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I am so pleased to join the Oakland BACA team as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) intern! PMHNPs have been around for many years and are becoming more integrated into the world of child and adolescent psychiatry. I am excited to be part of that integration!

I have been a Registered Nurse for 11 years with a longstanding interest in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Before nursing school, I worked as a volunteer with pregnant teens, victims of domestic violence, and teens and adults with substance use disorders. As a nurse, I have worked in labor and delivery settings, community clinics, pediatric triage, clinical quality assurance, and complex case management. I have special training in perinatal mood disorders and am a certified lactation educator. My nursing background led to my holistic approach to mental health, appreciation of the mind-body connection, and commitment to patient advocacy.

A common theme shared between my professional and volunteer experiences is a disconnect between traditional health care and mental health, which was quite influential on my decision to specialize in psychiatry. I think positive overall health starts with accessible, effective, compassionate mental health care and strong provider collaboration. As a PMHNP, I will have the opportunity to provide primary mental health  services such as psychotherapy and medication management and use a team-based, integrative approach to meet the needs of my future patients and their families.

My father used to say my biggest strengths were my ability to empathize, listen actively and think critically, which are qualities that guided me to my current career path. I have a BS degree in Nutrition from University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, CT, studied nursing at San Francisco State University, and am currently working toward my MS degree in Nursing and PMHNP certification at UCSF, with an anticipated graduation date of June 2018.

I have a compassionate, strengths-based approach to patient care focused on empowerment and overall well-being. I am especially interested in how our mental health is impacted by early child experiences as well as environmental and nutritional factors. I understand the importance of meeting kids where they are, figuratively (and sometimes literally) speaking, and forming an alliance with them to help establish and meet their personal goals.

I moved to San Francisco 16 years ago and now live in the East Bay. I have a deep appreciation for the beauty, culture, and humanity of the Bay Area and have grown quite familiar with its community resources. Aside from my academic and professional pursuits, I love spending lots of quality time with my son, hiking, swimming (especially open water!), seeing live music, and walking our dogs Bella and Ginger.