I worked as a photojournalist for almost thirty years and much of my work was self-generated documentary photojournalism, focussing on individuals whose daily struggles breathed life into statistics and current events.
My work took me inside the lives of people who granted me that privilege. I brought a passion to my work, whether covering international stories in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Cuba, or in my own community.
I photographed and wrote about the personal impact of war.
I focused on stories about aging.
I was always drawn to stories about public health issues.
I loved to photograph ballet.
I loved to photograph the rock formations of the American southwest.
If it was compelling, I was eager to capture it.
After the war in Iraq began in 2003 I focused on covering the personal impact of war. I travelled twice to Iraq to cover the impact of the conflict on civilians. After my second trip in 2004, I focused much of my coverage on the impact of war on people who lived in my community -- wounded soldiers, those with PTSD, military families, Iraqi refugees, and activists on both sides of the war.
At some point I began to listen to that voice within that had been telling me for years “you should do more.” I wanted to embark on a new career that would allow me to be more hands on as an advocate in a way that journalism would not allow. So I made the decision to purse a Master of Public Health (MPH) in 2010 with a focus on the public health effects of war. After completing my MPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, I returned to California and entered the Public Health PhD program at the University of California in 2012 and completed my doctorate in 2018.
I always treasured the power of photojournalism and documentary photography to inspire others to alleviate suffering and to take action to make the world a better place. But now I want to be the one who takes that action, inspired not only by my own work in the past, but by the people whose lives left indelible imprints on me. I hope to combine the skills that made me a successful photojournalist - my research, communication, interview, advocacy, and storytelling skills as well as my strength in framing issues - with my new technical and qualitative public health expertise.
One of the wonderful things about being a photojournalist was that I covered a wide range of stories - from the impact of tragedy to the joy of dance. It took me on a journey to a world that I could never even dream about when I started my career. I’ll always be grateful for that and its role in sending me on this new path.