Sara Dolan

In 1996, I obtained my bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of Vermont, then took a position as a staff nurse on an acute neurology and neurosurgery unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Driven by my interest in caring for individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, I obtained a master's degree in Nursing, and my Adult Nurse Practitioner certification with a sub-specialty in HIV from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2000.

In 2001, I began working as a Research Nurse Practitioner in the Program in Nutritional Metabolism at MGH. Here, I have helped to design, implement and publish many studies investigating the long-term and metabolic complications of HIV/AIDS in women living with the virus. My research interests include investigating the effects of HIV, and potentially some of the medications used to treat HIV, on cardiovascular status, bone density, lipid, fat, and muscle metabolism in women living with HIV in the United States. I have had the opportunity to present this research at both national and international nursing and medical conferences including the Eastern Nursing Research Society Annual Scientific Session, the International AIDS Conference, and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. I have also published in HIV/AIDS related journals including the Journal of AIDS, AIDS, and the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In addition to my clinical work, I am very active in the HIV community in the Greater Boston area. I am the coordinator and a group leader for the Bridges for Life Medical Group at the Boston Living Center. This group is designed to provide support and education on the potential psychological and medical complications that can accompany HIV, and to help those living with HIV have a better understanding of how to live a healthy life with the virus. Also, I am the co-founder and an instructor of HIV College at Cambridge Cares about AIDS. HIV College is an empowerment through learning program designed to deliver up to date knowledge about HIV/AIDS to those living with HIV, and those working with HIV positive individuals in the community and hospital setting.

Collectively, the research and clinical experience I have gained through my work with individuals living with HIV ignited my desire to pursue doctoral study in Nursing at Boston College. I recently became a doctoral candidate and my research interest is investigating the direct and indirect influence of depression, subjective well-being, spiritual beliefs, and physical activity on adherence in African American women living with HIV/AIDS.

My future goals include to continue my research among women living with HIV at the national and international level, and also teach nursing at the graduate level. I have a true passion for the profession of nursing, and I look forward to advancing the science and knowledge of nursing to improve the care of individuals infected and affected by this devastating illness at the local and global level.