Black Women Roc 2020! Spotlight #1: Dr. Celia McIntosh

black american nurse in white coate

We are pleased to spotlight Dr. Celia McIntosh for our Black Women Roc! 2020 campaign

About Dr. Celia McIntosh 

Dr. Celia McIntosh DNP, RN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, SCRN, CEN, CCRN, CNRN, is the President of the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RRCAHT). She joined RRCAHT in 2014 after learning about the horrific crime of human trafficking for the first time at an awareness event at Rochester General Hospital. 

Celia combines her medical training with her commitment to raising awareness about trafficking victims through the development of educational programs for Health Care Professionals. She presented “Human Trafficking 101: For Emergency Medicine Providers” at Rochester General Hospital’s Best Practices Seminar, the Genesee Valley Chapter Emergency Nurses Association, and URMC Anti-Human Trafficking Conference. Most recently, she presented the “Human Trafficking: The Role of the Health Care Provider” at the Genesee Valley Nurses Association 35th Legislative Reception and the Highland OB-GYN City Grand Rounds.

Celia received her associate in nursing from Monroe Community College, a bachelor’s degree in nursing College at Brockport State University and her master’s degree in nursing and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester NY.

Professionally, Celia has worked as a nurse for a number of organizations, including the Rochester General Hospital and Highland Hospital. She has worked as a family nurse practitioner in the Department of Neuroscience and the Medical Observational Unit Rochester Regional Health System.

Celia joined the Ex-offenders of Excellence after learning that men and women are released from correctional facilities and receive minimal preparation and inadequate assistance and resources, which makes their re-entry into communities challenging. Celia would like to help bridge the gap by collaborating with individuals on program development, mentoring, and training to help formerly convicted felons restore their life and create sustainable financial literacy. She is also on the Rochester Police Accountability Board and The Children’s Agenda board.

Tell us about yourself? Where were born? Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in Rochester? 

CM: I was born in Jamaica, West Indies. I came to the United States at the age of six. Grew up in the Rochester area. Was raised by a single mom. I have two sisters.  Lived on Arnett Blvd in the city of Rochester for many years. I attended Monroe Middle School and Edison Tech for high school. After high school I owned and operated my own daycare McIntosh Play-care for four years while attending nursing school at Monroe Community College were I obtained my associates degree. I then went back for a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Suny Brockport and my Master’s degree and Doctoral degree from St. John Fisher.  I am a nurse and a mom and currently, I work as a nurse practitioner in the Neuroscience department a Rochester Regional Health.

When did you begin the community engagement work that you do? 

CM: I joined The Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RRCAHT) in 2014 after learning about the horrific crime of human trafficking for the first time at an awareness event at Rochester General Hospital. About a year later I started doing my own research and found out that 88% of victims of human trafficking come in contact with healthcare providers but was often underdetected ad undertreated because we were not aware of the red flags. Shortly after that I started doing presentations, trainings and advocacy work to increase awareness about human trafficking in our community. What I quickly realized was that human trafficking intersects with many other social factors such as: mental illness, homelessness, child abuse, substance use, poverty and so many others. This was the driving force behind joining the Children’s Agenda Board and The Police Accountability Board.

How do you stay mentally and physically healthy?

CM: I like to work-out when able, read or travel.

What’s has been your best experience as a Black woman change agent

CM: I would say impacting both population health and system change. In 2014, I developed a depression screening protocol for acute stroke patients because there was a gap of depression screening in our hospital. After doing some much needed research I was able to develop and implement this protocol. This protocol was embedded into the electronic medical record in all five hospital systems and for the last five years. I have spent the last five years educating health care professionals locally, nationally and internationally about depression after stroke and consulting with a number of local hospitals about developing and implementing a similar protocols thing their hospital. This project gave me the courage and confidence to take on leadership roles. 

What has been your biggest challenge as a Black female change agent in Rochester? 

CM: Balance. Balancing life, work, volunteering and many times school. Dealing with the demands of who you are in a specific moment and who you aspire to be has its own set of challenges. Sometimes you want to do it all and while it’s possible you have to prioritize and figure out what plans align with your long terms goals so you can be effective in your initiatives. Also, one of my strengths is that I am a futuristic person and that can pose a personal challenge because often I don’t stop and smells the roses or stop and just be in the here and now.

Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If yes, how? 

Yes, I just keep going.  I constantly re-evaluate my life and decisions that got me to that certain point in life. Then use that reflection like a compass to get to the next phase of my life or to get over the next hurdle.  

What inspires you to keep going in your community work?

CM: Injustice, on so many level but knowing that there are people out there that will exploit a person’s vulnerability for their own financial gain. This is the driving force for me. Knowing that it exists in my community and that I can impact change no matter how small helps me push through and keep going. Knowing that there are other individuals out in this community that have a similar passion and dedication for change our community. This gives me hope. Also, seeing people influenced by the work that RRCAHT has done around human trafficking awareness and just my love foe advocacy work.

What advice do you have for other women interested in community activism/engagement?

CM: I would say go for it. Find a cause that you are passionate about and do it. It is rewarding and impactful work and it’s a way to give back to the community.  

How does it feel to be nominated for the 2020 Black Women Roc! Campaign? 

CM: I am honored to be nominated for the 2020 Black Women Roc! Campaign there are so many amazing black women in our community that are often not recognized but are doing great life change work and I am truly honored but also overwhelmed with gratitude.  

For you why do Black Women Roc? 

CM: Black Women Roc! because despite adversity we endure, we persevere, and we empower ourselves and challenge others to do the same. We are smart, influential, we are mothers while balancing everything else. 

What are you working on now? 

CM: I am working on getting some balance in life but also working on being a better advocate. I have a passion for health policy and would like to pursue my lifelong dream to be an attorney to work more closely on legislative issues and improve policies that impact our community. I would like to start a podcast or some kind of platform where I can have discussions about peoples lived experiences or just challenges in their life also with a focus on mental health issues

Follow 540WMain on social media to learn more about Dr. McIntosh:

About Black Women Roc! 

Black Women Roc! is an annual digital media campaign that highlights the accomplishments of local Black women who are change agents in the Rochester community.  540WMain features courses and workshops taught by women that are rooted in subjects that are important to women, femme-identifying persons, and other members of the African diaspora.

While the past four years have been filled with wonderful moments of community engagement and enrichment, we assert that much more must be done and we need you on board to support. We want to make Rochester a more equitable community, but we cannot do it alone.

Are you unsure of how to help or where to start when it comes to anti-racism and social justice?

THESE are important first steps.

1) Help us reach 100+ sustaining monthly members for as little as $3 a month (we are only 15 away!) HERE:
2) Donate to our fundraiser HERE:
3) Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for highlights of the past 4 years, anti-racism resources, blog posts, and giveaways from local vendors.

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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