People of Faith: April 3, 2015

Allen, Crone, Brown named Philander Smith College Living Legend honorees

Three United Methodists on Feb. 26 were among those honored with Living Legend Awards from Philander Smith College. The celebration was part of the college’s eighth annual Religious Emphasis Week.

Rev. Maxine Allen

Rev. Maxine Allen

The Rev. Maxine Allen, the first African-American woman to be ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in Arkansas, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from Philander Smith College and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center’s Gammon Seminary in Atlanta, where in 2008 she was named Alumna of the Year.

Allen’s social advocacy spans five decades. She was instrumental in the founding of the first battered women’s shelter in Arkansas (now named Women and Children First) and successfully lobbied the Arkansas legislature to adopt stronger domestic violence laws. She served as the founding executive director of Second Genesis, a transitional home for women coming from prison.

Within the United Methodist Church, she helped to implement the first Commission on the Status and Role of Women in Arkansas, serving as chair. As a layperson, she chaired the Arkansas Commission on Religion and Race, which advocates equality for ethnic persons in the church.

Currently she serves as the Arkansas Conference assistant director of ministries for mission field engagement. Previously she served as the Wesley Foundation campus minister at UALR; dean of the chapel at Philander Smith College; and disaster response coordinator for the Arkansas Conference.

She serves on the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission; as national secretary of the Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church; on the Arkansas Women’s Project Leadership Team; as vice-chair of the Little Rock Christian Ministerial Alliance; and has worked extensively for social justice in her local community and globally for women, children and the poor.

Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown

Sandra Jackson Brown currently serves as chair of the Verizon Arena Board, vice-chair of the Pulaski County Planning Board, and on the Treatment Homes Inc., Health Information Exchange Council (HIE) and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement Health Policy Board.

A member of the Little Rock Black Nurses Association and the Arkansas Nurses Association, she was the first minority nurse to be elected to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in 1986. She is a past member of the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, recipient of the Arkansas League for Nursing Merit Award, recipient of the Arkansas Nurses Association Nurse of the Year Award and served as co-chair of the Arkansas Nurses Association Legislative Committee when ACT 409, the legislation that established the Advance Practice Nursing Licensure and role in the state, became law. Currently, she chairs the Arkansas Nurses Political Action Committee. She is also a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Little Rock Chapter of The Links Inc.

Brown continues to be active with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families as a past board president, volunteering and raising funds for its annual Soup Sunday; and with Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Arkansas Affiliate as a past board member.

She retired from Baptist Health with 30 years of service, where her tenure included serving as director of community health. She is the new chief executive officer at Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, Inc. (JCCSI), where the primary mission is to provide access to healthcare.

Brown attends both Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church Little Rock, and has received the Christian Ministerial Alliance Outstanding Citizen Award.

Cynthia Crone

Cynthia Crone

Cynthia Crone, a pediatric nurse practitioner, has spent her career advancing equity in health and healthcare through her work with the Arkansas Department of Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Insurance Department. Her early achievements include integrating a variety of services, including immunizations, WIC, and child health services into same-day, same-visit, family-friendly services. She also helped lead statewide systems-change work to improve pregnancy and infant outcomes. These efforts led to her co-founding the nationally recognized Arkansas CARES family treatment program for addicted mothers and their children.

Her current focus is leading Arkansas’ State Partnership Health Insurance Marketplace, which provides low- and middle-income Arkansans with health coverage choices that result in access to quality and affordable health care. In its first year, the marketplace led the nation in decreasing the percentage of uninsured adults. She is an alumna of the UAMS College of Nursing and Graduate School and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellowship program.

Crone currently serves on the District Eight Health Care Industry Council of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank; on the National Academy of State Health Policy, Health Care Access and Financing Steering Committee; and on the boards of Family Development Center and Arkansas Nurses Foundation.

Crone’s efforts have resulted in nearly $100 million in grant funding for innovative, consumer-focused healthcare and systems change in Arkansas. She has provided volunteer leadership for multiple professional and service organizations, including the Miracle Team at Trinity UMC Little Rock, which works to share God’s love and resources with those in need. She currently volunteers at Shepherd’s Hope health clinic at Oak Forest UMC Little Rock.

Other Living Legend honorees included the Rev. Glenn Barnes, Bettye Brown, Christopher Davis, the Rev. Marion Humphrey, Collea McKinney and the Rev. Cleo Smith.