As one of the first nursing faculty at Emory to hold a doctorate, Maggie Phoenix Gilead 73MN 81PhD passionately advocated taking a broad view of nursing, from improving mental health services at the state and local level to advancing the treatment of sickle cell anemia.
Gilead, who died July 16 at sixty-eight, had taught at the School of Nursing since 1974.
“People always think I’m the first African American faculty member in the school, but actually I’m just the one who stayed,” Gilead joked in a profile of her in Emory Nursing magazine.
Gilead earned a bachelor’s in nursing from Long Island University in 1968. She worked as an R.N. at hospitals in New York before becoming a clinical instructor for the Knud Hansen Memorial Hospital in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, where she met her husband, Jerome Keith Gilead.
She returned to Georgia in the early 1970s, working as a liaison nurse for Grady Memorial Hospital and earning a master’s degree in psychiatric community mental health and a post-master’s education and leadership training certificate degree from the School of Nursing in 1973.
Gilead took an educational leave to attend Emory’s Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts to study psychology and urban studies. She held a joint appointment as associate professor in the Department of Adult and Elder Health and in the Department of African American Studies.
She served on the governor’s Mental Health Planning Committee, which she chaired, and the governor’s Think Tank on Women’s Health.
“Over a long and productive career, my mother taught hundreds of nursing students, giving them the time and attention they needed. She also shared herself over meals with friends and colleagues,” says her daughter, Emily Gilead. “All who remain will cherish her memory and celebrate her life.” Gilead is survived by daughters Nancy, Abigail, and Emily; son, Kenneth; grandchildren Jasmine, Jada, Alexei, Ashton, Aden, Malcolm, Marcus, Malik, Melahn, and Miles; and great-grandson Leilan.