An article from Reflections Richmond Hill, Spring 2022 Issue

WORDS BY DR. JAY JAY HENDRIX  PHOTOS BY ERIN HIXSON PHOTOGRAPHY

My heroes make waves. They have common attributes: brave, resourceful, yet humble – living as if rules are “guidelines” and traditional roles are to be challenged. As a consequence, they’re amusingly misunderstood.

Who inspires you?
A family member, neighbor, celebrity, or teacher? Perhaps a parent who set a standard and held you to it? People with traits you admire and aspire to imitate?

Catherine Grant’s mother emphasized one of the same valuable lessons for her daughter as my dad did for me: Never need to depend on someone to take care of you. No doubt, given her example, her daughters will perfect this strength.

Raising three daughters is an enormous challenge in itself. Ask me how I know. When considering the possibilities for Catherine’s girls, a familiar saying comes to mind, “If you see her, you can be her.” Little girls need examples in a variety of roles to know they have options. Sometimes rather than plotting a course for us to follow, the people we admire inspire us instead on an uncharted journey.

“Who inspired you?” I asked.

Encircled by stacks upon stacks of books confirming her thirst for growth, Catherine answered without a second of hesitation, “My mom.”

She vividly described an iconic mother-figure, content to earn the “degree of Mrs.,” required to shift direction by a marriage that didn’t work, a twist among many that would set the foundation for the building of her daughter’s tenacity. Beyond the quintessential story of a mom needing to work with her child in tow, the stage was set for an inquisitive daughter to inherit a relentless work ethic and commitment to excellence. Catherine was eight when her mother re-married. Poppy, as he was lovingly known, became a piece of her balance. With his selfless love and encouragement, he helped her mother lay the foundation- the forging of an entrepreneur. She learned early that work was her way to achieve her goals, and she set sail on that sea.

Catherine’s accolades and accomplishments are expanding in much the same fashion as the business she co-founded. Since opening the first urgent care center in Richmond Hill in 2009, she has been stacking recognitions and awards as neatly as the books surrounding her CEO chair. With her at the helm, ExperCARE is opening a fifth location.

Motivated to be a part of the solution to what she considers to be a “broken” system, Catherine envisions “healthcare the way it should be,” patient-focused with an improved standard of care. “People deserve better care,” and together with her leadership team, ExperCARE is advancing that mission.

Leadership, business fundamentals, self-improvement, and biographies make up Catherine’s reading collection, but she is clear about her Source. One of her guiding Bible verses is from Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

“We all need a True North.” Catherine relies on her relationship with Jesus to provide truth, wisdom, and discernment. “I want to have a tangible impact by helping others experience Him.”

What are you building?

Catherine’s answer to this question again hails her mother’s recurring influence. She believes that what we hear as children becomes our inner voice, and she heard the incessant message, “With hard work, you can be and do anything.” Work does not intimidate Catherine, nor does challenge. In fact, challenge propels her to thrive. The inner voice she now conjures in the face of adversity repeats, “You were created for this.” Together with Scott, her husband, counsel, and confidant, the Grant’s are building full steam ahead.

Catherine’s waves extend beyond business to create broader change for a better world. Alzheimer’s, childhood cancer, and United Way fundraising; serving on boards for community development and healthcare advancement; and volunteering to mentor future business leaders are among her commitments to advocacy.

All of the accomplishments in her wake haven’t changed Catherine’s ultimate goal: to be more like the person who inspires her by exemplifying unconditional love. “In a broken world, my mom has been able to love others even when they were not easy to love.”

Her three young daughters, Grayson 12, Madison 9, and Emerson 1, are watching, and if their mother’s accomplishments seem impressive, I predict a tsunami. Catherine describes them as fearless and passionate. Grayson helped build the recycling program at school, and together with sister Madison, they worked diligently to raise funds for a clean water project in Zimbabwe. Their mom recognizes that her most important role is to encourage her daughters to become all that they were created to be, just like the person who inspired her.

