By Andy Goodell
Communications Manager, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Michelle Sariev, 06N, MSN, will receive Emory University’s “Ally of the Year” award at the 2019 Emory Pride awards on March 5 at the Miller-Ward Alumni House.
The peer-nominated Ally of the Year award honors and acknowledges contributions made by an individual, department or organization to Emory’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities throughout the past year. These contributions resulted in the creation or improvement of an inclusive, respectful and safe climate for the LGBTQ community, and thereby furthered the mission of the Office of LGBT Life at Emory University.
Sariev is alum of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and currently serves as a clinical instructor for various courses in the School of Nursing that focus on human development and sexuality. She has spent the past 10 years caring for LGBTQ patients’ needs, which includes HIV treatment and prevention as well as transgender and gender-affirming care.
“Historically, nurses have been given the privilege of caring for individuals from all walks of life and assisting individuals and families through the most challenging times,” says Emory School of Nursing Dean Linda McCauley, 79MSN, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN. “Sexuality is part of the human experience, so it is imperative for nurses to develop the sensitivity to recognize, accept and care for individuals regardless of race, gender, religion or sexuality. It is what we do.”
Understanding that many LGBTQ people have had negative medical clinic experiences is important to Sariev. She knows that anxiety about seeking medical attention often stems from bad experiences.
“Primary care is about keeping people healthy, involving everything from screenings to vaccines to diet and exercise,” says Sariev. “But when you talk about LGBTQ people, they’ve had such a bad experience historically in medical clinics. Oftentimes, they don’t go into care because they’re afraid they’re going to have another bad experience. So they miss out.”
A big part of changing this starts with how nursing students are taught about care for LGBTQ people. In the spring of 2018, Sariev was recruited by the School of Nursing to teach their Human Sexuality course. The School of Nursing also approved a new elective specifically focused on LGBTQ health. Sariev, along with MSN Program Director Elizabeth Downes 04MPH, DNP, will co-teach that course sometime in the next year.
The community is invited to attend the 2010 Emory Pride Awards. RSVP here.