College of Nursing

Allison Varga James

By Emily Dougall

Allison Varga James graduated from BYU in August 1993. She worked at Tuscon Medical Center in the pediatrics department for 1 year prior to serving in the New York Utica mission from 1994-1996. Upon returning from her mission, she worked in the Intensive Care Nursery at Phoenix Children's Hospital (Phoenix, AZ) from 1996-2001 and became a bereavement counselor, providing follow-up to families whose babies had died in the nursery.
Allison has also managed a Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for birth defect surveillance for the Arizona Department of Health Services starting in 2001. She became very involved with promoting folic acid intake among women of childbearing age for neural tube defect prevention and helping families of children born with birth defects get connected with community and government services.

In 2003, she became the manager of the Arizona Birth Defects Monitoring Program and served in that role until 2007, when she gave birth to her first child. She concurrently served as conference planning committee co-chair for the National Birth Defects Prevention Network.

Allison has had three children and has been home taking care of them since 2007. Her second son, Ian, died in the summer of 2010 in a drowning accident. Since his death, she has been working with the CEO of a new Children's Hospital in Arizona to encourage the hospital to develop better protocols for supporting families whose children die in the emergency room. She has been asked to be an advisor on a committee organized to write this protocol.