Our daughters are watching; and so are our sons. May we inspire them and others to make waves. Waves are shifting and fading, but the changes they create are immensely powerful, enduring, and inspiring. May we never underestimate ripples.

Recently, ExperCARE founder and CEO, Catherine Grant, set aside some time to meet with Savannah Morning New’s Adam Van Brimmer to discuss COVID-19, vaccines, testing and more! Tune in to “The Commute” or read the transcription here!

The following is an excerpt from a “The Commute” podcast interview with ExperCare CEO Catherine C. Grant. ExperCare is a Savannah-area medical urgent care provider.. Comments have been condensed in the interest of space. Full episodes are available at SavannahNow.com/podcasts or through mobile device podcast apps by searching “The Commute with @SavannahOpinion”.

Question: The COVID-19 news is coming fast and furious these days. The Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA, and at the same time the delta variant is causing a surge in cases and hospitalizations. When somebody asks you, ‘You’re in the health care field, what do I really need to know right now?’ what do you tell them?

Catherine Grant: “The hardest thing about it is we’re all hearing a lot of different statistics and a lot of things that are being presented as evidence. So it’s hard to know what to believe and how it applies to you. We’ve been working through this pandemic since March of last year and been involved in everything from testing to vaccinating to treating patients. We share the unanimous position of area health care providers that what we’re experiencing right now is unlike what we have seen prior. The demand for health care and for testing is exceeding the capacity of our health care system right now, whether its at point-of-care places such as urgent cares or primary care offices or pediatricians offices or hospitals. So the most important thing we can focus on is what we can do right now to mitigate the spread of this illness that’s burdening the health care system. We need to do everything we can to slow it down a bit and allow the health care system to catch up.”

Q: Your urgent care centers have been working with the state since the start in performing COVID-19 testing, and of all the disturbing stats we’ve seen lately, the percentage of positive tests is one of the most telling. What’s going on there?

CG: “We’re definitely seeing an exponential increase in the demand for testing. We track our data very carefully, and as of the middle of July, we were seeing positivity rates that were very low, below 5%. Since then the rate has climbed, and for the first three weeks of August, it’s been over 20%, sometimes even getting as high as 25%. That means our community transmission is high, and people are infecting others whether they know it or not.”

Q: Let’s take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the testing. There’s a lot of myths or exaggerations about the COVID-19 tests and about how effective they are, how accurate they are. What do people need to know about these COVID tests and their accuracy?

CG: “First, tests are just tools that help us in making decisions. So there are different types of testing: Rapid antigen testing and PCR testing. Rapid testing can mean a whole lot of different things but most people think of it in terms of getting an answer quickly. PCR testing, on the other hand, is typically performed in a lab but there are some point-of-care providers who can do PCR testing as well. Rapid antigen testing is very, very reliable, especially when you already have symptoms, and PCR testing is very reliable when the specimen is taken properly and you make sure you have a piece of that viral matter.

“The big takeaway is like anything else, a COVID test is not 100% and should be taken in context of everything else that’s going on. For example, if you develop a fever and a cough and you’ve recently had a negative test, remember that test is just a snapshot in time. You may need another COVID test. You may need a flu test. You may need to be checked for some other illness entirely. Testing is helping us in terms of making clinical decisions and helping us identify people who, whether they have symptoms or not, could potentially be spreading the virus.”

Link to Video:

https://www.savannahnow.com/videos/opinion/2021/08/26/covid-19-testing-what-know-chatham-bryan-effingham-georgia/5605047001/

Link to Transcription:

https://www.savannahnow.com/story/opinion/2021/09/02/covid-19-delta-variant-swamping-health-care-system-patients-seek-testing-treatment-vaccine-pfizer/5686318001/?fbclid=IwAR3xWf-cAKil1FDQJB1GunT786l_B90acFTK0_5k2KiftXfLdj3Mb-Dn7gc

Link to Audio:

https://omny.fm/shows/from-the-newsroom-savannah-now/the-commute-august-26-catherine-c-grant-on-what-yo