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In the Last 10 years of my working life...

    I have more than 15 years of professional experience with marginalized, at-risk populations in the area of public health and social justice.  In the early 1990's I coordinated volunteer assignments and event promotion for important AIDS benefits, i.e., the Lifespan Bay Bridge run and the SF AIDS dance and bike-a-thons. In 1992 I entered SFSU with a goal to incorporate my personal life experiences with a university education that I could use to help other people. During my undergraduate studies I interned as a Crisis/drop-in Counselor at La Casa de Las Madres,where I stayed for two years helping hundreds of women and children escape family violence.
    My experiences at La Casa along with my studies at SFSU brought me a practical perspective of how cultural, social and gender issues have a direct impact on individual behavior and choices.  During my tenure at La Casa I became aware of a lack of services for women engaged in commercial sex work, despite a tremendous need for such services. I began to research organizations working with prostitutes/sex workers, and found , PROMISEa new intervention counseling program and drop-in center for women exiting prostitution/sex work.  As a PROMISE volunteer Outreach Counselor and Client Advocate, I did weekly outreach to the Tenderloin and Mission districts; helped recruit, train and eventually supervise volunteers; designed agency posters; facilitated groups; and helped women create and achieve "exit plans", i.e., steps to transition out of prostitution.  After two years as a volunteer, PROMISE hired me as Program Developer and eventually Executive Director.  In these capacities I helped raise over $150K in grants, individual donations, in-kind contributions, and fundraising benefits. As a member of the Sex Worker Committee of the Domestic Violence Consortium, I helped develop culturally appropriate policies for serving sex workers and organized a training for service providers so they could better serve this population.
    In 2001 I began working in HIV-specific research with the UCSF Urban Health Study, an HIV/Hepatitis study of intravenous drug users in San Francisco. As Research Associate I administered surveys to participants, conducted HIV and Hepatitis B and C test counseling, and provided patient advocacy for the Hepatitis C liver biopsy study.
    In 2002 I became a volunteer at ,St. James Infirmary an occupational health clinic for current and former sex workers, as an intake/peer counselor and HIV/STD pre- and post-test counselor.  St. James and the UCSF UFO Study recently collaborated to form the St.-UFO study, an HIV/STD program of young men who have sex with men who have recently injected drugs.  There I helped to design the data instrument, collected data from participants and provided pre- and post-HIV/STD counseling.
    At the same time I went to work at St. James, I took a paid position as Research Associate on the HOPE Study, a randomized control trial evaluation of an enhanced case-management and housing program for HIV individuals recently released from S.F. county jail.  In addition to many visits of prisoners inside the San Francisco County Jails, my work with the HOPE Study included recruitment, participant tracking, and data collection.  In addition, I have analyzed and presented study data to community organizations and at national conferences.
    With a BA in Women's Studies, I entered the MPH program at SFSU in the Fall of 2004.  At this time I became the Outreach Coordinator for the St. James Infirmary where I conducted weekly outreach to sex workers on the streets, in massage parlors and strip clubs.  In 2005 I Coordinated a Sex Worker mapping project as part of the .SWEAT Study  This project included round the clock documentation of street based sex workers and marginally housed people in 4 San Francisco neighborhoods: The Tenderloin, Mission District, Polk and Bay View/Hunter's Point.
    In August 2006, I became the Executive Director of the St. James Infirmary, where I am proud to serve a staff of 26, as well as help provide comprehensive occupational medical care and other harm reductions services specific to hundreds of sex workers and their current partners.  I am excited to be on a team with so many brilliant, compassionate and dynamic people.  To date I have helped raise over 100k in grants and I am just getting started!
    My 15 years of public-health related research, community outreach, and program development have prepared and inspired me to pursue graduate studies so that I can integrate theory and practice to help improve individual and community health in the future.  An MPH from SFSU is helping to make this possible.

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