Nina Chalama

Congratulations to our April Impact Award winner, Nina Chalama, a prevention and outreach specialist with EPIC, a member of Empath Health.

Chalama joined the organization in 2019. In her role she supports the Zero Pinellas grant which aims to educate and reduce the stigma surrounding HIV. Her work includes testing people for HIV, advocating for PrEP and healthy behavior strategies, and teaching about HIV and safe sex in one-on-one and public settings.

“Everyone here is very cool and genuine and strives to do good work,” says Chalama. “Working with patients is always gratifying and the education aspect is very fun. It’s great to get out into the neighborhoods and talk with people about what they need and how we can deliver.”

The monthly Impact Award recognizes and celebrates staff for their positive impact on others, demonstration of our values and above-and-beyond service.

Here is an excerpt from Chalama’s nomination:

“At the end of March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to evaluate how we were providing services, our prevention team was the one team that was affected the most. All of the planned activities and events they had been working on for months were cancelled and, like us, other agencies were limiting the number of face-to-face visits.

Our prevention team stepped into action to make sure that EPIC and the South County Service Center were taken care of. The prevention team has manned the front desk and has done 90% of all screenings coming into the building. They have taken over the distribution of food to EPIC clients and any other person that comes to the door that is hungry, regardless of if they are a client. They stock, breakdown bulk donated food items and pre-fill bags of food. They are the calming, smiling faces our clients need to see as they also navigate this pandemic.

The team has also covered 18 shifts (72 hours) for the Mid-Pinellas and North Pinellas Care Centers with Nina taking on nine (36 hours) of those. These are spots that require them to be in contact with the general public and screen them for COVID-19 exposure. She has been a consistent face for family members that are facing a loss.

Beginning this week, Nina will also be re-deployed to work with the IT team to assist in rolling out phones and laptops to staff. When asked if she would be ok being deployed to another part of the agency, there was zero hesitation. She has been the true meaning of a team player. Everyone that has had the chance to work with Nina has expressed their gratitude for her willingness to be there, no matter the circumstances.”

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