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Hot 20 2011: Nadine Burke Harris, Center for Youth Wellness CEO and Bayview Child Health Center founding physician

The Healer
Nadine Burke Harris, 35
Center for Youth Wellness CEO and Bayview Child Health Center founding physician
Photographed by Robyn Twomey at Bayview Child Health Center

Nadine Burke Harris’s 12-hour workday starts when she begins seeing patients at the Bayview Child Health Center and checking labs and X-ray results. Then before dinner with her husband, Arno, she walks down the street in her favorite Camilla Skovgaard heels or Vera Wang 5-inch booties to the Center for Youth Wellness, where she is CEO. “I’ve always been a heel wearer, always,” says Burke Harris. “I wore heels to my sixth grade graduation, and probably my mom shouldn’t have let me do that.” The Center for Youth Wellness, a clinic that houses pediatricians, social workers, and therapists, focuses on how exposure to adversity greatly affects children’s physical, emotional, and psychological health. “We’re bringing together all of the best resources under one roof so that families have access to all of these services, at no charge,” she says. “I’m trying to bring Pac Heights service to the Bayview because every family deserves that.” Her days are long and often heart-breaking. So she tries to keep things in perspective. “I go for long walks, I meditate, but I also use it as motivation,” she says. “I’ll have just sat with a patient who’s experienced something really horrible, and I come home at the end of the day and think to myself, ‘How do I stop that from happening again?’ That’s what gets me up at five o’clock in the morning.”

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