Norma “Pedie” Killebrew’s interest in medicine goes back before her college days, and as a Philadelphia-area native, she was well-acquainted with Quakers and the Quaker philosophy of respect, leadership and caring.
She acknowledges that Sheppard Pratt is seen as a bit mysterious by people who drive along Charles Street and only see the stone Gatehouse. “I passed the Gatehouse many times, but I didn’t realize that one of the world’s greatest mental health institutions lies just beyond that entrance,” she said.
Through friends and other community members, Pedie learned about the important role Sheppard Pratt has played in improving mental health care. She feels strongly about the importance of ensuring that people have access to high quality mental health care. “One in five people experience some form of mental illness,” she said. “We all have friends or family whose lives have been affected in some way by it, yet there is still a stigma attached to it. Unfortunately, some of the portrayals in movies and popular culture have hurt perceptions about about mental health conditions and mental health care.”
After stints on other health care organizations’ boards, she joined Sheppard Pratt’s Board of Trustees in the mid-2000s. “I have a dear friend who is a child psychologist at one of Sheppard Pratt’s schools and she encouraged me to become involved,” she said. As a board member, she volunteers her time to honor SPHS’ commitment to its founding mission and ensure that it stays on sound financial footing.
Pedie serves on the Board’s Clinical Committee and is the chair of the Philanthropy Committee, responsible for championing fundraising efforts for SPHS. “It’s a very exciting time because of the new campus opening in Howard County. The Philanthropy Committee is very busy working to support funding for the new campus, which will bring much-needed mental health and addiction services to more people.”
She continues to learn new aspects of SPHS’ programs, which range from schools to care for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder to providing housing and vocational skills for developmentally disabled, as well as the better-known care for people with depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.
She’s inspired by SPHS’s past leadership by Dr. Steven Sharfstein and today’s President and CEO, Dr. Harsh Trivedi. Beyond the new campus, she’s enthusiastic about the research, new treatments and new ways of providing care to people in need. “We (SPHS) are inspiring and transforming lives. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?”