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Annemarie Hirsch

School nurse Annemarie Hirsch shows off the five furry finger-puppets she uses to help grade-schoolers with their vaccinations. One of two RNs with the Bethel School District, Hirsch divides her time between Danebo, Fairfield, and Malabon Elementary, Cascade Middle, Willamette High, and Calapooya Alternative High Schools. "I try to go to each school one day a week," she says. "I'm really busy." Hirsch grew up just outside Oslo, Norway, then moved, at age 18, to a commune near Crow, Oregon. She got a nursing degree from LCC in 1980 and worked in several departments at Sacred Heart before returning to school for a bachelor's and certification as a school nurse. She started work for the Bethel District in 1998. "I work with students and families who have health issues," Hirsch says. "I'm an advocate for students in terms of getting medical care." She also trains school staff to care for students with health problems or severe disabilities. "Each year I do a special public-health project," she adds. "Last year it was asthma management -- 10% of kids have asthma. This year I'm targeting the obesity epidemic."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 7 October 2004

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