Substance Use Navigator

Katie Quijada

Driven by her commitment to enhancing the well-being of individuals with substance use disorders, Katie brings a compassionate and empathetic approach to her role as a Substance Use Navigator. In the UCI Emergency Department, she plays a crucial role in guiding and assisting patients in their journey toward recovery by providing them with additional counseling and connecting them with important resources. Katie loves hearing patients' stories and recognizes that there are so many people from different walks of life being impacted by this epidemic. By actively listening to patients and understanding their unique experiences, she finds immense reward in being a part of their journey toward rising above their circumstances and embracing a safer and healthier life.

In addition to her work in the Emergency Department, Katie provides additional support to other departments in the hospital including the OB/GYN department She provides invaluable support to new mothers facing substance use disorders. She is dedicated to helping these mothers find the necessary resources and assistance to address their substance use, with the ultimate goal of enabling them to retain custody of their newborns. Through her compassionate guidance and advocacy, Katie empowers these mothers to overcome their challenges and create a nurturing and stable environment for their children.

In her spare time, Katie is working toward a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from University of Minnesota. She also enjoys trying different restaurants in Orange County, going on road trips, gardening, spending time with her friends, husband and three cats, playing jazz trombone, and watching new TV shows and movies.

Katie Quijada is a dedicated Substance Use Navigator in the UCI Emergency Department. Katie holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science with a focus on Community Health Education from Sacramento State University. During her time at Sacramento State, she pursued an internship as a Peer Health Educator, where she delivered informative classroom presentations on sexual health to students. This experience sparked her passion for disease prevention and inspired her to make a positive impact in the field.

Following her graduation, Katie joined a syringe exchange program, which exposed her to the multitude of challenges faced by individuals with substance use disorders. This eye-opening experience shed light on the significant social barriers disproportionately affecting this population. Through her work, she gained valuable experience in collaborating with and supporting individuals with substance use disorders. Katie frequently visited homeless encampments, distributing Narcan to those at high risk and educating them about overdose prevention and disease control. Recognizing the importance of community involvement, she also supplied Narcan to nearby shop owners, equipping them with the tools to assist in case of an overdose.