5 questions with…Urban Health Initiative’s Amy Sheon

Amy Sheon marches to the beat of her own drum. Or, rather, her own harmonica. A dancer, singer and harmonicist (she was featured on a CD just released by a band she occasionally performs with), she has plenty of interests outside the office, but her work on campus is something to be applauded as well. She started as the new executive director of the Urban Health Initiative in the School of Medicine in June, after working on childhood obesity prevention as a senior policy analyst at Altarum Institute in Michigan. Her arrival in Cleveland is a return home, as she was born just down the street—in fact, she’s got a quiz for you about that.

1. What’s on your iPod?
I just spent a week at a music and dance camp and recorded as we sang all sorts of gorgeous music from 4-part harmonies of choral arrangements of secular music to sea shanties, pub ditties and intensely moving songs of freedom from the oral tradition. I enjoyed the instructors so much that I even recorded them leading us in vocal warmups! Listening to the recordings during my morning drive is like putting on a dab of perfume that stays with me all day.

2. What’s your favorite spot in Cleveland and why?
The patio of the Washington Place Bistro and Inn, just around the corner in Little Italy. I loved the understated chic tranquility of the inside and the outside. And, if I get stranded here during a blizzard, rather than brave my 40 mile drive home, I’d happily stay at over at the Inn.

3. If you could only take three books with you to a deserted island, what would you take?
I would take Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom—because it’s been calling to me as it sinks further and further below the pile accumulating on my night stand. I’d take my Rise Up Singing book because I can always find a song that will take me wherever I want to go. And I’d take Eats, Shoots and Leaves because it will inspire me to make up grammar-based puns to keep myself amused….and perhaps help me remember some of the rules I learned in fifth grade that I seem to be forgetting.

4. What one word would you use to describe yourself, and what one word would your friends use to describe you?
Passionate. I’ve been fortunate to feel passionately about the work in almost every position I’ve ever held. And I’m blessed to have a family plus interests I’m able to enjoy with considerable passion: playing harmonica, contra dancing and, of course, singing.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
After living and working in or around the gigantic University of Michigan and the tiny Oberlin College, the size feels just right. I am enjoying meeting dedicated and talented faculty, staff and students from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. On the one hand, it feels like I’ll always be able to find new and interesting people, but it’s small enough that I feel I can make an impact. And, I can look down the street and see where I was born. A prize to anyone who can tell me when the Cleveland Clinic stopped delivering babies at the main hospital!


Know someone you’d like to see featured here? Email case-daily@case.edu with their name.