For as long as I can remember, I loved putting pen to paper, never dreaming that one day it would provide my livelihood. That was, however, to be far in the future. First I studied chemistry, worked as a biochemist, married, and became a mother. Eventually I wrote and published my first book,Fighting the Unseen: The Story of Viruses (1967). I have been writing ever since.
After my first book was published, Columbia University School of Journalism awarded me a Sloan Science Writing Fellowship. Thereafter I became the science editor of the Arthritis Foundation, creating a newsletter, organized press conferences, and wrote press releases, press kits, and a documentary film for the pharmaceutical industry.
Mostly I wrote books. Exploring the Mind: Man’s Search for Mental Health (1968) was a Juvenile Literary Guild Selection. Conception, Contraception: A New Look (1975) addressed birth control and population issues for young adults long before this topic was freely discussed in schools. I am skilled at explaining complicated topics in simple terms and was gratified when Why Can’t We Have a Baby? An Authority Looks at the Causes and Cures of Childlessness (1978, with Albert Decker, M.D.) was a great success. The Nurse’s Drug Handbook (with George Spratto, M.D., and Estelle Heckheimer, R.N. 1978–1997, 7 editions, totaling more than 350,000 copies) is a text/reference book used throughout the world and made a major contribution to the safe administration of prescription and OTC drugs. I used my expertise in rheumatic diseases to create The Columbia Presbyterian Osteoarthritis Handbook (1996, 1997, with Ronald P. Grelsamer, M.D.) and The Hospital for Special Surgery Rheumatoid Arthritis Handbook (2001, with Stephen A. Paget, M.D., and Michael D. Lockshin, M.D.).
More recently I turned to another expertise: Art, which also is my escape, solace and inspiration. America’s Art Museums: A Traveler’s Guide to Great Collections Big and Small (2002) delves into the history and growth of 160 leading art museums.
Writers can't help delving into their own lives. Mine resulted in: The Mothers’ Group: Of Love, Loss and AIDS chronicles the lives of mothers and their fatally ill children at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. It is also a memoir to my son David, who did not let his illness dim his exuberance.
At the Mercy of Strangers: Growing Up on the Edge of the Holocaust (1997) draws upon a diary I kept as a hidden child in Belgium during World War II. The book was the 1998 Best Book for the Teen Age choice of the New York Public Library, and in 2006 was translated Into German under the name: Der Endlose Krieg.
The Wish Ring (1997, illustrated by Thomas Sperling), a children’s book based on an old German fairy tale, takes me back to my own childhood. Dedicated to my son and grandchildren, this book was the 1997 First Prize Winner of the Small Press Association of America.
I write for a variety of audiences including the general public, young adults, physicians and patients. As a coauthor and ghostwriter, I enjoy working with other experts and translating their ideas and research into easily readable prose. In addition to books, I write and coauthor press kits, patient education materials, pamphlets, scientific papers, films, and speeches. I also lecture extensively in schools, synagogues, churches and libraries, for groups large and small, on my survival as a hidden child during the Holocaust and on America’s art museums. To learn more about my books,lectures, newsletter, services, and latest projects, please explore my website.
I am a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, National Association of Science Writers, Authors League, and am listed in Who’s Who of American Women.