I would certainly never have predicted that I would become the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) when I was a Jewish girl growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey. My family stressed the importance of education. Yet for a girl there were many not-so-subtle suggestions that the appropriate careers were in teaching or nursing, and the most important thing was to be a wife and mother. Well, I can't disagree with the latter, although I would have to add grandmother to that list of achievements. My parents were both college graduates, but my mom only taught high school English for one year before leaving the field to start our family. My dad returned from World War II and joined his brother in accounting. After my first sister was born, my father joined my mother's family jewelry business and helped to open a second retail store. My mother helped my dad out during the busy times—Christmas and wedding season—but otherwise focused on our growing family of three girls and one boy. This became increasingly challenging when it became clear that my little brother was severely retarded and would require extra care.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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