Editor’s note: McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living are profiling the McKnight’s 2022 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 5 through Aug. 10. For additional McKnight’s Women of Distinction content, visit this page.

The personal responsibility Christina Harris feels for the well-being and happiness of residents not only is documented by the appreciation of her colleagues; it also is demonstrated time and time again through her actions.

Harris, who is regional clinical director at Bethesda, MD-based Meridian Senior Living, had her passion put to the ultimate test early in the pandemic during an outbreak at one of Meridian’s communities.

When a resident who had just lost her husband to COVID-19 received a COVID diagnosis not long after, Harris empathized with the resident’s sadness in quarantine like no other. With the resident left to grieve her husband’s loss in isolation, Christina took it upon herself to be there for the resident and dressed in full personal protective equipment and laid down next to her, listening to her story while providing comfort and consolation. Taking all the necessary precautions, Harris helped this person through a very difficult and lonely time.

And time and time again, the humble servitude of Harris has been tried and proved true.

During the pandemic, she was first on site, visiting every resident who had tested positive for COVID-19, going from building to building to console residents, keep staff from quitting and help stop outbreaks in their tracks.

During a separate outbreak, a community that had kept the virus completely out for roughly eight months began seeing residents test positive for COVID-19. Many of the staff members and residents were panicking, and in response, Harris booked a plane that night without hesitation and headed across the country to help.

“Christina always helps others over herself,” said colleague Kevin Carlin, the organization’s Principal and chief security officer. “She has never hesitated when things got tough.” 

Described as the best infection control nurse at Haskell by Carlin, Harris is a “true Super Woman” in the eyes of her colleagues.

Carlin said that from the first moment he met her, he knew “this was someone who was going to have an impact in senior living.”

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Home Care, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors include OnShift and PharMerica, and the Bronze sponsor is Reliant Rehabilitation. Table sponsors included Dreamscape, Gojo/Purell and Sound Physicians.