Assistant Professor, Section Head, MEDEX NW Program Director
I grew up during a time of segregation in the midst of the civil rights movement, and I remember the struggle for equality and the disparate healthcare in my community. As a young person growing up in rural East Texas, I was moved by my environment where I witnessed the poor health outcomes in my community. These were not just statistics, but real impacts on day-to-day morbidity and mortality.
As a teenager in the 1970s, my family moved to Seattle, where I attended Garfield High School. Through the Seattle Public Schools Work Training Program, I was fortunate to work at the UW Health Sciences each day after school and during the summers. This gave me a valuable opportunity to train, work with and be exposed to those in the medical field. As a lab technician, I worked in the Virology Division when HIV was in its early stages in America, and was honored to work with some very bright clinical researchers. I am a graduate of MEDEX Class 25 (class president), and have trained and worked in both rural and urban communities in Washington. I have also worked in HIV vaccine research and have provided primary care to HIV-positive patients. I joined the MEDEX faculty in 1996, and maintain a practice at the University of Washington Family Practice Residency. In 2007, I was elected to the City Council in Shoreline WA. In this position I was able to successfully advocate for funding to support vulnerable populations in our community. This included developing a “Healthy City” strategy to ensure the community’s access to much-needed human services.
As a young child in the 1960’s, I was profoundly impacted by the nonviolent civil rights struggle, and the words of Martin Luther King. As a result, my personal mission has been one of love and service: I’ve loved my fellow human being enough to care, and cared enough to act in service to others. I entered the MEDEX program as a student in 1991, because I determined the school’s mission was in alignment with my own core values.