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#IAmHHS: Fighting Infectious Diseases Here and Abroad

Michelle Holshue is a nurse, an NIH researcher, and a global public health responder. She is one of more than 79,000 people who make HHS run every day.

I grew up in small-town Pennsylvania, and I couldn’t wait to spread my wings. 

While getting my nursing and international health degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, I took opportunities to study and work abroad — in Mexico, New Zealand, Botswana and India.  I learned how precious good health is everywhere, and how diseases don’t pay attention to borders. What happens on the other side of the world, like Ebola or Zika, can be at our doorstep in a moment. That’s why I’m interested in fighting infectious disease. 

Back here in the States, I worked as a home visit nurse in Philadelphia, but it was my longtime dream to work at the National Institutes of Health. I was thrilled when I was offered a position at an infectious disease clinic at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In the same year, I also became an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Serving in uniform is a long family tradition, dating back to the American Revolutionary War, and I’m proud to continue it.

Monrovia Medical Unit Team
Michelle with the entire Monrovia Medical Team Number One.

Several years ago, when Ebola broke out in West Africa, and Public Health Service teams were forming, I jumped at the chance to go to West Africa. I was chosen to be part of the first team to set up an Ebola Treatment Unit in Monrovia, Liberia. We took care of healthcare workers who were exposed while caring for Liberians who had contracted Ebola. I believe those healthcare workers were the true heroes of the Ebola epidemic. I still remember the Liberian obstetrician who helped a poor mother give birth. He became infected and he suffered terribly—just for helping a woman have a baby. Working in Liberia was an honor and an experience I will never forget. 

At the NIH Clinical Center, we are working to find treatments and vaccines against Ebola, HIV, malaria and other diseases. There’s so much meaningful work to do at NIH, it’s always exciting.  We never know what might be the next Ebola, the next HIV. With the right care, we can treat people and prevent diseases from spreading. We can help families, communities and whole societies.

I’m Michelle Holshue.  I’m a nurse, an NIH researcher, and a global public health responder.  And I am HHS. 

Michelle is one of more than 79,000 people who make HHS run every day. You can share her story and see others on Twitter and Facebook using #IAmHHS.

Michelle is a nurse, @NIHClinicalCntr researcher & global public health responder. Watch her #IAMHHS story: https://go.usa.gov/xNMr4

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