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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Monday, March 21, 2016

International society honors retirement community resident

The award was a surprise to Sandy because it usually goes to a member of the organization. As the society’s executive officer for its first four years, she played a key role in its development. While she was working as an administrative officer for the American Society of Investigative Pathology, “a group of people turned up one day and described the fact that they would like to form a society with us providing the management,” Sandy says. “It was a small group, and I don’t think people took it very seriously, but it got handed to me.”

Fewer than 100 people attended the first meeting of ISBER. Now the society, which is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is a global organization with six international subdivisions and members from government, academia and industry. Sandy will receive her award April 8 during the society’s 2016 annual meeting.

Sandy was born in New York City. Growing up in Queens, she knew after reading Paul de Kruif’s classic work Microbe Hunters at age 12 that she wanted to be a doctor.

“It got me really interested in medical research,” she says.

She was graduated from Radcliffe College and New York University School of Medicine before completing her internship and residency in pathology and research at Bellevue Hospital. She continued her career with a mixture of clinical and research efforts that included work on breast cancer precursor lesions, early application of FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization) techniques to fixed tissue sections and the uses of chromosomal changes as markers of cancer progression. She taught, and ran a diagnostic lab at NYU, for over 20 years.

After her children were grown, Sandy and her husband decided it was time to do something new. For the next seven years, she did diagnostic work and research at the Michigan Cancer Foundation and Wayne State University in Detroit. After she gave a talk at a small biotech company in Gaithersburg, Md., Sandy accepted a job as medical director of the company, where she worked for three years. She then taught at the medical schools of George Washington University and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. Sandy’s prestigious resume also includes chair of the NYU Faculty Council, service on the governing board of the American Association for Cancer Research, and president of Women in Cancer Research and of the Cell Kinetics Society.

Sandy and her husband started thinking about their retirement living options in 2009. They met with a geriatric social worker, who told them about continuing care retirement communities like Ingleside at Rock Creek. “Friends and advisors said don’t wait until you have to do it,” she says. “Move before you need to.”

“We wanted to be in a place where it was still possible to travel downtown when we got to the point where we wouldn’t be able to drive. We had several dinners here and found the people delightful and interesting.”

After four years of living at Ingleside at Rock Creek, they still do.

“The people are the biggest draw” Sandy says. “You can sit down at a table with a total stranger, and most of the time you’ll have an interesting, thought-provoking conversation. That has become the most important reason for living here.”


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