i don't really talk about my job much on the blog. and it's funny that i don't, because it's such a huge part of my life and who i am and how i spend my time.
maybe it's because by the time i get home from work, i don't want to think/write about work. but i actually enjoy talking about my job, so that can't be it.
but anyways, i really do work. and i do stuff there. and i really love the stuff i do.
let's see if i can sum it up:
i do research.
i do research at duke.
i do research on a study called SLAM DUNC.
our study has nothing to do with basketball. it's just a long acronym. (for something...)
all of our patients have HIV and they also have depression. our study is testing an intervention that integrates depression care and HIV care. did you know that a lot of people with HIV also have depression? well, it's true. and it's really difficult for them, as you can imagine. and often times their depression goes un-managed. and when they are really depressed, they don't take their HIV meds. and then their HIV gets worse and their health gets worse and on top of all that, they remain really depressed.
when someone can help them get their depression under control, they are healthier; mentally and physically. because when they feel less depressed, they take thier HIV meds better. then, their viral loads go down (good) their CD4 counts go up (good) and often they just feel better about things in general. oh, it's so good to see.
so our intervention helps to manage depression at the ID (infectious disease) clinic where they receive their HIV care. it's really neat, it's sustainable, it's cost effective, and it seems to be working really well. yay for research!
my role is to help meet and enroll patients, talk to them throughout their year in the study to measure their adherence to their meds, measure their depression, and collect data on lots of other aspects of their lives that we think are important for our study. i also do a lot of other stuff...
analyzing data, entering data, helping with papers, abstracting information from medical records...
right now, i'm even working on an abstract for a big HIV conference that is coming up. here's hoping it gets accepted. which, among other things, would mean a paid trip to Florida to present it...so, you know, yes please.
so there it is, in a nutshell of course. sometimes it gets a bit crazy around here. and sometimes it's incredibly emotionally exhausting. but i love getting to intersect the lives of all these people who i would never otherwise know. and to learn a little about what it's like to live with and battle HIV. and to try to be an encouraging and kind voice in their day. and to not take my health for granted.
and i could go on...
but i won't.
what do you do every day? and who do you meet while doing it? it's so worth it to stop, think, and being grateful for employment. so here's to monday!