“Timing is everything in life” is an adage with great meaning to me, largely because of the way my career in public health evolved, coincident with the onset of the HIV epidemic.
If it was fate, there was nothing subtle about the favorable alignment of factors as I finished graduate school with my MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 1983. With 10 years of nursing experience (including infection control and clinical trials) and some good personal connections in the public health sector, I was offered and enthusiastically accepted the job as AIDS Surveillance Epidemiologist. At the time, I held the only AIDS-specific job in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Professionally this role was amazingly challenging and fascinating, and it was the first step in a long and winding path that has been my public health career at JSI. Even more wonderful, though, has been the opportunity to work with and befriend such remarkable people, whose passion for the cause and integrity under such adversity has touched my life over these 30 years.
Along the way I have seen many breakthroughs and am thrilled that HIV is now a manageable chronic disease, I continue to be inspired by the brave patients with HIV who I have known and the outstanding professionals at all levels who I have worked with in the epidemic. And of course, I am forever grateful for the chance to represent JSI in this battle.