Ivonna Mims RN, BSN
HIV/STD Nurse Consultant
HIV/STD Prevention Services
4 years of service
Got any favorite quotes?
“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.” Michelle Obama
If someone was interested in a public health career (or one in your field), what advice or encouragement would you give them?
Public health is a field with a broad range of opportunity to make a positive impact on improving health outcomes. Remember, that you are member of the community you serve. Be open to diversity, be open to innovation, and choose a path that motivates you personally and professionally to model the change you want to see in your community.
What is the most rewarding experience you have had in public health?
The implementation of Expedited Partner Therapy has been the most rewarding experience. In 2015, Oklahoma was one of 7 states that did not have an EPT protocol in place. The implementation of this protocol has been a successful intervention to getting partners of clients diagnosed with STIs treated to reduce rates of reinfection and adverse complications of untreated STDs. In 2018, Oklahoma EPT Implementation Presentation received recognition by the CDC STD Prevention Director Dr. Gail Bolan at the CDC National STD Prevention Conference in Washington D.C , the 2018 National Coalition of STD Directors Conference, and to serve as a consultant on the international implementation EPT for the National Institute of Public Health in Quebec, Canada.
How did you start working in public health?
This year I celebrate 21 years of nursing. My career has consisted of Family Medicine, Psych, and Labor/Delivery/Postpartum & Newborn care for 14 years. In 2014, I began my career with the state at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority as an RN Case Manager/Insurance Authorization Reviewer. In 2015, I transferred to OSDH joining The Division of Prevention and Intervention as the STD Nurse Consultant.
Can you share a few highlights of your experience in public health in Oklahoma? What is the most rewarding part of your work?
As STD Nurse Consultant, I have implemented a comprehensive STI Academy to help train our PHN’s on providing STD Care. In 2016, I pioneered the implementation of Expedited Partner Therapy, protocols for self-collected STD screening and extragenital STD screening in rural county health departments. I assist surveillance with case management and linkage of care of pregnant females diagnosed with STDs who need appropriate treatment. As STD Nurse Consultant, I am humbled to have opportunities to collaborate with public health nurses, DIS, educators, and professionals from all across the country with the same dedication to promote sexual health and decrease STD transmissions in our communities.
In your role, how do you educate people about public health?
I provide STD education/consultation to medical organizations, Community Based Organizations, The YWCA Sexual Assault Nurse Program and nursing programs at local colleges. The STI Academy has been a successful sought after training providing nurses all across our state with current trends in STDs, Open Communication, and the correct techniques for performing a comprehensive STD exam.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Bridging the gap between sexual health and routine preventive care settings is a challenge. Sexual Health is an important element to overall health. To effectively address sexual health challenges, we must collaborate with medical providers to promote a movement to embrace a comprehensive sexual health framework that looks towards the promotion of health and wellness rather than a fixation on diseases. Communicating with patients about their sexual health is an essential part of patient care. Normalizing sexual health conversation in health care settings can help destigmatize the subject of sex and sexual behavior, and encourage a solid foundation for sexual health issues to be discussed in communities, resulting in improved public health outcomes.