The poor, the sick, and immigrant populations are the most vulnerable in any community. With diminutive funds and frequently little to no support, many are unable to receive medical care nor health education. Catherine Nelson Black used her civic power and leadership to change this. Catherine “Carrie” Nelson Black founded the Instructive District Nursing Association (IDNA) in 1898, which is now named LifeCare Alliance. The IDNA became Ohio’s first organization to offer in-home health care, a service which still remains today through LifeCare Alliance.
Carrie devoted her life to the service and aid of others. In addition to the IDNA, she founded the Columbus Society for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis and the Columbus Cancer Clinic, which is now an agency of LifeCare Alliance. She not only provided immediate aid to those in need, but created societal change which has had an everlasting impact within the Columbus community. Imagining the role of women in society at this time, Carrie’s courageous leadership and impact is remarkable. Her energy, passion, and dedication to diminish the suffering of those most in need is truly inspiring, and is a legacy that is still visible today at LifeCare.
Carrie’s Café, where I have devoted most of my time this summer, was named after Carrie. In honor of Carrie’s 157th birthday on July 21st, we threw a birthday party at the Café. We celebrated Carrie with live music from Ray Pauken, balloons, party games (including pin the party hat on Carrie!), and cake. The party was a hit! Everyone loved the delicious cake and singing along with Ray. Seeing all the people having such a wonderful time at the party reminded me of the new sense of hope that Carrie gave to so many in the Columbus community and a legacy that has lasted far beyond her death. In addition, it is amazing to witness every day how so many people at LifeCare have such similar values to Carrie and inadvertently continue and live out Carrie’s vision through their work.