Class notes

Health care for the homeless

Laura Garcia

Image caption: Laura Garcia

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, Laura Garcia, Nurs '10, '14 (MSN), rode with a community nurse named Omar as he drove from village to village to give babies their vaccinations. Upon returning to the States, she enrolled at Johns Hopkins with the goal of helping vulnerable populations. "It made me realize the responsibility I have to help empower people who have not had the opportunities I've had," she says. Today, Garcia is a nurse practitioner and director of adult medicine for Health Care for the Homeless, where she treats some of Baltimore's most underserved residents.

Part of her job includes prescribing Suboxone—a drug used to treat opioid dependence—for the clinic's Medication-Assisted Treatment program. Despite being able to prescribe opioids, nurse practitioners could not legally write prescriptions for Suboxone until federal law changed, roughly two years ago. "Yeah, I was excited that I was able to write my own script, but it was more exciting to me to take down a barrier for my patients," she says.

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