I started working with Adolescents in my youth when I was a high school science teacher. During that time I was the faculty advisor for our school’s community service projects. One of those projects was a free medical clinic that was staffed by all volunteers and I met one of the first Nurse Practitioners. At that time, I realized my vocation as a NP. I went back to school and then did volunteer service with my husband as a community health nurse in now South Sudan where people were dying from some unknown virus that they called Slim’s Disease. Fast forward, I have been a pediatric and adolescent primary care nurse practitioner and researcher for over 25 years and a HIV Specialist for over 10 years. I started practicing as an NP in the early 1990’s at the height of the HIV epidemic in women and children. I diagnosed several babies and children with HIV and learned everything I could to help them. That lead me to CHOP and the REACH project, then the ATN and I was hooked. I have had the opportunity to participate in over 100 protocols and enroll over 500 youth to studies over these years in addition to providing medical care to these youth.
I am so grateful to my patients and the many ATN and CHOP colleagues over the years that I work with to provide services to HIV + youth and at risk youth. In addition I have been able to mentor students and colleagues as well as learn from them, work on publications and even be the first author, and implement interventions in my practice that I have learned from this research. It is a privilege for me to participate in the ATN U-19 projects and I hope to continue working with my colleagues and youth to end the epidemic of HIV in youth.