After years of caring for the homeless in the streets and dilapidated motels of Richmond, Virginia, nurse Josephine Ensign became homeless herself.
Many of her patients were prostitutes—some as young as 15—and her conscience no longer allowed her to adhere to her clinic’s policies. Though she was Christian, she was fired for referring many of these women for abortions, for not making AIDS patients “account for their sins” before they died, and “no longer being a Christian woman with a humble and teachable spirit.”
Ensign, now a professor in UW’s School of Nursing and adjunct professor in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, recounts her work with homelessness, her “Skid Road” project, and the importance of the field of humanities in addressing this complex challenge. Ensign is also the co-PI of the Doorway Project.
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