Karishma recently left the Bay Area, her lifetime home, moving to DC with her partner. Karishma joined HIVE in 2015 after having already rocked it at San Francisco General Hospital since 2013. Karishma was not only the enthusiastic get-it-done-right, she-can-do-all-things-programmatic hub of HIVE activity, she was also a constant soulful and kind presence. She helped us stay organized, efficient, and connected with our hearts. Karishma is about doing right by the people and communities we serve and, as the only full-time staff member of HIVE, was the leadership love glue that kept us all together and aligned with our core values. Karishma worked on so many projects including Beyond Compassion; Provider Update: HIV and Safer Conception; the Perinatal Equity Council; the HIVE database; the HIVE website and social media; provider and patient consults nationally; quality improvement interviews and surveys; and helped write a dizzying array of grants, reports, and newsletters. Informed by her work on Beyond Compassion as well as her interactions with HIVE patients, Karishma began co-facilitating workshops on self-care and vicarious trauma for health workers. Karishma was also instrumental in supporting the birth of Team LILY, a program serving pregnant people experiencing barriers to clinic-based prenatal care who may use substances, experience housing insecurity, or have mental health needs. Karishma poured her heart and soul into this work — everything from presenting and teaching at local and regional venues to cultivating trusting relationships with HIVE patients. Karishma had such a calming and deeply respectful way of being with patients. Multiple patients specifically commented about “the friendly lady who offered them tea”. She created a space where patients could really open up and feel heard in their feedback about their experience with HIVE, Team LILY, and the inpatient birthing experience. Inspired by her deep connections with the people we serve, Karishma trained as a postpartum doula. She also was an important voice advocating for trauma-informed, healing-centered, equitable healthcare at SFGH and continues to be a fierce activist for reproductive and gender justice, and racial equity and justice. A badass cyclist, Karishma may now be living in the flatlands around the Beltway but no worthy political cause is too steep for her to climb. While we are finding ways to keep Karishma on as a consultant with HIVE, we miss her so. She is the new Program and Outreach Associate at the DuPoint Clinic. Watch out, Washington!
Dr. Deb Cohan is HIVE’s medical director and lives in Berkeley, CA.