My City Awards WinnersCongratulations!



In the fall issue of My City Wellness, we announced the winners of the inaugural Wellness Awards, recognizing excellence in local health care as chosen by reader votes (see previous page). Thank you to those who helped us in this endeavor! In this section, we profile some of the 2018 winners – look for more in upcoming issues of Wellness.

Maria Francisca S. Bernabe, MD

Occupation: Physician, Hamilton Community Health Network

Education: Medical School – University of Santo Tomas (Philippines), Residency – Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Special Training: Pediatrics

Affiliation: American Academy of Pediatrics

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

When I was in high school, my father always encouraged me to visit, help and serve the poor, especially the sick. It was his vision of a purposeful life that first inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. He never coached me about lucrative careers to pursue. Rather, from him, I received elaborate lectures on noble professions and how one’s profession is essentially one’s life statement. From his perspective, a life well-lived is one dedicated to serving a greater good. From my perspective, a career as a doctor best fit such a mission.

How did you choose your field?

During registration at college, I found out I had lined up for the wrong course – it turned out to be providential!

What is most rewarding about your profession?

Contributing to the wellness and betterment of my patients, especially their outlook on life, their future.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

Respect your body. It will tell you what it needs.

Cynthia Bolden-Harden, RPh

Occupation: Pharmacist, Hamilton Community Health Network

Education: B.S. in Pharmacy, Wayne State University School of Pharmacy 1983

Affiliation: American Pharmacists Association

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be in a health-related field. As a child, I wanted to be a surgical nurse, then a pediatrician. When I began college, I decided to pursue medical technology.

How did you choose your field?

I chose the field of pharmacy while attending University of Michigan. I decided I didn’t want to look at body fluids forever, and had a couple of friends who were in the pharmacy school at Wayne State. They encouraged me to apply and I was accepted.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

It’s rewarding to help people have a better quality of life with the use of appropriate medication.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

Take the least amount of medication to better your overall health. To potentially reduce the need for medications, I encourage people to eat healthier and stay active.

Bernadine Ann McCracklin

Occupation: Personal Trainer at The Gym Fitness Center, Instructor at Grand Blanc Fit Body Bootcamp, Bodybuilding Bikini and Figure Prep/Posing Coach since 2010

Education: College Studies in Nutrition Science

Special Training: TRX and ISSA Certified, Spinning Instructor 2011-2015

Affiliations: Grand Blanc Fit Body Boot Camp, The Gym Fitness Center

When did you know you wanted to become a personal trainer?

I began weightlifting at the age of 19 and fell in love with training and transformations – physical, mental and emotional.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

I’ve wanted to share my love and knowledge with others. I enjoy helping people learn how to incorporate healthy life choices to benefit a higher quality of well-being.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

My favorite health tips would be to love your body as is and be grateful for the current opportunities to make and create your ideal level of healthy confidence and a happy lifestyle. Create a plan, find help to keep you accountable and be consistent with yourself daily.

Andrea J. Munsell-Simpson

Occupation: Licensed Massage Therapist

Education: 2007 Graduate of Lapeer’s Health Enrichment Center

Special Training: Continuing Education Courses: The Pelvic Floor Paradox, Breathing Pattern Disorder (Dr. Leon Chaitow); Creating Relationships that Work and Common Injuries of Neck, Shoulder & Elbow (Dr. Ben Benjamin).

Affiliation: Therapy Association Professional

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

I knew I wanted to help people after a client left my mother’s massage office so grateful for relief of her back pain. I was interning at her clinic in downtown Grand Blanc before I ever even thought of massage therapy as a career, and I fell in love with the possibilities.

How did you choose your field?

Working in my mother’s clinic, I began to see how massage can truly impact people’s lives and give a sense of connectedness often lost in today’s medical field. It seemed a perfect fit for me, blending science and wellness.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

Hands down, it’s helping people live pain-free lives. When my clients can get down and play with their grandchildren, go back to work after car accidents, get relief from chronic neck pain or be able to cope with side effects due to physical, medical or mental conditions is extremely rewarding. There is no greater joy to me than when I’m able to restore a person’s confidence in the capabilities of their own body.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

Listen to your body, give it time to heal and always remember that movement is medicine, no matter how small you start.

