Volunteer Spotlight: Shelly Zappas

Volunteer Spotlight: Shelly Zappas

Tell us about your professional/educational background.
My name is Shelly Zappas. I am a family nurse practitioner with over a decade of primary care experience in busy clinics in New York City and Los Angeles. I am currently a professor and the program director for the MSN-FNP program at the University of Southern California, in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in the Department of Nursing.

What makes the National CMV Foundation's mission powerful for you?
About a year and a half ago my daughter was diagnosed with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. She was 2 years old. With this diagnosis we were able to determine that the hearing loss is secondary to congenital CMV when I was pregnant with her.

What made you decide to get more involved with the National CMV Foundation, as a Community Alliance Chair?
My daughter’s diagnosis was missed for over two years. This has made me passionate about raising awareness about CMV to not only pregnant women and families, but also the providers caring for the community. This is now one of my primary passions.

In your role as CMV Community Alliance Chair, what goals have you set for 2022?
My goals are to present at the California Association of Nurse Practitioners (CANP) 2022 conference about pediatric hearing loss, paying particular attention to CMV. I hope to write a journal article on congenital CMV as well. I also plan to meet my fundraising goals for this year.

What does success look like to you?
Success is accomplishing my goals and my children being happy and healthy.

What motivates you?
My kids motivate me.

As a volunteer leader, what advice do you have for people who want to work on CMV advocacy, but don’t know where to start?
Reach out to people! Make connections.

Favorite quote?
When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate, when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.

What do you like most about living in Los Angeles?
What don’t I like about living in LA? Oh wait, the traffic. But I love the weather, the beach, the diversity, the food, and the vibes.

You're happiest when?
I’m playing with my children.