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1.04.2017

Teens Get Compassionate Care from Winner of HIV Counselor of the Year Award

Shayna Jefferson, project coordinator in the Division of Adolescent Medicine in the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, received the HIV Counselor and Tester of the Year Award from the Test Miami initiative of the Florida and Miami-Dade County health departments.

Jefferson was singled out from more than 300 counselors and testers in Miami-Dade. The Test Miami awards are given to community agencies, counselors, volunteers and peers for exceptional performance in responding to HIV/AIDS.

Teenagers are counseled, tested and treated for HIV and other STDs at the Mailman Center for Child Development under the direction of Lawrence B. Friedman, M.D., professor of pediatrics and Director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine. Jefferson and her colleagues also test teens at the Department of Juvenile Justice, Miami-Dade public schools, foster care, drug rehabilitation centers and mental health facilities.

“The Adolescent Medicine Program in the Department of Pediatrics is an exemplar of outreach and community caring,” said Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., professor and Chair of Pediatrics. “Shayna Jefferson changes lives because teens trust her. She is part of a program, led by Dr. Friedman and his team, who communicate that we will provide compassionate care and find a cure together.”

Alex Moreno, M.P.H., director of outreach and education, said of Jefferson, “She has a great way with teenagers. She listens to them and is flexible with them. And the clinic is a really good facility because it’s a one-stop shop for testing, counseling and treatment.”

Jefferson says she got her passion and strong work ethic from her mother, Gwen Jefferson, RN, B.S.N., who worked as the supervisor of the post kidney transplant service at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“It is so satisfying to be able to help others in need to make their best life possible,” Jefferson said.

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