Sundar Ramanathan, MD

Occupation: Nephrology, Kidney Transplant Specialist, Internal Medicine and Medical Director at FMC Mt. Morris Dialysis Unit

Education: St. John’s Medical College, University of Arkansas, and Henry Ford Hospital

Special Training: Board Certified in Nephrology and Internal Medicine

Affiliations: Mid-Michigan Kidney & Hypertension Specialist, McLaren Flint, McLaren Lapeer and Hurley

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

I grew up in a family of doctors. My maternal grandfather was an officer in the British Army Medical Corps. in the port of Madras, India in WW2 and he inspired me the most. My father died poor, but was a physician, too. He always put his patients ahead of money. I was very attached to my mother and decided to go to med school so I could stay in the city close to her.

How did you choose your field?

I have had the good fortune of training under some legendary physicians, such as Dr. Tom Andreoli, and this went a long way in fostering my interest in nephrology.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

I enjoy the spectrum of care with office patients, dialysis patients and my hospital patients. The most rewarding is when a dialysis patient receives the gift of life or when a patient’s kidneys recover after starting dialysis.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

Eat well. Be wise in your diet and take time to smell the roses. Enjoy life … we only get one!

Lyric C. Walsh, CNM

Occupation: Certified Nurse Midwife

Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UM- Flint, Masters of Science in Nursing from U of M – Ann Arbor

Special Training: Clinical Faculty Appointment to Michigan State University, Neonatal Resuscitation, Advanced Cardio Life Support, OB limited Ultrasound

Affiliation: Hurley Medical Center

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

As a child, I was fascinated by pregnancy and the miracle of a new baby. I loved talking to pregnant ladies about how they were feeling, etc. While in college figuring out my life, a guidance counselor told me about the Certified Nurse Midwife track. As I researched the profession, I felt it was perfect for me and I’ve loved it ever since. I’m especially thankful that I can have such a rewarding career, be a wife and a mother of four delightful children.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

I am honored to be included in the most beautiful and intimate time for a family. I have been humbled to work with people during the most lovely and tragic times of their lives. I finish every day feeling like I’ve done God’s work. It doesn’t feel like work when you are doing something you love! I have to add how much I love having students. In this role, I’ve been able to interact with medical, nursing, nurse practitioner and PA students. I am thankful for the opportunity to “pay it forward” in honor of all the people who have taught me through the years.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

I advocate for pregnant ladies to receive chiropractic care, which can alleviate so many discomforts without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Also, make sure you drink enough water! Dehydration causes so many preventable problems.

Veronica Williams-Latnie DSW, PhD, BCD, ACSW, LCSW

Occupation: Director of Behavior Health Services, Hamilton Community Health Network

Education: Doctor of Social Work, Capella University; Doctor of Philosophy, Counseling Psychology, Southern California Graduate School of Professional Studies; Master of Social Work, Clinical Social Work, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Arts – Social Welfare, Louisiana Tech University

Special Training: Board Certified in Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Clinical Social Work

Affiliations: American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, American Psychotherapy Association, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, Academy of Certified Social Workers, American Clinical Social Work Association, National Association of Social Workers

When did you know you wanted to be in health care?

From an early age, I was fascinated with how the human mind works and why people behave as they do. So, behavior health was a natural profession for me.

How did you choose your field?

I wanted to help people understand mental health and know that things could get better for them.

What is most rewarding about your profession?

I love seeing the hope in people once they are diagnosed correctly and placed on appropriate medications. They begin to improve right away and are overjoyed by how they feel. I hear daily how it impacts their life.

What is your number one piece of health advice?

Whether it’s developing better coping skills, understanding how we can work together to improve health – physical, emotional, spiritual or mental – people need to take care of themselves in all areas of their health.


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