Listening to Irene Meister, Ph.D., discuss her professional life, one thing is clear: she did not get where she is today by sitting still.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Meister has been a senior executive at multiple corporations and organizations, a college professor, a staff member of Congress, and an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, to name just a few of her remarkable positions. Now lecturing and limiting her consulting work to one multinational client, Dr. Meister is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, granting her entry to meetings with heads of state and other distinguished international and U.S. figures.
With so many responsibilities, mobility is very important to Dr. Meister. But when she fell on the sidewalk in 2003 and landed in the emergency room with a shattered shoulder, she was told that she might lose her arm. A friend who is a physician recommended that she see Scott Rodeo, MD, at Hospital for Special Surgery. “He said, ‘With an injury that serious, I don’t want you to go anywhere else,’” she recalls.
Dr. Rodeo performed a successful surgery, for which Dr. Meister says she is “eternally grateful.” She credits Dr. Rodeo not only with saving her arm, but with taking a genuine interest in her health and well-being. “He is not only a good surgeon, he is compassionate and caring,” she said. “While I was recovering from the surgery, he would come as often as three times a day to personally monitor my progress.”
Over the years, Dr. Meister has returned to Special Surgery several times. She speaks highly of all of her physicians, including Frank Cammisa, MD; Ronald MacKenzie, MD, and Stephen Paget, MD. In addition to the excellent physicians, Dr. Meister cites many other factors that set HSS apart from other hospitals. “I am consistently impressed with the nursing staff, as well as with the Hospital’s emphasis on research,” she said.
Shortly after meeting Dr. Rodeo, Dr. Meister began making small contributions to express her appreciation for the positive experience she had at Special Surgery. When she learned about The Wilson Society, she was drawn to the idea of being able to make a larger impact on the Hospital’s future. Dr. Meister has established several charitable gift annuities, which provide her with income while also helping Special Surgery achieve its long-term goals.