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.