As a researcher, Dr. Bookspan has carried gear up and down the mountains and deserts of India, Nepal, Asia, and Northern Africa, and swam to work in an underwater laboratory and with the Ama of Japan. Advisor to The Discovery Channel and police and military training departments, science officer for the Vidocq international forensic society (the "Spock of Vidocq"), and professor of anatomy at a college in the mountains of Mexico where the entrance exam was getting up there without a nosebleed. Left paralyzed after breaking her back, neck, and most of everything else in an accident, she rehabbed using sports medicine techniques she developed. Harvard clinicians have called her "The St. Jude of the Joints" in her private practice in sports medicine.
Photo by Robert Troia, talented photographer who lost use of one arm. Docs told him he would have to give up photography. I fixed his arm. To thank me he offered to take my picture. He said he'd capture the real me. I thought, "Who could do that?" Besides, at that time, my legs and most torso were paralyzed from an accident and I didn't want anyone to know while I fixed them. He secured me on a post. I was working some interesting lung function equations and looked up to see him on a ladder adjusting camera dials and doing cool photographer brainwork. I was delighted at watching such talent, and he said, "Click!"
My formal education? (My misspent youth):
Undergraduate double science major. Graduated with high honors in three years. Put myself through school working full time at minimum wage scut jobs.
Master's degree in Exercise Physiology. Masters Award for Outstanding Scholarship. GPA 4.0 (out of 4.0 top). How much does that mean? As the Wizard of Oz said, "I can't give you brains, but I can give you a diploma."
Dual Doctorate - Environmental Physiology and Sports Medicine, combined work at Temple University Medical School and the Biokinetics Research Lab, with additional concentration in research, GPA 4.0 (out of 4.0 top). (No one asks your GPA after you graduate.)
Briefly studied mathematics to help me better understand human heat transfer, and because without geometry, life is pointless.
Doctoral Comprehensive exams "Passed With Distinction."
Put myself through school working full time teaching swimming and lifeguarding. Had previously competed in swimming as a national class distance freestyler, two Olympic bids. Back then without scholarships, girls had to quit sports to go to work to be able to go to college.
Then more stuff.
Fellowship - Cold immersion physiology.
Internship - Hyperbaric, hypoxic, and hypercapnic response to rest and exercise, decompression physiology.
Post Doctoral - U Pennsylvania School of Medicine - Altitude decompression at the Institute For Environmental Medicine.
Lived and worked as research physiologist in underwater laboratories called habitats studying human decompression and saturation diving. Wanted to decorate the underwater lab hulls with lots of plastic legs so we could be 20,000 Legs under the Sea. Management didn't like that.
Researcher for the US Navy and Army aerospace, warfare, and medical divisions. Hoo rah.
Even more schooling, degrees, and studies (my misspent youth again)
Labored a year on a Fulbright grant for a blood substitute not needing refrigeration. The project wasn't funded, so after the year I was only a Half-bright.
Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.
Advanced course and degree work - Orthopedic disorders, exercise in injury management, nutrition, wound management, more
Over three dozen accredited certifications in fitness, life support, health, and exercise management of injury.
University professor and instructor of anatomy and physiology, environmental physiology, exercise physiology, statistics, physical training and health, orthopedic and pain rehabilitation in the US and abroad.
Director of seven national and international scuba and medicine conferences (pro bono, but they didn't give me a bone).
Graduated NAUI college as a SCUBA instructor. Taught and led dive education trips in many locations. My scuba students and dive trip participants did underwater tennis, ballroom dancing, drove pedal cars and bicycles underwater, held umbrellas, and did underwater karate to photograph an underwater calendar. Tiny bubbles!
Pioneered putting fitness aboard cruise ships, formerly thought of as only deck chairs and buffets, I led the "sea-change" to adventure and active cruising. I never got the royalties or back pay, but I loved being out to sea.
Helped start the first permanent mooring project for dive boats in the Caribbean, to stop anchor damage to the reefs. Did construction and the diving to place them. Raised funds through donors naming their moor. I named mine Othello. No one got it. Othello The Moor.
4th degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. ow. Competed undefeated in full-contact martial arts. Worked to Muay Thai instructor ranking of Kru Muay and Martial Arts instructor level of Master.
Inducted into the International Black Belt Hall of Fame.
Awarded Master Instructor of the Year 2009 by the International Martial Arts Association.
Inducted into the NAUI scuba instructors Hall of Honor.
Honored with The Humanitarian Award for my work in International Community Health. If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat? I will now be able to officially find out.
Then more stuff, blah, blah.Then I got a life. Then relapsed back to work. I don't know why.
I'm actually an underachiever - I want to do much more. I have fun ideas. A few are on the Projects page. This is just what a poor kid from a bad neighborhood was able to do. DoWop.
"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." - Albert Einstein
Too tall and serious, youngest ever science fair winner age 9.
My high school Varsity Swim Team letter. I was so proud.
Industrious as always at age 2 and a half.
Second from right, sharing a joke with Harpo Marx conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra for The Toy Symphony. I am not short, just age 3, youngest of the small soloists.
I remember the other children and Harpo Marx fondly.
I remember enjoying practicing, at age 1
I was a kid when our house burned in a fire. The only things left were the clothes we wore (or weren't wearing) when we ran outside that early morning. We didn't have windows in January or beds. The walls were black and gaping. Mom took what money was left and replaced the piano. Priorities!
I later got into music school. My Father said he didn't want me to go into music, and I obediently obeyed. Honor your parents!
For years he told his colleagues he didn't know why I quit music. Music and science have corollaries, and I studied a semester or two of acoustics in college. Harmony.
But enough about me. To be continued.
BACK to my Adventure page or Rare Photos of Early Work page (including the paralyzed years).