Her passport is stamped with exotic locations: Myanmar, Tibet, South Africa, Vietnam, and Cambodia, as well as Baltimore, MD. But, when Carrie Tudor, PhD, MPH, RN, looks at it, she sees global battlefields in the fight against infectious disease. Her weapons: immunizations, programs to curb tuberculosis and HIV transmission, and a drive to carry on a rich tradition of public health nursing research.
Tudor, a recent Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing doctoral program graduate, likes to think of her role in nursing research as a bridge spanning population-based, public health and individual health care around the world. The travel metaphor is an apt one. While her journey hasn't followed a simple or direct path, the destination has remained clear. Tudor wants to make a difference in the health of large groups of people, particularly in the poorest, least advantaged corners of the world. She first set out—with a public health degree and a bit of wanderlust—for a global health stint with the World Health Organization, primarily in Myanmar.
Working to organize immunization campaigns against polio, measles, and tetanus, and to introduce a hepatitis B vaccine into a nation's immunization program was satisfying. It seemed to be a good path. But 10 years later, at age 38, Tudor revised the itinerary, and with her final destination always in mind, returned to the U.S. to enter the bachelor-of-nursing program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. It was—and remains—a door-opening credential she finds essential when working with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals to control disease through prevention, education, and early intervention.
As a full-time nursing student, Tudor admits that she missed the challenge of working "big" in public health research. Studying and improving the health of entire nations as a whole was where her heart and interest remained. That "eureka" moment, along with the support of nurse research mentors with shared interests, helped spur her to stay in Baltimore for a doctoral degree. Her dissertation research topic was a natural extension of her earlier work with the World Health Organization and her keen interest in infection control and disease prevention, whether through programs of immunizations, patient and health worker education, or improved clinical care.