Meet Merissa Hawkins, our PrEP and Nonprofit Lead! She joined our team in July 2017 from Columbus, Ohio. She is passionate about finding creative ways to make healthcare more engaging and accessible, particularly in the world of HIV prevention and women’s health. So of course, Nurx’s use of telemedicine to reduce barriers to quality healthcare was a perfect fit. Merissa will now be focused on all things PrEP here at Nurx and working with our partner nonprofits and researchers.
How did you get into this field of work?
My journey to the world of HIV prevention was never necessarily intentional. Hilariously, I actually originally wanted to be an Anthropologist and travel the world as a health-focused Indiana Jones! Once I realized that maybe that choice wasn’t the most practical, my search for a new career avenue led me to public health. I knew I wanted to work in a field where I felt my daily efforts were contributing to something larger than myself, and I found myself really connecting with HIV prevention. Amazing progress has been made since the start of the HIV pandemic in the late 1980’s, but there is still so much that needs and can be done – especially through the use of new technology.
What excites you most about working for Nurx?
When I first heard about Nurx, I was completely in love with how they recognized that birth control and PrEP don’t need to be held hostage by doctors visits and complicated insurance structures. Plus, Nurx is so clearly pro-feminist, pro-LGBTQ+, pro-choice… how could I not want to be involved?
What advice would you have for people who would like to follow your footsteps in advocating for PrEP access?
This is such a fun question! My main advice to anyone even remotely interested in advocating for PrEP would be to focus on harm reduction, not perfectionism. Your contribution to the PrEP world (or any movement you’re passionate about, really) doesn’t always have to be some incredibly large, well planned production. Even small efforts add up in the larger movement.