It is nearly impossible to describe Shannon with mere words. But we will try! Shannon is a creative, social engineer — bringing love, transformation, strategy, and creating-a-new-box thinking-and-doing to a multitude of societal needs. Shannon is a true inspiration who shines a bright light on not only burdensome problems but also creative solutions. Shannon first came to UCSF in 2005 as the inaugural Coordinator of the National Perinatal HIV Hotline at the UCSF National Clinician Consultation Center. New to the content, Shannon was a quick study and soon became a leader on the national and international perinatal and reproductive/sexual HIV health scene. Among other accomplishments, she created the ReproID_HIV Listserv, the Perinatal HIV Clinician Network, and the first-ever list of clinics willing to offer assisted reproduction to those affected by HIV. In 2011, Shannon became Director of the-then-called Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center (BAPAC), elevating the work to a new stratospheric level. Over the course of four years, Shannon created a website and its potent content, rebranded BAPAC into HIVE, envisioned and launched novel projects such as POWERHealth, Beyond Compassion, and PROMen, co-authored numerous peer-review manuscripts, spoke passionately at national and international scientific and community-based conferences, networked with so many amazing and dedicated leaders and front-line folx doing perinatal HIV work (you all!), created videos including 52 Questions, sat on numerous national advisory committees, and mentored numerous folx including Karishma Oza, Yamini Osequera-Bhatnagar, and Caroline Watson of the HIVE Program Staff. Shannonwas one of the key creative brains behind the development of Team Lily, a new multidisciplinary care team that provides prenatal care to women with mental health challenges, women who use substances, and women with unstable housing who have trouble accessing conventional prenatal care. And being HIVE Director was her part-time job (!!) done alongside masterfully manifesting her vision for, the go-to site for PrEP resources including finding a PrEP provider anywhere in the US. In 2019, Shannon left HIVE to work full-time on PleasePrEPMe, one of Shannon’s many wildly successful social projects. In 2018, Shannon won the prestigious UCSF Chancellor Award for Public Service. Seriously, no one is more deserving.
In addition to all the incredible accomplishments Shannon has achieved in her career to-date (can you believe all she has accomplished?), she is also shockingly prolific in her creative pursuits! Have you seen her TEDx talk? Have you read her book about empathy? Have you seen her loveyou2 art hanging in a gallery or in some mischievous spot outside somewhere in the world? Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to receive a homemade cape in your honor? We love you, too, Shannon.
Dr. Deb Cohan is HIVE’s medical director and lives in Berkeley, CA.