NWI Innovators of January 2017

NWI Innovators of January 2017
By: Contributor Last Updated: December 24, 2016

NWI Innovators of the Month highlights new Society Member Dwayne Walker, Chicagoland Popcorn CEO, who keynoted the 11th Annual Adjunct Innovators Conference as a Muhammad Ali impersonator. His focus: “Delivering knockout strategies to Build the Mind of a Champion” aimed at motivating students. Also featured was Society Team Member Danita Johnson Hughes who announced an “integrated model” of total health offering both primary care and behavioral health for patients.

This issue is for the media serving Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. Each edition features inspiring stories of innovators who are Members of The Society of Innovators. The Society is part of Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, Lamkin I & E Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Managing Director, Society of Innovators at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

NWI-Innovators-of-January-2017_02Ali Impersonator: ‘Knockout Strategies to Build the Mind of a Champion’
As the business keynote speaker at last month’s 11th Annual Adjunct Innovators Conference, Chicagoland Popcorn CEO Dwayne Walker delighted his audience at Avalon Manor by appearing as a celebrity impersonator of the late Muhammad Ali. But his message to sow and develop the gifts and talents of students clearly was the focus of this retired group president who now runs gourmet popcorn distributor in Merrillville. Dressed in gym shoes, shorts and wearing a robe like the famous boxer, Walker shared how his resemblance to Ali led him not only to celebrate a Great American, but to demonstrate his philosophy of developing gifts and talents in young people.

He said he learned the importance of asking the right questions. “First, ask what do you like to do? Secondly, ask what do people tell you they like you to do? Third, ask what are you interested in learning? Fourth, what other things might you want to learn?” Over the years, his likeness of Ali was repeatedly brought to his attention, and finally, he realized his passion by impersonating the famous boxer, whom he visited multiple times, getting to know Ali and his family as a friend. He urged instructors to encourage students to discover their passion and avoid distractions by sowing their gifts and talents. He said, “Too many want to enjoy the harvest before they sow the seeds.” He ended by quoting Ali, “Don’t count the days. Make the days count!”

NWI-Innovators-of-January-2017_03Edgewater Launches ‘Integrated Model’ with Primary Care Offices
On the heels of launching Indiana’s first Rapid Access Center for behavioral health and Edgewater South Shore Commons for supportive housing, Edgewater Systems announced an innovative “integrated model” for patients by acquiring primary care offices in Gary and Griffith, said Danita Johnson Hughes (right), Ph.D., President and CEO. At a ribbon-cutting at the Gary office at Edgewater Primary Care offices at 3535 Broadway, Dr. Hughes joined with Okechi N. Nwabara (left), M.D., internist, to announce a new era for Edgewater Systems through these offices that provide total health to patients.

In an interview with The Times on Nov. 30th, Dr. Hughes said, “The national trend is that insurers and the federal govern- ment are looking toward an integrated model, where people can be treated for all kinds of illnesses…not just mental health.” In remarks to a standing room group of community leaders that included Representative Charlie Brown (D-Gary) who has long advocated comprehensive health care for Indiana residents, Dr. Nwabara said, “One out of 5 patients in a primary care setting has behavioral issues that affect their health and wellbeing.” Typically, primary care offices refer patients to behavioral specialists; however, these patients often fail to follow up for care. The innovation is providing a sort of “one stop approach” in which these patients have immediate access to behavioral specialists on location. “This will help put patients on the road to wellness,” she added.