From 2001 to 2008, Ms. Ambrose became the program director for Children's Adolescent Trials Network and its Adolescent HIV Initiative. Her responsibilities included grant-writing, budget preparation, leading all clinical and case management, and educating the public about HIV.
Despite having cancer, Ms. Ambrose kept working until September. "She's a fighter, my sister," said Anne Marie Ambrose, Philadelphia human services commissioner.
Born in Detroit, Ms. Ambrose graduated from Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich., and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Michigan State University. She completed a master's degree in social work at Temple University in 1989.
Ms. Ambrose believed in peace, love, and kindness, and her career choice, helping vulnerable preteens, reflected those values.
In the later 1980s, Ms. Ambrose moved to Philadelphia and worked counseling victims of sexual assault and their families.
"Those were kids with major, major problems. She was pretty terrific," said her sister.
Before moving to Children's, she was a case manager for families at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia, now Hahnemann University Hospital.
She taught at Temple University's School of Social Administration in 2001 and 2002. She wrote and lectured widely.
In private life, she enjoyed travel. She, her mother and her sisters went on an annual getaway for a week's reading and card playing.
Ms. Ambrose never married. She has a daughter, Zoey Ambrose Peterson.
"Chrissy's joy came from spending time on adventures with her daughter," her family said in a tribute. "They spent lots of quality time together at Sea Isle City, and climbing trees."
Surviving, besides her daughter, are her parents, John and Patricia; a brother; four sisters; 15 nieces and nephews; and her daughter's father, Steve Peterson.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 109 E. Price St. Burial is private.
A school is to be built in Nicaragua in her name. Donations may be made via http://act.buildon.org/fundraise?fcid=291709.