‘We must lift as we climb’

‘We must lift as we climb’

Spend any amount of time walking through Aurora Sinai Medical Center with Melanie Gray and it’s clear she’s made an impact during her time as a nurse and program manager of trauma-informed care.

She seems to know everyone.

It might be because she’s mentored hundreds of people during her lifetime, including other Aurora Health Care teammates. She starts taking calls from people at 4 a.m.

“People are important. I didn’t get to go through a journey of 20 years, 25 years in nursing without someone investing in me,” Gray says.

That someone for Gray was Gloria Gilmer, the first Black woman mathematician to have her work featured in the Library of Congress.

“Gloria would say, ‘Okay, Melanie, we must lift as we climb. We must lift as we climb.’ When she would do her checks with me, she’s saying, ‘What are you doing? Who are you helping?’,” reflects Gray.

Gray has opened her phone lines and heart to help people like Karina Brown, a patient care manager at Aurora Sinai, who says Gray saw in her what she had yet to see in herself.

“Melanie loves on you hard. It’s a good love. She prays for you. Always making sure you’re okay,” says Brown.

Gray’s own career path serves as an inspiration to others. As a first-generation college student, she went into nursing, eventually receiving a master’s degree and recently a doctorate.

In her current role as a trauma-informed care manager, she helps team members consider and understand the trauma of chronic ongoing stress, multi-generational and historical trauma, and how that can impact and influence behaviors for a lifetime.

That role has greatly impacted her thoughts about mentorship.

“Everybody has a past. You have to get past the past to get to a better future,” says Gray. “It’s important to have a heart for anyone in need.”

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About the Author

Brittany Lewis
Brittany Lewis

Brittany Lewis is a media relations coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She previously worked as a reporter at TV stations around the Midwest, including Milwaukee. She studied at DePaul University where she majored in Journalism and Public Relations. Brittany enjoys traveling, hanging out by Lake Michigan, trying new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.