Spotlight Spring 2013

Amy recently came back to Lienhard to address current students.  She says, “Pace University has given me a solid nursing foundation and a diverse range of invaluable experiences, from ICU preceptorships to working at the Henry Street settlements. These experiences have given me the ability to think with vision and to think outside the box.  I am truly grateful and proud to be an alumna of the Lienhard School of Nursing.”

While working on Long Island not long after graduating, Amy observed high incidences of preventable chronic illnesses, especially in underserved communities.  She saw teenagers with Type 2 Diabetes, an illness that used to be nonexistent in young people. When a 25-year-old patient tragically died of diabetes complications, she and her colleague Anuli Erike teamed up to do something.

They started a health initiative called Get Ahead (Active Healthy Education Awareness Disease Prevention). Their mission is to prevent and decrease the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.  Through innovative and effective nutrition and lifestyle education, they seek to empower youth and provide them with the tools they need to fight this silent epidemic.

Amy and Anuli started Get Ahead to encourage young people to make healthy decisions, and they’ve taken this message to high schools and church youth groups.  They’ve worked with a local mayor who provided support for a talk show segment and PSAs about moderation. 

They’ve expanded their work internationally, taking their passion for preventing illnesses like diabetes to Nigeria, a country where health concerns focus more on TB, malaria, and AIDS.  According to Amy, as Nigeria becomes more urbanized, there are more chronic diseases like diabetes.  Patients are not diagnosed and treated early on in the course of the disease, leading to more complications.  Amy and Anuli’s next endeavor takes them to Washington DC where they will be working with George Washington University on a Get Ahead initiative for Nigeria that involves Dr. Patience Goodluck Jonathon, the First Lady of Nigeria.

Amy recently got an internship with UNESCO Center for Peace (an entity of the United Nations) as an MDG (Millennium Development Goals) & Global Health Coordinator.  In 2013, she will be working collaboratively with George Washington University and UNESCO on implementing the vision of Get AHEAD in Nigeria.  She will also be able to coordinate programs for other countries, and will be taking a lead role in facilitating the global health aspect for the International Model United Nation's conference for youth this summer in Washington DC.

When asked which professors inspired her, Amy talks about taking pathophysiology with Professor Berro (pictured here with Amy) and how the class applied directly to some of the patients she’s seen.  She talks about how Professor Berro’s energy and enthusiasm made the class fun.  Amy also says she looked to Dr. Karen “Toby” Haghenbeck for inspiration.  She also enjoyed the nursing leadership class she took, saying that course inspired her, especially while she was dealing with personal challenges in her life.

When asked what advice she has for current students, she says they should follow their passion and not be afraid to take risks.  She also advises students and recent graduates not to feel intimidated by others in the field who have more years of experience.  According to Amy, youth can be an asset because young people have time, energy, and enthusiasm to work towards their goals; young people should not wait for others to lead if they feel passionate about an issue.