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 (min wage then hovered around $2 - two dollars - an hour ).
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."
Put myself through school working full time teaching swimming and lifeguarding, at a pool and a beach in a small red swimsuit. Back then without scholarships, girls had to quit sports to go to work to be able to go to college. Had previously competed in swimming as a national class distance freestyler, two Olympic bids - all AAU - you wouldn't take a dime back then, sponsorship wasn't considered real athletics.
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."
Took EMT training (Emergency Medical Technician) with the Philadelphia Fire Department. Had to climb ladders and stairs a lot.
Then more stuff.
Fellowship, Cold immersion physiology. Fellowship, Altitude decompression. I was awarded two University Fellowships and one Presidential Fellowship - "Jolie's a Jolly Good Fellow!" I still swept floors to pay the rent and wrote grants to rent a lab and chamber time; what the grants didn't cover, I swept more floors.
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.
Studied several Hyperbaric Chamber Technician certification courses.
Researcher for the US Navy and Army aerospace, warfare, and medical divisions. Hoo ah.
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, First graduating class.
Advanced Wilderness Life Support Course (AWLS).
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. Developed National fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis and Multiple Sclerosis Societies. For MS, ran several swim-a-thons, developed a Coast-to-Coast bike tour, the City-to-Shore, directed several Ugly Bartender and other named fundraisers, and was their Mystery Sleuth Mascot (all pro bono, but as a vegetarian I didn't ask for my 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.
Board of Directors of Sub Ocean Safety (SOS ) Non-profit org project to place hyperbaric chambers in 3rd world, primarily to Nicaraguan Miskito Coast divers who are paralyzed in high numbers from the lobster diving industry, leaving villages decimated.
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!
Since earliest years I wanted to be a scientist. When other topics interested me I took entire degrees or programs just for the knowledge. I got into music school - after years of devoted daily practice. My Father said he didn't want me in music, and I obediently obeyed and left the program and the practice. Honor your parents!
For years he told his colleagues (other top symphony musicians like himself) 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. Before that - years of training and rehearsing with a minor dance company. My Mother, a professional dancer, said she didn't want me in dance. I gave it up to obey.
But enough about me. To be continued.
BACK to my Adventure page or Rare Photos of Early Work page (including the paralyzed years).
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