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Motivated to make a difference, she helped find breakthrough HIV treatments

Ronald D. White writes, "The gig:  From her office on the second floor of the Marion Davies Children's Health Center at UCLA, Dr. Yvonne Bryson works the phones in her role as protocol co-chair for a global health study on treating babies early for HIV infection. 'We have a number of infants enrolled around the world in Africa, South America, the U.S.,' said Bryson, a foremost expert on pediatric AIDS. 'The goal is a cure or remission. I'm also starting a new study on the treatment of adolescents.' Bryson recently stepped down as chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital. Bryson also directed the Los Angeles-Brazil AIDS Consortium, which cares for HIV-infected children, adolescents and pregnant women in Brazil. 

Wall of life: One way of understanding Bryson’s career is to look at a wall in her office. It features a huge photographic collage of children from around the world. All owe their lives to Bryson’s treatment, particularly her pioneering work in using antiviral drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to newborns. 'Usually, they were children I took care of, children with herpes and HIV,' Bryson said. 'I got to watch them live and thrive and have their own babies. They inspire me. Twenty years later and I still hear from them.'

Reaching higher: The term 'glass ceiling' doesn’t adequately describe what Bryson faced in her hometown of Dublin, Ireland, and then attending school in Canada and Texas. Bryson remembers it as a time when “women were told they should be nurses, not doctors. If you wanted glamour, ‘become a stewardess.’ But what the guidance counselors and instructors really wanted you to do was teach.'"


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