After graduating from Brooklyn Center HS in Minneapolis, Minnesota I went on to the University of Minnesota and became a medical technician. I loved sciences and people, and spent 12 years at the University of Minnesota Heart Hospital, Blood Bank Lab and the Student Health Service at the Minneapolis and St. Paul campus. After close to 15 years of being in the laboratory, I moved to Bethel, Alaska and started the first Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in southwest Alaska, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (an area about the same size as Oregon). I am known as the godmother of the Bethel WIC program. I then applied to the MEDEX program in Seattle, and graduated with Class 19 as class president in 1987. I went right back to Bethel, Alaska, and worked at several jobs. You wear many hats in bush Alaska! I taught Certified Health Aide Practitioners at the University of Alaska Kuskokwim College and worked part-time at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital in Bethel. I also worked at the Bethel Family Clinic, which became an official Community Health Center after many community meetings and grant proposals. I also was the Chief Medical Officer at our Department of Corrections prison for 10 years. It is sometimes hard to be a warrior for the disenfranchised people of our great state, but it was rewarding and enlightening. In addition, for 10 years I traveled to 27 villages to conduct sports physicals every fall on about 1200 student athletes per year! As you age, sleeping on school floors gets old and tough!
I then got a call from MEDEX when they were starting a MEDEX site in Anchorage, a much-wanted program here in Alaska. They wanted me to help because of all my “bush” experience. I was eager to help start this long-awaited program; we have graduated two classes and are still going strong! I love our students…they give me energy, insight and hope!