Program Director; MIMI (Mentally Ill and Medically Ill)
Residential Program, North Suffolk Mental Health Association
Beriline Akwe’s desire to advocate for the disadvantaged in society spurred her to pursue a career in healthcare. Upon graduating from nursing school in 2004, Beriline was frustrated by bedside nursing because there was great need that could not be satisfied through curative medical approaches. Beriline began to wonder how she could be instrumental in influencing positive change in health policy and extant practices such that ALL people are equitably accorded the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life. This led Beriline to pursue further studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. While receiving a BA in Community Health and Sustainability, she secured a grant in 2013 from the Commonwealth Honors Program to conduct independent research in social determinants of health in Cameroon, Africa. In 2016, through the Masters in Public Health program, Beriline continued her research to study integrative care between psychiatric and medical services at the North Suffolk Mental Health Association. The past eight years Beriline has worked with adults with co-occurring mental and medical disorders, mostly as a liaison between patients and their providers. During this time, it became clear to her that there is a dire need for care providers to reframe healthcare service delivery as a collaborative approach in which the patient’s care demands do not supersede their capacities. In effect, Beriline decided to expand her career by continuing her education to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice (Family Practice, still in training).