Kelly McGrady:  Help Me Help My People

Jackie Campbell: 
Creator of the Danger Assessment


What makes Kelly McGrady such an asset to her community? Could it be childhood adversity? Her military training? An exceptional leadership program? Her faith in God? 

It’s tempting to credit any and all of these influences for McGrady‘s ability to get things done under extraordinary circumstances, but perhaps her achievements spring from a more intrinsic source. McGrady is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, and a health facilitator at the Sage Coulee Outreach & Wellness Facility in Bismarck, North Dakota.

She says it’s been a tough year for the nation’s Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) people, who operate the health center where she works. She counted 176 MHA deaths in 2020—from COVID-19, chronic health conditions, drug overdoses, and suicide. She says the losses have been devastating and the grief compounded by the fact that tribal members were not able to come together to conduct funeral rites. On the work front, she says, “It’s been wild.”


Assignment: To profile exemplary individuals for the American Journal of Nursing.