VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT – Dr. Saadia Griffith-Howard
An infectious disease specialist, Saadia Griffith-Howard, M.D., FIDSA, pursued medicine as a way of helping others. While both of her parents did not have the opportunity to attend college, she learned early on that her talent for science and dedication to her education could be parlayed into a fulfilling career. Initially, her work in infectious diseases didn’t include many chronic patients but rather revolved around travel medicine and common infections in hospitalized patients.
That is, until the HIV epidemic.
When Dr. Griffith-Howard was just starting in her career the medical community was beginning to see the first stages of what would become the HIV epidemic. It was the early 1980s and Dr. Griffith-Howard would spend the next four decades tracking the epidemic, and participating in medicine’s response, as it evolved.
“I’m so lucky to have witnessed the miraculous progress in managing HIV,” shared Dr. Griffith-Howard. “But after four decades of treating patients, educating other health care providers and guiding emergency management practices, while ready to step away from the day-to-day responsibilities, I wasn’t ready to walk away entirely after retirement.”
Today, Dr. Griffith-Howard is a volunteer physician with MAVEN Project, helping to consult on cases all over the country and leading continuing medical education sessions.
“My work with MAVEN Project is a great reason to stay up-to-date on medical knowledge and advances,” she added. “I love being able to contribute to patient care and continue helping providers in any way I can, including leading continuing medical education classes on topics like how to effectively take a sexual history and vaccine updates.”
Dr. Griffith-Howard recently consulted on a case with a pregnant patient who was HIV-positive but not virally suppressed on her medication. Every day matters in the care of an expectant mother and Dr. Griffith-Howard was able to work with her provider to adjust treatment while the patient was waiting to access local HIV specialty care.
A 30-year veteran of medicine, Dr. Griffith-Howard has extensive experience providing direct patient care in the ambulatory and inpatient setting. She has been part of hospital Infection Control and Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committees. At her last employer, Mid Atlantic Permanente Medical Group /Kaiser Permanente she held positions as Chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Director of Medical Specialties. Most recently she completed a ten-year appointment as the Regional Medical Director of Patient Safety, Risk Management and Medical-Legal Affairs, as well as working in Emergency and Disaster Management planning related to the organizational response to anthrax and COVID-19.
Today, Dr. Griffith-Howard enjoys the community that MAVEN Project provides for both frontline providers and volunteers. She also volunteers with her church distributing food to community members and as a reading tutor for elementary school children. She’s an amateur cellist and is also raising honeybees in a local park.