Dr. Mary Crang is currently working at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science and the Department of Health Systems Science. She serves there as a clinical instructor for graduate and advance placement nurses while also working on the implementation plan provided by the state of Illinois to ensure the availability of services for individuals under the age of 21 with mental illness. She previously served in a similar role as an Integrative Health Care Consultant, advising behavioral health care agencies about their members’ medical care before their transition from residential facilities back into the community. She has experience working as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Integrated Health Care Clinics in the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was a primary care provider for individuals in the community with a multitude of comorbidities (e.g., hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and severe mental illness).
Her extensive experience working in the health care industry ranges from CVS Minute Clinics, to traditional School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), to her initial advance practice position as an orthopedic advance practice nurse at the Shock-Trauma Unit at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. She has been a Senior Clinical Advisor to Melanie Ginn, Architect of the School Health Model for Academics Reaching All and Transforming Lives (SMART) since 2013, in the earliest days of its development.
From 2008 until 2011, Dr. Crang worked as the Family Nurse Practitioner at the traditional, and ultimately failed, SBHC at Sullivan High School in Chicago. While working under the infrastructural requirements and within the cultural limitations of the traditional SBHC model, she recognized the challenges and lack of positive student outcomes that were apparent with this instituted, siloed primary care approach. She continually attempted to move beyond the status quo to institute new ideas and strategies so that students could be treated holistically. Eventually, however, she acknowledged that, due to a lack of structural support and backing, there was little she could do to alter the institutional SBHC model and philosophy that formerly governed this type of medical institutional setting. Ultimately, a fundamental business infrastructure shift was needed in order improve the health and academic outcomes in this population and demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships.
At that time, Dr. Crang and her LCSW colleague at Sullivan learned that Ginn Group Collaborative (GGC) was being asked to come into the school as a consultant to analyze recurring financial and utilization issues. She contacted Melanie Ginn, President and CEO of GGC, expressing concerns about the operations at the Sullivan SBHC and sharing her insights regarding the need for change. After meeting with Ms. Ginn, Dr. Crang was excited about the possibility of having her vision instituted so that the SBHC could begin delivering improved services to students via a shift in its purpose, approach, and business fundamentals. GGC analyzed and formulated a transformational new model that has emerged as the SMART Student Health and Wellness Model.
Initially, Mary served as a clinical advisor to Ms. Ginn, helping her ensure that business strategies were completely aligned with clinical best practices and securing maximum efficacy along with outcomes. She attended the 3rd Annual SMART Symposium and Congressional Briefing in December of 2019, where she was recognized with the “Reaching All, Transforming Lives” award for her significant efforts in positively impacting the trajectories of children’s lives.
Dr. Crang holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wittenberg University and a master’s degree in education science and educational administration, along with certifications in assistant principalship, principal, and assistant superintendent, from Wright State University. She received her Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner from Georgia Southern University and her Doctor of Nursing Practice (Family Practice) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is board-certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). She is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Academic Honorary Society and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN). She has been accepted into psychiatric certification program at UIC in the fall of 2020. Her academic background, together with her extraordinary credentialing and past clinical experience, make her the ultimate clinician to support SMART’s fully integrative, Whole Child Approach as the GGC team’s Senior Integrative Health Care Advisor.