Our cherished Clinical Services Manager, Theresa Schall, has retired. Please read her words below, in celebration of her time with us at PHC and PHC The Project.
My name is Theresa Schall, and I am retiring as Clinical Services Manager for PHC’s Ryan White Outpatient Ambulatory Care Program. I started as a nurse care manager in 2008 and moved into the management position in 2015. I have had the opportunity to work with this incredible program for a third of my nursing career! My husband and I decided to retire at the end of May of 2021.
I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on my time with The Project of Primary Health Care.
It’s been a very challenging final year in light of all the changes the pandemic brought; however, isn’t that what my time with this program has always brought? When I think back to 2008 and compare it to now, I am amazed at how far we have come. I realize now, that change is the only constant.
In 2008, people who were living with HIV were advised to hold off on starting medications until their immune system had become compromised. At the time, the long-term risks and side effects of taking HIV medication outweighed the benefits. Now, there is a rapid-start program that provides HIV medication within seven days of their diagnosis and oftentimes on the very day they receive confirmation of the diagnosis!
Ongoing research in this field has improved the quality of life for most of our patients, with the influx of many once-daily medications. These medications not only improved the ability to stay adherent to more simplified regimens but also reduced the many side effects and long-term complications that came with the earlier regimens. For example: today, a 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV, has the same life span as a 20-year-old living without HIV. Isn’t that amazing?
In 2013, we experienced a change in our care model when we merged with the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. We went from a six person medical team at our southside clinic, to a 16-person, multidisciplinary team. The merging of cultures was difficult, but led to a team of 28 committed individuals made up of case managers, nurse care managers, a pharmacist, and a behavioral health consultant.
I am proud that I have been involved in the many changes over the years that have helped grow The Project of Primary Health Care into the progressive and respected program it is today. I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of an organization and program that has had such a significant impact on so many people’s lives. I also consider myself lucky to have been equally impacted by all the interesting and inspirational patients I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. Thanks to all the patients and staff that I have had the pleasure to bump into during this amazing journey. A little part of all of you remains with me and for that I am grateful!
PHC will miss Theresa’s commitment to providing the highest quality care for patients, her desire to better the lives of others, and the trusted leadership she provided to her team. Lucky for us, she has agreed to stay on in a part time role for a bit. Thank you for your years of dedication to PHC and to our patients! You will be missed!