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Charlene Joanne Bryan ’93

A picture of Charlene Bryan

Charlene Joanne Bryan ’93 died January 24, 2009, in Basel, Switzerland, of acute respiratory distress. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she earned a BA from Reed in biology, a master's degree from OHSU in public health, a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in epidemiology, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Although details remain sketchy, we understand that Charlene was working for a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland, and came down with influenza this year. She went to the hospital, where she developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and multiple organ failure. Charlene was an expert on depression, diabetes, and health disparities in minority populations, and authored several articles on those subjects. She was also a gourmet cook with a celebrated collection of cookbooks. On learning of her death, her colleagues in Pittsburgh held a memorial in her honor at which everyone wore leis. “We laughed and cried,” writes good friend Mary Hester. “Charlene would have enjoyed it. She only had a brief life, but she was a gift to all who had the privilege to meet her.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2009

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