Stephanie's Heroes: Dyan Aretakis

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

July 29, 2013

From routine checkups to mental health assessments, a local nurse practitioner is making a difference in teen health. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes CBS19's Stephanie Satchell is featuring Dyan Aretakis who helped start the UVa Teen Health Center years ago and is still working to keep teens healthy.

For Dyan Aretakis, the UVa Teen Health Center in Charlottesville is almost like a second home.

"I think if you ask anyone who works at the Teen Health Center why they're here, we would tell you first and foremost we love working with teens. We love their energy, feel very connected to them and get a lot of positives back. It's just such an important area to work in," said Dyan Aretakis, Family Nurse Practitioner, UVa Teen Health Center.

She's been at the UVa Teen Health Center since the beginning and in 2012 she helped the center celebrate 21 years of service. Aretakis says it's a service that is greatly needed for teens in the community.

"In an ideal world teens would always use their parents as their first and most important resource, but there are some really tricky issues that come up and I think it's very hard for parents sometimes to hear those things. So, I think it's very good for teens to have a place that is adolescent centered and adolescent friendly," said Aretakis.

From vision screenings to routine checkups, she treats young patients for variety or health issues and concerns.

"While we screen for serious illness in adolescents we spend a huge amount of time helping to identify risk behaviors and change behaviors," said Aretakis.

She also addresses health concerns online. If teens are a little apprehensive about coming in for an exam, they can submit anonymous questions on the UVa Teen Health website and she will respond.

According to her co-workers and some patients, the family nurse practitioner is more than just a healthcare provider.

"She does have that gift of going above and beyond of giving advice whether it's your future or relationship or whether it's family or something with mental health going on, she has that ability to have teens listen," said Ruth Cowan, UVa Teen Health Center.

Although some call her a hero, Aretakis doesn't think so.

"I feel very good about what I do just like everybody that I work with here, but I don't believe that I'm a hero. I've just found the perfect place for me to do my job and to give something back to our community and the young people.

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