“I believe it is the work I was meant to do,” says registered dietitian Ginger Bouvier about her 18-year career in the field of HIV/AIDS care.
Bouvier works at the NO/AIDS Task Force, a non-profit agency in New Orleans that serves people with HIV/AIDS, providing medical nutrition therapy to patients at the Primary Medical Care clinic. Bouvier also serves as a consultant for the agency’s food pantry and home-delivered meals programs.
At the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bouvier was working at a downtown HIV outpatient program run by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (Charity Hospital), serving HIV-positive indigent individuals. Many of Bouvier’s patients were among those trapped in the city in the aftermath of the storm. The clinic was temporarily relocated to Baton Rouge and reopened in downtown New Orleans two months later. Unlike most clinics, its facility was intact enough to return to its original location.
Bouvier has found great reward in volunteering work with several organizations working to rebuild her hometown, noting that one role that she particularly enjoyed was preparing meals for volunteers who gutted the flooded houses.
“As a native New Orleanian, my post-Katrina life is very different from my pre-Katrina life, particularly regarding my family, since so many of my family members left the city and the state as a result of the flooding,” Bouvier says. “My experiences in 2005 forced me to look at my life differently, and helped me be a stronger and more compassionate person.”