Philip Alcabes discusses myths of health, disease and risk.

In Memoriam: A Public Health Exemplar

Megan Charlop, a friend and former student, died yesterday.  She was in the Bronx, bicycling to work, and collided with a bus.

Megan was an exemplar.  She was director for community health at Montefiore Medical Center’s School Health Program, had established lead poisoning prevention programs in Bronx communities, was a founding member of the NY City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning, added a school-based education component to the Hunts Point Asthma Initiative, organized community gardens and helped develop the clean-up of the Bronx River, among many, many other neighborhood health initiatives.  She and her husband Richie were recognized recently by the Rotary Club for taking in three children who had come to the Bronx for heart surgery.

Bronx News Network posted a short obituary, paying tribute to Megan’s community spirit.

Everything Megan did seemed to be about serving, in the most personal of ways:  making people’s lives a little better, reducing suffering a little, making the neighborhood a little less dangerous, cheering people up.  For me, she exemplified what public health could be about:  caring, first of all and most of all; reducing suffering; making an impact among friends and neighbors; and hoping others might be similarly influential.

Megan wasn’t known as a public health “expert.”  She wasn’t a maker of big policy.  She was a maker of many small differences.  That seems precious.  She’s irreplaceable.  It’s a terrible loss.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 7:28 am and is filed under Health Professions, News, public health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “In Memoriam: A Public Health Exemplar”

William Hart RDA says:

Megan was one of the nicest people I have ever met and her passing will be felt by everyone she ever met and even by those she never met. she was a mentor to me at the Hunts Point Asthma Initiative back in 1997 and remained a friend ever since.

Susan J. Schwartz says:

thanks for these beautiful words, Philip. Megan was a twinkling, bright star and beacon for all of us. She taught us about the big picture and about the world and also shared simple small person-to-person moments that had similarly momentous effects.