My role as a clinician is to provide psychosocial services to patients and families as they navigate through changes and challenges that cancer may bring. I hope to offer a space for patients to express themselves as different emotions and feelings arise and make meaning of their experience. A large part of my role is educating patients about resources that are available to them, within UCLA and the community, and advocating for patients within the healthcare system. My mission and goal is to provide compassion, support and advocacy to patients and families and allowing them to feel heard and validated during times of need.
I graduated from Vanguard University with a BA in Psychology in 2009 and received my MSW in 2011 from the University of Denver. My concentration was on aging adults, chronic illness, grief and interpersonal trauma. I had the opportunity to complete my graduate internships with SolAmor Hospice and St. Joseph’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Denver, CO. This is where I discovered my passion was to work with individuals and families dealing with chronic and terminal illness. My career has always been health care focused and I have worked with various medical systems, from skilled nursing facilities, hospice, homeless outreach and now have circled back to my deepest passion—oncology social work.
After graduating with my MSW, I worked in two skilled nursing facilities in Denver CO, where I was trained in dementia specialty care. I managed a secured unit and trained staff on how to care for individuals with memory loss and advanced dementia. When I returned to San Diego, California, I had the opportunity to work for Vitas Innovative Hospice, where I worked with end-of–life issues and provided psychosocial support to grieving families. I began working for the ALS Association when I moved to Los Angeles, a small non-profit serving patients and families within the Greater Los Angeles area, and was privileged to work with a team of people who fought to find a cure for ALS. My job consisted of education, fundraising, advocacy and policy, and providing support to individuals and families impacted by ALS. After two years with the ALS Association, I decided to change my focus from medical to mental health. I began working for St. Joseph Center in Venice, CA, where I assisted starting a new program developed by the Department of Health, which involved housing and providing mental health services to individuals experiencing homelessness and chronic illness.
In May 2017, I was offered a temporary position with Simms/Mann–UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, and I am beyond grateful when I was offered a permanent position in September of 2017. I am proud to be a part of a wonderful and compassionate team and working with a population I deeply care about.
When I am not working or stuck in traffic, you can find me training for my next half marathon or finding the best tacos in town. I enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures, watching live music, playing guitar and reading. I am also a mother of an Old English Sheepdog named Griffin, so I have played fetch and tug every day for the last 7 years.