Sherrill Quinn, Preferred Communities Medical Case Manager
An athlete through and through, Ms. Quinn works in New American Integration helping the Institute’s clients lead healthy lifestyles, manage chronic illnesses and to navigate the American healthcare system.
What can you tell me about what you do as a Preferred Communities Medical Case Manager?
[SQ]: Much of what I do is extended case management, working with clients with chronic illnesses in guiding them through America’s healthcare system to become self-sufficient and manage their illness. Preventative medicine is such an important advancement that often takes a backseat, so that is something that I always push on my clients. When I first started, I had to overcome a learning curve because this position is such a large undertaking—navigating Buffalo’s health community, understanding the USCRI’s Preferred Communities guidelines, building trust with both medical professionals and clients, learning about the Institute and its processes, etc.
What are your academic credentials/career path you’ve taken to get to the Institute?
[SQ]: I have always considered myself foremost, an athlete. All of the wonderful things you get from being an athlete—camaraderie, focus and something to be proud of—really introduced me to health promotion, education and coaching. My father was my biggest influence; he told me to follow what I enjoyed and was good at! So that is just what I did. I was the first female in my high school to receive an athletic scholarship which took me to Ohio University and spent time after working in various sports clubs and coaching positions. Shortly thereafter, I went to graduate school at Temple University for Exercise Science in Philadelphia. I found my stride in corporate health promotions, a field very much in its infancy when I first started, and spent the next 25 years shaping the program at Fisher Price here in Buffalo. After retiring, I began teaching at ECC and sort of organically moved into this position after volunteering for my predecessor.
What would you say is the most rewarding thing about working at an organization like the Institute?
[SQ]: It is very much a helping position. The most rewarding thing for me is when a client is able to understand what they need to do for themselves and helping alleviate that fear and anxiety of living in Buffalo and America. I love seeing my clients transform and come into their own.
What is the first word that comes to mind when I say “International Institute of Buffalo”?
What is one accomplishment that you are most proud of (at work or outside of work)? Why?
[SQ]: Personally, my biggest accomplishment are my children. Each have been raised to be socially conscious, sensitive and embracing of diversity. They are each working in professions that give back to their communities. Professionally, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of different things. At Fisher Price, being a part of a team that designed and developed a successful health promotions program that is still in existence and going strong today has been a really exciting achievement.
Since the Institute works with diverse people from all over the world, can you share with us your own heritage?
[SQ]: My family is primarily Western European—French, English, Irish and Scottish. My Irish family came from the county Clare in Ireland on-board the ship, Enterprise. My family settled mostly in Wilmington, Delaware (where much of my family still is today.)
Given the international nature of the Institute, have you traveled abroad? Any places on your bucket list?
[SQ]: I haven’t always been a world traveler. My family moved quite a bit growing up, so I didn’t have much abroad experience until I traveled with my son’s soccer team to Ireland. Then, I did a couch surfing/backpacking adventure to England, Belgium, Switzerland and France where I visited friends and family and, in the past year, hiked the Cinque Terre in Italy with a friend. I leave very shortly to go to New Zealand with my sister to visit my nephew who is playing rugby there. We are flying from one coast to the other, so we are really excited to do some hiking and experience the countryside. My eventual goal is to do a stint in the Peace Corps in retirement.
If you could sit down with any historical figure, who would you choose?
[SQ]: Eleanor Roosevelt. She is a really fascinating figure; her integral role in starting the UN, her personal struggles, and the role she played in her husband’s presidency.
Favorite international food?
[SQ]: Not really a foodie, but I would say that Italian food in Italy is a personal favorite.
[SQ]: Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is the only book that I have read twice; it has been my biggest influence and has guided much of my personal philosophy and outlook on life.
What can you tell me about your life away from the Institute?
[SQ]: I enjoy being with my friends and partaking in outdoor activities—kayaking, golfing, hiking, bike riding, tennis, etc. I am also a citizen scientist with the Buffalo Niagara WaterKeepers as a volunteer. I very much enjoy being active.
What are three traits you would say define you?
[SQ]: Curious, tenacious, and opinionated.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
[SQ]: I am very privileged to be here, working every day with very hardworking colleagues that are good at what they do.