Awards in 1997-2002 for annual reports and video
1997 Finalist for breast self-exam video
1997 Rose Kushner Award for breast self-exam video
1998 Award of Distinction in Medical Education for Memorial Sloan Kettering Annual Report
2009 Gold Award Winner for Memorial Sloan Kettering Wellness Program newsletter
2011 Gold Award for Memorial Sloan Kettering Benefits Program newsletter
2012 Gold Awards for MSKLife issues on Veterans and the CEO Cancer Gold Standard designation
2017 Gold Award for Hospital for Special Surgery HealthConnection newsletter
2012 Award of Excellence for Memorial Sloan Kettering March 2012 employee newsletter
President, Foster Medical Editorial, Inc.
The year was 1974. A 12-year-old girl in Demarest, New Jersey was trekking through the woods near her school with the rest of her 7th grade biology class. The teacher, a folksy gray-haired gentleman, was helping the class identify trees when he realized he had forgotten his pocket tree guide back at school. Seizing an opportunity to impress the charming instructor, the eager girl pulled the same guide out of her back pocket, modestly exclaiming, "You can use mine, Mr. Grossman."
That girl was me (yes, I could be a kiss-up, especially when it came to science class), and I still have that book. Today I think back to those early days when my love for science began to bud, ultimately blossoming into the career I have today. The high school and college years that followed my middle school experience would be punctuated by science fairs, cat dissections, histology and genetics classes, and chemistry labs. I had every intention of becoming a doctor, perhaps a pediatrician.
The journey was not entirely smooth, however. While I had excelled in high school science, I was so challenged by organic chemistry at the University of Rochester that I had to take it twice. I did not gain admission to any of the medical schools to which I applied. But I was not upset when I received no fewer than 22 rejection letters — nor was I dismayed by the reality of not becoming a doctor — so perhaps it was not where I was headed all along.
Like many medical writers, I "fell into the field" unexpectedly, working at a biomedical database starting in 1984. One thing led to the next: graduate school as a Shell Fellow in New York University's Science and Environmental Reporting Program in 1988; Senior Editor in the Public Affairs Department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (the first of my hospital clients) in 1992; departure from the security of a full-time job to freelance so I could be closer to my family after my son was born in 1999; and ultimately the creation of my own S-corporation, Foster Medical Editorial, Inc., in 2010.
Along the way, I have written for most of New York City's major academic medical centers, won awards for print materials and video scripts, been intrigued by the inspiration and drive of hundreds of doctors and scientists from across the country and around the world, and marveled at the strength of patients and families dealing with serious medical issues. I may not have become a physician, but I can hope that I have helped people improve their health through the print, video, and web projects I have produced — either by educating them to live healthier lives, or linking them with the medical professionals they needed to get better.
The journey may not have been what I was expecting. But it took me exactly where I was supposed to go. Looking back, I wouldn't change a single step.