgeon in private practice in Kennett, Mo. “Dr. O’Leary is a lifelong Missourian. She truly understands the needs of the people that HLM serves, both rural and urban.”
O’Leary has researched numerous physical and mental health-related topics, including HIV and sexually transmitted disease-reduction in high-risk St. Louis women, as well as behavioral interventions to increase participation in health services and research among community-recruited groups.
“I am excited to join the HLM team and I look forward to engaging diverse community partners in our work,” said O’Leary. “My efforts will focus on important health-related outcomes among underserved populations across the state.”
Health literacy, in simple terms, is the ability to make good health decisions in everyday life. O’Leary’s research career has placed her at the center of many community-based initiatives with health literacy at their core. Much of her work was conducted through HealthStreet, an innovative program in which community health workers native to St. Louis use a health van and a walk-in storefront in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood to engage underserved populations in health-related opportunities and research studies. After serving for many years as HealthStreet faculty and manager under founding director Dr. Linda Cottler, O’Leary was named HealthStreet’s director in 2011.
O’Leary also serves as board president at The Bridge, a drop-in shelter that offers daily meals and basic social services to homeless and food insecure St. Louisans. She is a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis Mental Health and Substance Abuse Allocation Panel, and assistant to the treasurer for the American Psychopathological Association.
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Health Literacy Missouri
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