Deaths: Cynthia ‘Cee’ Barnes-Boyd

Cynthia “Cee” Barnes-Boyd, 64, director of the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships at the University of Illinois at Chicago and director of school-based health care for the University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center, died June 28.

A service honoring the memory of Barnes-Boyd will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Aug. 16 in Thompson Rooms A and B, Student Center West.

Cynthia "Cee" Barnes-Boyd

Cynthia “Cee” Barnes-Boyd.

“Cee had a tremendous impact on developing, guiding and ensuring equitable community-academic partnerships through authentic collaborations,” said Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor for community-based practice at UI Health and director of the UI Health Cancer Center. “Cee left an indelible imprint on our campus community and in our hearts that will forever remind and inspire us to lead with authenticity, courage, and an unwavering passion and commitment to service to our community.”

“Dr. Boyd dedicated her life to improving the lives of America’s underserved,” said Henry Taylor, executive director of UI Health Mile Square Health Center. “She was truly a trailblazer.”

“Dr. Boyd was a parent, director, mentor and friend, and she embraced all that came within her atmosphere,” said Beverly Washington, Barnes-Boyd’s longtime executive assistant in the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships. “She was a positive, fun-loving person who always believed that the sun was going to shine. I will forever remember the 37 years we had together.”

Barnes-Boyd, who was also a clinical associate professor of community health in the UIC College of Nursing and clinical associate professor of community health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health, first came to UIC as a staff nurse in 1973 after earning her nursing diploma at Wesley-Passavant School of Nursing, Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She received her bachelor of science in nursing, master’s of nursing and Ph.D. in nursing — all at UIC.

After serving as head nurse in the pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care units in what was then known as the UIC Medical Center (now UI Health), she was a critical care clinical specialist at Wyler Children’s Hospital and advised at several local hospitals. She served as assistant director of nursing for parent/child health at UI Health from 1980 to 1991 and went on to serve in several advanced practice and leadership positions at UI Health, including director of hospital community outreach, executive director of the University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center and director of the Healthy City Collaborative.

As director of school-based health care for the UI Health Mile Square federally-qualified health center, Barnes-Boyd oversaw the opening of new clinics in schools in the Auburn-Gresham, Bronzeville, Near West Side and Brighton Park neighborhoods. At the time of her death, Barnes-Boyd was leading efforts to build a new, full-service health and wellness clinic in Drake Elementary public school, located in Chicago’s Dearborn Public Housing community in Bronzeville. The new clinic, which is slated to open this winter, is funded through private donations and by the City of Chicago.

As director of the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, Barnes-Boyd facilitated community engagement and built lasting partnerships with the Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation and the Chicago partnership for Health Promotion, a city-wide nutrition program. As director of the Healthy Cities Collaborative, she engaged stakeholders to create community-based research agendas and guided researchers through the process of community engagement. Barnes-Boyd served on numerous committees and was proud to be a member of the Council on Councils at the Federal National Institute for Health. She was also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and at the Chicago Institute of Medicine.

Barnes-Boyd leaves behind her husband, Ronald; her children, Whitney, Jonathan, Michael and Yvette; her mother, Bobbie Barnes; her sister, Alecia Lewis; her brother, Collar Lewis; a grandson; several godchildren and innumerable dear friends. Lewis lived in Hazel Crest.

“Cee was committed to improving the health in our most under-served communities and demonstrated this through the programs she created over her 40 years at the University of Illinois. She left us way too soon but she she left a legacy that her leadership team is committed to sustaining,” said Angela Ellison, acting senior director of the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships.

In lieu of flowers, Barnes-Boyd’s family and colleagues are requesting donations be made to complete the Drake Elementary school health and wellness center.

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Faculty, UI Hospital