Linda Walsh has been a nurse practitioner on the Pediatric infectious disease team since 2003. She sees patients at Comer, the Children’s hospital at UCM, and at Friend Center, a clinic on 55th and Cottage Grove. She also provides services at the Mount Sinai Outpatient Clinic- she like many of our ID providers is all over the map. Walsh steps into see a patient when a mother who is living with HIV delivers a baby and the newborn is in need of prophylactic medication. Walsh also provides education for other staff as well to ensure a complete understand of HIV and perinatal vulnerabilities/ response efforts. According to NIH guidelines, dolutegravir is the preferred ARV drug for pregnant women who are living with HIV, regardless of what trimester the mother is in (2020)1. This ARV medication can also be used for women living with HIV who are trying to conceive (2020)1. The NIH also emphasizes providers deliver “counseling and informed decision-making” with all ARV regimens for people living with HIV (2020)1.

She admitted that it was a learning curve while transitioning from general women’s and children, family practice prior, but ultimately she values providing empathetic support and understanding while working with any client and has been providing care for many years. Walsh has even worked with patients who were the child a second time as the parent “I think that are is the blessing of the long-term nature of our relationship in my experience has been the most rewarding for me.” She explained how some of her patients would reach out to her once their child had reached a milestone birthday, especially when earlier on in the HIV epidemic people didn’t expect children who were born with HIV to live very long. This was really gratifying for her and she felt a huge sense of accomplishment, “it would be kind of a big deal.” Walsh also explained a sense of accomplishment when she would be able to have cases where the children were born with a negative status., Walsh said while telling me about patients she’s had as children bring in their own child.

Walsh has been taking care of herself by staying buys with her four grandchildren; “they are fun and exhausting,” she explains. She enjoys the times she is able to spend with them, especially as a grandparent. She also likes to be outside, and has an artistic touch as she has a hobby of painting rocks! Walsh collects rocks near Lake Michigan and paints them, “the rocks are plentiful. So I am always collecting rocks and painting. It is a little occupation therapy.” C2P also had a weekly happy hour, but Walsh misses seeing her other team members regularly because of COVID-19, “we’re always zooming it up, but not I am not seeing people in person so I miss the collegiality of a busy office with a lot of activity.”
It was a pleasure getting to know Walsh’s experience and point of view on perinatal infections and prevention efforts. Since 2003, the program formerly known as the Pediatric and Adolescent HIV team is now more well known as Care2Prevent (C2P) because Because advances in HIV medication and treatment, . There are much many fewer children born with HIV.