Helena Addison, MSN, RN, is a first-year PhD Student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her overarching area of research interest is the pervasive impact of violence on mental health. She is particularly interested in studying substance use and mental health outcomes, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, amongst Black men who have experienced interpersonal violence in Philadelphia and other urban communities. Ms. Addison is committed to promoting health equity and social justice by improving the mental health outcomes of individuals who have experienced violence through research, advocacy, and clinical practice. She has many years of community-based research experience in HIV prevention and sexual health promotion among disadvantaged youth and women experiencing intimate partner violence. Clinically, Ms. Addison has cared for people with dual diagnosis of mental illness and a substance use disorder, as well as individuals living with HIV. Through these experiences, she has found that violent and traumatic experiences as well as the negative mental and physical health impacts are all too common, especially among ethnic-minority populations.
Ms. Addison has been engaged in advocacy for issues related to violence, mental health, and substance use through organizations such as the National Black Nurses Association. She also works to provide nurses with education and resources about Trauma-Informed Care and practical tips for implementation in inpatient healthcare settings. She is excited to join the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program community to continue to gain the skills necessary to effectively devote her career to health equity and mental health promotion for underserved populations.