It had been mentioned that she had a laid-back, down-to-earth personality. Still, hearing this was a bit of a surprise: "I like to play with STDs." That was the first indication that "play" is not only part of Shannon Wilson's work hard/play hard philosophy, but also a reflection of the joy she finds in work.
Play colors her world—a world in which every day is pursued with determination.
The executive director for the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and assistant vice president for the Alliance for Health, she entered the community health care field through lab research and epidemiological studies. As Shannon was joining the field, arising statistics revealed African American women were contracting sexually transmitted diseases at a high rate—one in two. Changing peoples' ideas about health is a passion of Shannon's, and very close to her heart. She was on the right path. "Health is about feeling your best and being your best."
People are bombarded with negative messages, and Shannon wants to increase positive, helpful information. She wants to change how people view health, especially in the African-American community. She's passionate about strengthening the health care safety net for vulnerable populations; about studying the health and race intersection; about improving the health care experience for minority populations. "All people deserve to be celebrated and valued."
Click here to read our profile on Shannon Wilson in the digital edition of West Michigan Woman.