Dana Nakamura
Burn Ambassador
Burn Aftercare and Survivor Outreach Coordinator
Winston Salem, NC
Fun Facts

Dana (pronounced “Donna”) grew up in Hawaii and was part of the world’s largest ukulele band and can play “Stars and Stripes Forever” behind her head. She is an avid reader of burn survivor-written books, and anything by Alice Hoffman and Nicholas Sparks. In her next life, she dreams of being a forensic pathologist. She loves to can pickles and jam, and has dabbled in nearly all the crafty projects imaginable, even organizing craft sales to benefit burn survivors.

Dana’s Burn Injury Journey

Dana has worked with burn patients since 1985. It wasn’t until 2004 that she learned her father had experienced a burn injury while working in a smelting factory during WWII. Early in her career she had planned to major in occupational therapy (OT) and become a special education teacher, but her path changed to focus on OT and psychology after she attended a medical lecture on burn care and rehabilitation. She ended up completing a student internship and then was hired to work at the Level 1 Trauma Center in Seattle, which housed the only burn unit in the Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WAMI) region. Since she started in burn rehabilitation, she has worked at burn centers in Seattle, Winston Salem (North Carolina) and New Orleans. Her journey has offered opportunities to meet and learn from leaders in the burn world, and to become a burn ambassador for the MSKTC.

What does Dana think of the quality, usefulness, and user-friendliness of the MSKTC resources?

The MSKTC resources are well-written, easy to understand, founded on evidence-based practices, and provide practical information to frequently asked questions in burn care. The MSKTC.org website is easy to navigate, and the variety of presentation mediums appeals to all audiences. The translation of information into other languages, with an emphasis on cultural diversity, is appealing for non-English speakers. The regular updates to resources based on current research and treatment practices is greatly appreciated. Rather than completing literature searches and developing my own resource materials, I can conveniently go to the MSKTC website and find just what I am looking for to share with burn survivors/families and burn center staff.

Why does Dana want to be an MSKTC ambassador?

Dana works as a Burn Survivor Aftercare and Outreach Coordinator at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Burn Center. This position was created per the recommendations of the American Burn Association (ABA) Verification Committee to enhance services for burn patients and their families. After treating burn patients for over 38 years, Dana has come full circle in her passion to guide burn survivors/families on their journeys to healing and recovery. Dana started her career as part of the burn therapy team that worked on the Burn Model System center grant in its infancy. Dana learned a great deal about networking and building burn rehab programs and professional connections from the survivor and medical leaders while working at three ABA verified burn centers (in Seattle, Winston Salem, and New Orleans). With her new role as the MSKTC ambassador, she can devote her time and efforts to aftercare programs that further grows vital community partnerships within which the MSKTC can act as a vital resource to those in need.

What has Dana done as an MSKTC ambassador?

Dana has many ideas for disseminating the MSKTC information and resources to burn survivors/ families whom she works with directly, and with professional staff. There are opportunities to share knowledge and influence the learning of others at all levels within the medical center she works from. Dana envisions sharing the MSKTC resources via educational presentations at chapter meetings via partnerships with the burn survivor support groups, fire service personnel and Fire & Life Safety Educators. Requests are granted for ongoing education to learn more about burn survivors/families and support systems, and what the extended burn community can do for these folks on their journeys to healing, recovery and reintegration. As chair of the Southern Medical Association (SMA) Southern Region Burn Rehabilitation Committee, Dana organizes workshops for burn therapy practitioners, which will provide another avenue for dissemination of MSKTC information.