Some people live by the adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ When Dr. Adewunmi (Ade) Nuga looks at the world she asks a different question: could we make this even better?
“One of my research areas was retroviruses, which is the class of virus that HIV belongs to. I wanted to understand why patients with HIV can’t stop taking the medications to treat it, even when they’ve taken those medications for decades. Where is the virus hiding in the body?”
Advances in medications mean patients with HIV can now expect to live an average lifespan, but that wasn’t good enough for Dr. Nuga. She hopes her research into bone marrow stem cells will contribute to a cure.
“Only two people in the world are confirmed to have been cured of HIV, and both of them received a stem cell transplant as part of their treatment,” she says.
Coordinating your care
HIV treatment is not yet part of Dr. Nuga’s practice, but as a primary care physician she coordinates with specialists and ensures her patients receive comprehensive care for the best possible outcomes. Since people living with HIV can expect to live an average lifespan, they need to continue caring for other aspects of their health in addition to HIV care — cancer screenings, mental health, and other ongoing primary care.
Think of Dr. Nuga as your health care quarterback: calling plays and adapting strategies on the fly to develop a treatment plan that works for you. That may mean adjusting doses to your weight and age, but it could also mean adjusting referrals to accommodate your culture, social class or even access to transportation.
“I want to address the barriers to care and deliver healthcare to everyone that needs it, regardless of their status. The resources at PacMed are a big help — I can coordinate with care managers and community health liaisons to make sure nobody falls through the cracks,” she says.
Dr. Nuga loves taking care of patients of all ages, life stages and social situations, and she has a soft spot for children.
“There’s a special privilege that comes with taking care of babies from the first day of life,” she says, and she hopes to have more opportunities to practice pediatrics.
Another way Dr. Nuga hopes to improve healthcare? With better representation throughout the system so patients see themselves in health care professionals — from patient care to management.
“I’m hoping to get involved with the Providence mentorship program, to help inspire the next generation. The number of physicians from some minority groups hasn’t changed since 1978 —it’s kind of astounding that over 40 years we haven’t been able to increase representation,” she says. “If we improve access to care we make the environment better for everyone.”
Dr. Nuga’s pediatric and internal medicine practice is open to people of all ages, from newborns to geriatrics. Make an appointment with Dr. Nuga for you or your child by calling 425-412-7200 or booking online. Find Dr. Nuga at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Canyon Park, 1909 214th St. SE, in Bothell.