Christine Ambrose, program manager at Children's Hospital

Christine M. Ambrose
Christine M. Ambrose
Posted: January 15, 2014

Christine Marie Ambrose, 49, of Narberth, a program manager at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who helped adolescents learn to live with HIV, died Monday, Jan. 6, of metastatic lung cancer at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.

Starting in 1997, as an adolescent social worker at Children's, Ms. Ambrose managed the cases of 55 HIV-infected youngsters and their families.

She did individual and family therapy and home visits, and tried to help patients establish a life direction while dealing with the virus. When appropriate, she directed them to participate in research studies.

In 2000, she became lead social worker in Children's adolescent division, focusing on the Adolescent HIV Initiative. The initiative is a system of clinical care, research, and prevention for at-risk or HIV-infected youths. She supervised other case managers and helped steer adolescents towards clinical studies.

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



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