DIS Reflections from STD Engage 2020 – LaToya Wingate, North Carolina
A blog featuring LaToya Wingate, a DIS with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. LaToya was one of the DIS Engage scholarship winners from STD Engage 2020.
LaToya Wingate, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
February 5, 2021
What did you enjoy most about STD Engage?
I enjoyed listening to the various speakers and particularly those that spoke about how to counsel patients when they are being diagnosed. It’s important to have empathy and also provide the information the patient needs to move forward with what their next steps should be. The conference had very knowledgeable and insightful speakers that were able to connect with the audience even in the virtual world.
What’s something you learned at STD Engage that you plan to put into practice in your work?
I learned how to be more conversational. For us DIS, asking questions is part of our jobs. For patients, it can be or feel intrusive. Proceeding with caution, while acknowledging your patients’ feelings, can have a positive impact on the interview as a whole.
In light of your work experience and what you learned at STD Engage, what do you think are the biggest challenges faced by DIS?
The stress and workload that can come with the position is the biggest challenge. Prioritizing is a must as a DIS. It’s also important to not allow the stress to get the best of you. Being a DIS is challenging in itself, however, knowing that you can leave a positive, lasting impact on peoples’ lives can make it rewarding.
I’m LaToya Wingate, a DIS in Region II- Charlotte for North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Communicable Disease Branch. The branch I work for specializes in newly diagnosed HIV patients and patients that have contracted syphilis or been exposed to it. I have been a DIS for seven months and have enjoyed the experience. Prior to this position, I worked at Novant Health in Pediatric Neurology and Sleep as a referral coordinator. That was a challenging yet rewarding job with the young ones. I have an associate degree in Human Services and currently in school for my bachelor’s degree in Public Health. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my seven-year-old daughter, hiking, reading poetry, and lying on the beach.
Full list of NCSD and NACCHO DIS scholarship recipients here