Family Nurse Practitioner with Doctorate Degree Joins Gifford

Christina Harlow

Christina Harlow

A nurse practitioner with advanced degrees and diverse experience has joined Gifford Health Care’s family practice in Randolph.

Family nurse practitioner Christina Harlow holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Colorado Mesa University, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson and a doctor of nursing practice degree from the same institution.

She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a member of the American Nurses Association, and has experience in emergency medicine, psychiatrics and more.

A native of Wisconsin, Harlow’s first career was as a mountain bike guide and a river guide in Utah and West Virginia. During that time, however, Harlow lost a brother to mental illness. Looking to her future, she knew she needed a more stable career. The loss of her brother struck an interest in better understanding depression and anxiety.

She went to nursing school and worked internationally as a volunteer in Honduras and Northern India and in the United States as a psychiatric registered nurse, then in specialty and inpatient care and finally in an emergency room. “I wanted to be more well-rounded, because psych is everywhere,” she says of her diverse experience.

She went on to nurse practitioner school and then took the extra step to earn her doctorate in the field.

She worked as an emergency department nurse practitioner in Colorado and as an adjunct professor at Adam’s State University, before deciding to move to Vermont with her family.

Her husband, Dr. Nathaniel Harlow, grew up in Vermont and wanted to be closer to family here.

The couple both joined Gifford – him as a sports medicine provider at the Sharon Health Center and her as a family medicine nurse practitioner in Randolph, where she is looking forward to getting to know her patients and providing well-rounded care.

“I wanted more than just a passing relationship with my patients,” she notes of her emergency department work. “I am really interested in continuity of care.”

In Harlow, patients will find a highly-educated, compassionate caregiver and open communicator.

“Being a nurse first, I have open communication with my patients. I nurse to my patients,” she says. “I like to focus on health. Your health is your wealth.”

“I also really embrace a holistic perspective,” she says, noting she considers a patient’s emotional and spiritual well-being in addition to more common inquiries about diet and exercise.

Harlow’s specific clinical interests include preventative care, women’s health, holistic care and mental illness. As a family nurse practitioner, she treats all ages as well as both men and women.

In her free time, Harlow – a competitive mountain biker, road cyclist, adventure racer, distance runner and climber – enjoys travel and the outdoors. She and her husband are currently living in Brookfield with their young daughter, Juliana, 1.

Harlow is seeing new patients. Call Gifford’s central scheduling line at 728-2777 to make an appointment with Harlow.

Living Well with Bipolar Disorder

Gifford offering bipolar education and recovery group

bipolar disorderRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center mental health practitioner Cory Gould will lead a bipolar psychoeducation and recovery group called “Living Well with Bipolar Disorder” Sept. 16 through Nov. 18.

The group will be held Mondays over 10 weeks from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital Conference Center. It will offer group support, education, coping skills, help developing a support system and self-understanding.

Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological brain illness characterized by extremes of mood, anxiety, thought and behavior. Manic-depression is an older term for bipolar disorder and refers to the classic episodes of manic highs and depressive lows.

The latest research on bipolar disorder emphasizes it as a cycling illness. Gould points to a Web site by author and bipolar patient John McManamy dedicated to the disorder. “What we call bipolar is an enormously complex illness … . Simply knowing that we have ups and downs is not sufficient. What we need to know is how these ups and downs relate, what is driving them and what else is interacting with the dynamic,” McManamy writes.

Bipolar disorder is thought to affect 2-3 percent of the American population, although some expert researchers think the figure is closer to 5 percent. Equal numbers of men and women are affected.

Typically, the first episode occurs in the teens or early 20s. But bipolar disorder can also begin in childhood. Fortunately, kids respond to treatment and can lead normal lives – just like adults with the illness – when it is managed optimally, Gould notes.

“Knowledge is power. Learning everything you can is essential to recovery,” Gould says. “We now have many more tools to help people with bipolar disorder.”

There is a fee to attend. Insurance is accepted. Sign-up by calling Gould at 728-7100, ext. 7. A brief screening interview is required for all participants.

The Gifford Conference Center is on the first floor of the medical center. From patient parking, take the stairs under the green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center. The group meets in the Markle Room.