HIV director for the Coastal Health District, Susan Alt, BSN, ACRN, has been named the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board’s Certified Nurse of the Year.
The national award recognizes an AIDS-certified registered nurse (ACRN) who exemplifies excellence in HIV/AIDS nursing and advances the mission of the board. Alt, who has maintained certification in HIV/AIDS nursing since 1997, recently received the award at the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care awards ceremony in Chicago.
Alt, who has been involved in HIV nursing for more than 31 years, started with the Chatham County Health Department’s HIV program in 1989, when there were 40 patients. The program now serves more than 1,300 patients throughout the eight-county Coastal Health District, including Liberty and Long counties.
“Susan’s leadership and guidance has been instrumental in building an HIV program that addresses all the needs of our patients,” Coastal Health District Health Director Diane Weems, M.D., said. “Her commitment to this program and the patients who are part of it has been unwavering from day one. Susan is deeply devoted to making sure that those with HIV get into care, stay in care and get all of the resources they need to live healthy and productive lives.”
Under Alt’s leadership, Coastal was the first public health district in the state to conduct HIV clinical trials. The district is currently engaged in 16 trials, providing opportunities for patients facing the obstacles. She has developed partnerships that have ultimately benefited the patients and community she serves, according to a news release from the district.
Alt has influenced the quality of HIV care throughout Georgia through her contribution on statewide committees and workgroups.
According to the ANAC award recipient description, “Her work on the development of HIV/AIDS nursing protocols helped define HIV/AIDS nursing practice of Georgia public health nurses.”
“The most important things to Susan are preventing the spread of HIV and making sure that those living with HIV are treated not only medically but also with respect and compassion,” Weems said. “She is most deserving of this recognition, and all of us at the Coastal Health District are incredibly proud of her accomplishments.”