It's a lot harder to write about yourself than you might think, but I'll give it a try! I am a born and bred Northerner who has found herself calling the South home for the past few years. I grew up in South Jersey with my parents and younger brother, and after living in Ft. Lauderdale and Manhattan, I have finally settled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, also known as "the Southern part of Heaven." I drink too much Diet Coke and coffee; love the movie Mary Poppins; I can be too serious for my own good; I like ordering Chinese take-out on rainy days; and cupcakes are one of my favorite foods! I became an aunt in 2007, and my nephew is one of the most special people in my life. I love spending time with him and spoiling him, and am prepping him to be a Tar Heel!
I graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2002 with my BA in psychology and women's studies and earned my MS in clinical health psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
in 2006. I have assisted with research at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and completed internships at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
After getting my MS, I worked full-time while deciding what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to have more of a focus on health and cancer, and in 2009 I graduated with my MPH in maternal-child
health from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.
How Cancer Impacted my Life
I often think that somehow, oncology chose me, rather than the other way around. After all, there are easier ways to make a living. When I was 12, a boy in the grade above me died of leukemia; he
was 13. I went to a small private school, with many of us having gone there since kindergarten or first grade, so everyone knew everyone else. It was the first time someone my age that I knew had
died, and it floored me. The following year, a classmate of mine was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and we spent many weeks and months visiting her at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. When
I visited her, though I'm sure I was aware of it before, it was the first time I realized that kids don't always get better. Some kids go into the hospital and don't come back out
alive. I don't remember when or how, but I went into high school wanting to be a pediatric oncologist.
up next: how these experiences with cancer gave jaime courage
Jaime discovers her passion
To avoid being overwhelmed, I started to read about breast cancer. The more knowledge I had, the less room there was for fear; it gave me a sense of control. My psychology program was housed in a
medical school, and I read my way through the breast cancer books, moved on to the general oncology books, gynecologic cancer books, pediatric cancer books, and eventually, medical oncology books.
I found the seminal book on psychosocial oncology, Psycho-Oncology, by Jimmie Holland, and dove into the field. I worked with people living with cancer at the Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania, and assisted with psychosocial oncology research at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Slowly, I remembered my teenage goal of wanting to be an oncologist, and in a strange way,
working in the field just felt right. I lobbied on Washington with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and met many wonderful survivors, advocates and warriors in the cancer world. Many people I am
honored to call friends have either survived cancer or are living with it currently, and some have passed away from the disease.