Herring, Patricia, 1944-
- Existence: 1944-
Patricia Herring, the oldest of eleven children, was born in 1944 in San Diego, California, to Ardis and Dorothy Herring; the family soon moved to Waterloo, Iowa. Ardis Herring worked as an engineer and administrator for John Deere Foundry and Dorothy Herring worked as a domestic engineer. In 1962, Patricia Herring graduated from Columbus High School in Waterloo; afterwards, she entered a convent. While residing with the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she attended Mount Mercy College, where she graduated with a business degree in 1967. She left the convent in 1970. In 1974, she enrolled in the University of Iowa School of Social Work to pursue a master's degree in social work (MSW). During this period, she worked at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa.
Herring was active in the feminist movement throughout the 1970s. While working in Des Moines from 1974 to 1976, Herring was a member of the Des Moines chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She also helped to found a feminist bookstore, A Mind of One's Own.
In 1976, after receiving an MSW from the University of Iowa, Herring moved to Iowa City. In 1978, she began to work at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). She became a social worker early in the AIDS epidemic, when it was unclear how the virus spread and tests to detect the virus had not been developed. Around 1983, Herring became an HIV/AIDS counselor at UIHC. She was an integral part of the UIHC's Virology Clinic, established in 1986. As an AIDS counselor at the only health care facility to provide comprehensive care to Iowans with HIV during the 1980s, Patricia Herring had personal contact with most Iowans who tested positive for HIV.
Patricia Herring's advocacy for persons with HIV/AIDS extended beyond her paid work at the UIHC. During the 1980s, she volunteered at Iowa City's Free Medical Clinic, where she counseled patients who received HIV tests. She was a charter member of the Johnson County AIDS Coalition. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she was active in a number of regional and statewide AIDS organizations, including the Southeast Iowa HIV CARE Consortium, and the Iowa Community AIDS Partnership. Herring became a noted speaker and press contact statewide during the height of the epidemic. She wrote grants, lobbied state legislators, and educated health care professionals about the importance of protecting patients' privacy. Herring was also a member of a number of state and local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) activist groups.
Patricia Herring began to work part-time at the UIHC in 2004, and retired in 2006.