Linnea Joffe-Nelson, BSN, RN, MA is the recipient of the 2022 Isabel McIssac Scholarship, an award designated for master’s degree candidates in honor of Isabel McIssac, the first chairperson of the original memorial fund for Isabel Hampton Robb. This scholarship recognizes the student with the highest evaluation score in the master’s applicant group.
Linnea received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and Women’s & Gender Studies from Beloit College. She then served in the United States Peace Corps in a rural Guatemalan community supporting students, teachers, and parents. Using a life skills curriculum promoting healthy adolescent development, Linnea engaged in classroom teaching, teacher training, community events, and parent workshops, as well as the development of sustainable curriculum materials. Linnea also worked to promote the engagement and attendance of rural adolescent females who are severely underrepresented in secondary education in Guatemala. Following the Peace Corps, Linnea worked as a teacher for kids with profound autism before attending Boston College where she completed a Master of Arts in counseling psychology. She then worked as a clinical research specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital in a developmental cognitive neurophysiology lab where she managed clinical research related to cognitive, social and emotional regulation, and behavioral development in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as mental illness. Linnea attended MGH Institute of Health Professions to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing at MGH in the psychiatric-mental-health nurse practitioner track.
Throughout nursing school, Linnea continues to work on clinical research projects at Boston Children’s Hospital, related to improving early identification of developmental disorders and mental illness. Linnea works on projects using EEG neuroimaging methods, and the measurement of behavioral phenotypes for patients at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. Additionally she delivers an evidenced-based intervention to young children with neurodevelopmental disorders that targets emotional and behavioral regulation, communication, and social engagement. Linnea also volunteers with the Peace Corps World Wise Schools program where she brings her experiences in Guatemala to local classrooms and community organizations. Linnea hopes to have a career that is focused on the treatment of children and adolescents, particularly those with acute or severe presentations of mental illness. Through her current clinical work, Linnea has observed the shortage of psychiatric providers available to children and adolescents and the degree to which psychiatric symptoms can worsen when treatment is delayed due to a lack of access to appropriate interventions. Linnea has a particular interest in addressing health disparities related to lack of access among underserved populations, and the intersection of distressing mental illness symptoms, under-supported environments, and the complicated sequelae of a worsening illness course.
Linnea chose to pursue a career in advanced practice nursing in order to provide evidenced based treatment modalities that are able to address the specific needs of children and adolescents, and their environments. Utilizing her advanced practice nursing education and clinical experience, along with her background in the promotion of underserved communities, and her understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of mental illness, she hopes to work as a clinician and educator for future advanced practice nurses specializing in children and adolescents in an effort to address the shortage of psychiatric providers.
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