After unexpectedly losing her husband in 2022, IU Health North social worker Myechia Hudson has turned tragedy into triumph as she works to help her patients and community.
By Charlotte Stefanski, email@example.com, writer for IU Health's Indianapolis Suburban Region
It was July of 2022, and Myechia Hudson had unexpectedly lost her husband to a heart attack in late June. Later on, after his funeral service, she began sorting through his belongings.
For the last few years, Hudson, a social worker at IU Health North Hospital, and her husband had been planning to open their own non-profit to help empower young girls.
Registration for the program had opened on June 24, her husband’s birthday, but three days later, she and her two teenage daughters found themselves reeling from his loss.
But as she opened her husband’s wallet that afternoon, her business card was lying right there.
“I said, ‘This is my push.’ I took that as a sign to keep going because he was with me,” Hudson said.
Now, a year later, Hudson is using her heart for others in and out of the hospital. She founded a non-profit on core values like compassion, integrity and inclusion—values she upholds each day as a social worker in the hospital.
Getting a start in social work
As a medical social worker at IU Health North, Hudson works in both the Emergency department (ED) and 5C Surgical unit.
Each day, she meets with patients to see what their needs are, whether it be psychosocial, community resources, discharge plans, facility placements, hospice and more.
“I've always wanted to go into a field where it would allow me to authentically help any population, any person, any race, any age,” Hudson said.
Hudson first joined the IU Health North team almost eight years ago as a unit secretary in the ED as she went to school for her bachelor’s degree in social work. At the time, there wasn’t a social worker stationed in the department, but she saw a great need there.
“We had all of these patient needs that our nurses and doctors didn’t really have the knowledge to handle,” Hudson said. “That pushed me even more to continue with my graduate degree in social work.”
Hudson completed her undergraduate degree in 2018, and as she began her graduate-level work, she balanced her role at IU Health North with an internship as a school-based therapist.
She worked with local students of every age, from elementary to high school. But every time she sat down with a student, she could tell something was missing.
One therapy session was just a small fraction of their day and some of her students needed extra guidance.
“Younger girls and boys—teens—are always being told what to do. They never have anyone to walk alongside them to help them understand and break down what they need to do and why,” Hudson said.
“They don't always have people who ask, ‘What is it that you want to do? What is it that you want to see? What is it that you want to be? How can I help you do that?’ Including them in these conversations teaches them to use their voice and to advocate for themselves.”
Finding what matters most
That idea soon evolved into Girl Code Mentoring, a non-profit that works to encourage, build-up and inspire girls between ages 12 – 18 in the Indy area.
The program helps girls overcome adversity, trauma and life challenges. There’s a heavy emphasis on mental health, self-love, empowerment and education. Since opening the program, the girls have heard from motivational speakers and professionals around the city.
Balancing a demanding career as a social worker and running her own non-profit can be tough, but at its core, both roles are social work, and Hudson understands the mental impact that holding things in can have.
“Holding things in is a silent killer. We hold all of these things in,” Hudson said. “People are overwhelmed, they have anxiety, they have all of these emotions, and they don’t understand why they’re struggling.”
Hudson’s work with her patients at IU Health North and her work in the nonprofit space often come together. No matter what role she is in, she always asks one important question: “What matters most?”
She types it in her inpatient notes. She asks her two young daughters at home. She wants the input of every girl that walks through the door of her non-profit.
“Sometimes, we put these programs together without the input of the people who are really affected,” Hudson said. “I ask my patients, ‘How can I make sure that your needs are met before you're discharged from the hospital?’ And for my program, ‘How can I make sure that we are meeting your needs to ensure that you are able to grow up and become the person that you desire to be?’”
While continuing on might have seemed impossible after losing her husband, Hudson has been able to transform that loss into something beautiful.
Now one year in, she’s been able to watch the girls learn from and thrive in their environments—all while continuing to go above and beyond for patients at IU Health North—and she knows its where she’s meant to be.
“Even though I experienced that traumatic situation, it's powerful to me. That's the reason I keep going,” Hudson said.