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Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

I graduated with a BSN in nursing from Michigan State University. In my first few years
out of school, I gained clinical experience in emergency room, intensive care, and
primary care. I quickly discovered that pediatrics was my passion and, in 2014,
graduated as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from Augusta University. Upon graduation, I
went to work in private practice, treating children from birth to age 21.
However, five years ago marked a turning point in my career.

I was seeing a 13-year-old boy who I had seen a few times in the past. His father brought
him in because his behavior had changed dramatically. The father was at a loss as to
what to do to help his son and was at the point of committing him to a mental health
facility, as he and his wife felt ill equipped to manage their son’s behavior at home.
I asked the father if he would hold off taking that step until I had the opportunity to run
a few tests. He agreed. When the tests came back, the boy’s strep titers were extremely
elevated — a classic sign of PANDAS. I treated him and, over the next two months, he got
better and eventually made a full recovery.

Although the PANDAS diagnosis had been around since the ‘90s, this was my first
experience treating it, and I was keen to learn more. So, I dove into the research. At the
same time my mom was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer and was working with
a naturopathic oncologist who was incorporating many integrative therapies.
Through my own research and watching my mom walk her cancer journey, I began to
see a very different picture of health and healing. It became clear to me that, while the
allopathic model of medicine has its strengths, it also sometimes fails to see patients as
more than the symptoms they present with. It fails to see that what we put in, on, and
around our body can have a significant impact on our overall health. I came to
understand that to truly heal patients we, as practitioners, must listen intently, consider
the bigger picture, and dig deeper to find and investigate root causes. Thus began my
interest and study of integrative medicine.

As a practitioner, I am also passionate about mental health. With the advent of the
COVID-19 pandemic, I began seeing an explosion of depression and anxiety among my
pediatric patients. To better help these patients, I sought to expand my knowledge base
through certification as a pediatric mental health specialist. It is my hope that I’ll be able
to combine this knowledge with an integrative approach to help more children achieve
optimal health in body, mind, and spirit.

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