Life in Baltimore: Weaving the stories of women’s lives

Part II: “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” is the 2015 Theme of National Women’s History Month which is quite an appropriate theme for this group of women who are being honored. The stories of women’s lives and their choices encourages girls and young women to think bigger and bolder. Knowing women’s achievements challenge stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today. Though women are in key positions in politics, CEO’s of companies, and leaders in the communities, there are still many issues to be addressed which affect the daily lives of girls and young women. It is imperative that women continue to strive for excellence and share their stories with others.

Dr. Gina McKnight-Smith, aside from being a Drug Intelligence Pharmacist for the fourth largest prescription benefit manager (PBM) in the country, Catamaran Health, she is the President/CEO of an independent healthcare consulting firm called Medication Information Means Empowerment (MIME), LLC. Dr. Smith is a graduate of Western High School, with an earned Bachelor of Arts in Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County; a Doctor of Pharmacy from University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Pharmacy and a Masters in Business from University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business. Dr. Smith always knew healthcare was her passion as she celebrates 18 years as a practicing pharmacist. She has practiced in a variety of settings including community, hospital outpatient, long-term care pharmacy consulting, PBM pharmacy management, independent medication consulting and government/regulatory pharmacy practice.

Dr. Smith ‘s professional organization affiliations include the Maryland Pharmaceutical Society, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Association of Managed Care Pharmacy, and the National Pharmaceutical Association . She continues her commitment to the profession by serving as a mentor and preceptor for several schools of pharmacy. Dr. Smith is also a member of the Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists, and a Certified Geriatric Health Information Technology Specialist. She has co-authored a chapter entitled Strategies for Identifying Health Disparities and Improving Cultural Competence in the book titled The Pharmacist in Public Health: Education, Applications and Opportunities.

Dr. Smith is a Baltimore native, and daughter of George and Barbara McKnight. She continues to demonstrate her civic responsibility through her service as a Commissioner on the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Additional affiliations with social and community service oriented organizations include Rho Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Patapsco River Chapter of The Links. Dr. Smith continues to drive her passion by giving back to the community that has given her so much. She lives by the words “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Baltimorean Autumn Melinda Anderson is a Counselor at Baltimore City College, her alma mater. She is the daughter of Calvin and Helen Anderson. Miss Anderson graduated with honors from West Virginia State University with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. Because of her academic excellence, Autumn was awarded a fellowship at Marshall University and graduated with a Masters degree in school counseling. Upon returning to Baltimore she began her teaching career in the Baltimore City Public School System. Miss Anderson has always had a love for working with young people. To see young people thrive is her most fulfilling reward.

Miss Anderson serves as the Church Registrar at St. James Episcopal Church and is a member of the Fellowship of St. Francis. Additionally, Autumn is a member of Rho Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is the secretary of the Baltimore Charm City Chapter of the West Virginia Alumni Association. Miss Anderson’s words to live by: If plan A doesn’t work, just remember there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.

Kaliq Hunter Simms is Director of Diversity and Multicultural Education at the Park School of Baltimore. Kaliq graduated from Seton-Keogh and Morgan State University with honors. Kaliq received a Fulbright fellowship to teach English as a second language in South Korea. Upon completion of the Fulbright, Kaliq went on to earn a Master of Education degree from Harvard University School of Education. Kaliq joined the Roland Park Country School faculty in 1998 as an Upper School English teacher. During her tenure at RPCS, Kaliq served as Dean of the Ninth Grade and Director of Diversity and Equity Education.

In 2014, she accepted a new position as Director of Diversity and Multicultural Education at the Park School. She is the chair of the Baltimore Student Diversity Leadership Conference and serves on the Association of Independent Maryland/Washington DC School’s Diversity Board. She has presented at the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference on the topic, Data-Driven Diversity Work in Schools. She also has presented workshops on the enduring value of historically black colleges/universities, especially her alma mater, Morgan State University.

Mrs. Simms is the daughter of the late Joseph Hunter and Anita Turks Hunter and the mother of two.