Dr. Peggy El-Mallakh Honored

Friday, June 25, 2021

Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) honors the life of Dr. Peggy El-Mallakh, an inaugural BH WELL faculty member, who devoted her professional career to psychiatric-mental health nursing research and teaching. Dr. El-Mallakh received her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky. She completed a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship implementing medication management in Kentucky community mental health centers. Her academic research focused on teaching patients living with schizophrenia how to care for their comorbid diabetes. She also mentored several psychiatric-mental health nurses through her appointments as an associate professor of nursing at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.

Executive Director of BH WELL, Dr. Zim Okoli shares:

Dr. Peggy El-Mallakh was not only my colleague but she was also a dear friend. She was a true model of psychiatric-mental health nursing in her fervent care for patients, her teaching and mentoring the future generation of nurses, and her compassionate research focused on improving self-care among those living with severe mental illnesses. Her faith in God, quite similar to that of Florence Nightingale’s, was the bedrock upon which she faced adversities and gave herself fully in every facet of her life. Her recent death reminds me of a verse in the bible that says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24). While alive, Peggy sowed herself as a seed into so many; and even in death, so many of us continue to bear the fruit of our precious encounters with her. I am truly a beneficiary of her words of wisdom and grace, and our work with BH WELL has been blessed by her being part of our team. I will miss her beyond words can express, but I am extremely grateful for every moment I was privileged to spend learning from and working with her.

Dr. El-Mallakh’s life was a testament of compassion for others. She deeply loved her family, patients, students, and coworkers. She was respected, admired, hard-working, and a devoted friend. The impact of her research and training on the field of psychiatric nursing is immeasurable.