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An Interview with Shot@Life Champion, Jonie McBee

From joining the Navy Reserves, to living all over the country and abroad, to becoming a nurse, Shot@Life Champion Jonie McBee has had an interesting life. She sat down with us today to discuss her education, her time in the Reserves and why the Shot@Life campaign is important to her.


Can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up?

I grew up in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and California.  I obtained my bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Tech University Health Sciences and my master’s degree in nursing from Old Dominion University. 

What inspired you to become a nurse? 

My grandmother was a nurse and my uncle was a doctor, so I developed an interest in health care at an early age.

What was it like working in the Navy Reserves as a woman?

I spent a total of 10 years active duty in the Navy and 10 years in the Navy Reserves.  I think I may have had more leadership opportunities in the Navy than I might have had in the civilian community.  I retired from the Navy as a Commander in May 2013.

Where were you stationed in the Navy? 

My husband and I were both in the Navy initially and were stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington, DC.  I went into the Navy Reserves after that and was voluntarily recalled to active duty in September 2001.  Over the years we were stationed in Naples, Italy; Monterey, CA;  Norfolk, VA;  Charleston, SC; Whidbey Island, WA; Augusta, GA; Beaufort, SC; and Groton, CT.  I was fortunate to live all over this beautiful country and also in one of my favorite places in the world – Italy!

How did you get involved with American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)? What types of activities do they do?

I first became involved with AANP by attending the national conference held each year.  It is a nurse practitioner leadership organization and advocates politically for NPs.  I often complete CME (continuing medical education) activities offered online through AANP, and I receive daily healthcare news from AANP Smart Brief online.  That’s how I found out about Shot@Life.

Can you talk a bit about the importance of vaccinations and what the Shot@Life campaign means to you? 

I am interested in the history of disease and healthcare, and I know that millions of people died over centuries due to diseases that we rarely see today in the developed world.  I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and a nurse practitioner for 20 years, and I’ve been appalled at the anti vaccine movement that has emerged recently.  I think it is unconscionable that parents would choose to deprive their children of protection from deadly, preventable diseases.  My focus initially was on domestic vaccinations but expanded to a global focus over the years. Becoming a Shot@Life Champion has helped to hone my interest and expand my efforts.  I truly believe that all children deserve the opportunity to grow up healthy, and vaccines are a big factor in this.

Alex Mazzarisi