Myrtle has spent the majority of her life in health promotion where she has served as an administrator, teacher, nurse, life coach and writer.
Her career in health began in 1982 as a private duty nurse in the historic river towns of Westchester County, New York, where she cared for the infirmed and terminally ill. In 1987 she returned to her home town of Humboldt, Tennessee and in 1989, plunged into health promotion, managing the Humboldt Strawberry Planned Approach to Community Health (PATCH), a health promotion and disease prevention project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During her tenure at PATCH, Myrtle received local, state and national recognition including the NAACP “Community Leadership” Award, University of Tennessee West Star “Outstanding Leadership” Award, CDC “Outstanding Community Leaders” Award, and the WJO Lee Elks Lodge, “Community Leaders” Award. After six years at PATCH she moved on to become the regional Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator for Tennessee Department of Health and was later promoted to Health Promotion Director for the West Tennessee Region.
Myrtle has taught health education classes to thousands of middle, high school and college students; facilitated numerous workshops for health care professionals, educators, government employees; civic groups, faith and community-based organizations and leaders, sororities and fraternities, and others; and written health promotion articles for a weekly newspaper. In 2005, she combined her passion for health promotion, her early childhood love for print media, and her desire to share what she learns to co-write her first book with her son, Cameron, a professional trainer and coach: small change: a 28-day guide to eating, thinking and feeling healthier. In 2012 she wrote Free Your Mind and the Best Will Follow, and in 2014 she and her son teamed up again to co-author small change – BIG RESULTS: the Trainer’s Guide to eliminating Childhood Obesity with Sports.
Myrtle’s most recent books were co-written with her daughter Mia: The Stroke That Touched My Heart (June 2019) and The Stroke That Touched My Heart Gratitude Journal (August, 2019). On January 9, 2017, Mia suffered a massive stroke that left her with right side paralysis, loss of the memory and speech center of her brain, and blind in her right eye. Prior to the stroke Mia was enjoying life as a pediatric nurse and avid crocheter. Without warning, Mia became the patient and Myrtle moved into the role of full time caregiver, helping her daughter rebound one day and one small change at a time. The books chronicle their journey. Disabled but not discouraged, Mia has made remarkable progress. She has learned to read and write again and is back to crocheting with her non-dominant left hand and knee. Mia agrees with her mom: using small change principles, any obstacles can be overcome.
Myrtle’s commitment to helping her daughter overcome limitations caused by the stroke has caused her to be even more passionate about her work as a health promotion specialist. Her 30 years’ experience in the field is testament to her commitment to continue to promote wholistic health, one small change at a time.
Myrtle completed her undergraduate studies in nursing and psychology in New York and her graduate studies in counseling in her native state of Tennessee, where she and children presently reside.