MADISON- Judith L. Ladinsky, age 73, of Madison, passed away Thursday, January 12, 2012, from stroke-related complications.
Judy was born June 16, 1938, in Los Angeles, CA. She grew up in New York City and received degrees from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She was a professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the UW Medical School for over 30 years and was director of the Office of International Health. She held an affiliation with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Judy assisted numerous graduate and medical students secure International Health rotations where they learned firsthand about global health issues.
Her early work in cell biology led to lifesaving advances in the prevention of mother-baby blood type incompatibility. In the early 1970's, she changed her career focus to preventive medicine on a community level linking rural clinics to centralized specialty care. She began this in rural Wisconsin, progressing to the Indian Health Service and finally to Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam.
Judy first went to Vietnam during the post war chaos of 1978, a time when the US did not have diplomatic relations with the country. She developed an instant passion for the nation and its people. In 1980, she became the Chair of the Health Committee of the US Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Vietnam. In 1984, she became the Chair of this organization, a position she held until her death. In this capacity, Judy made over 112 trips to Vietnam during which she delivered tons of medical supplies, books and journals to medical trainees and professionals throughout Vietnam. She assisted with lab development, training of scientific technicians and surgeons, teaching in a wide range of disciplines alongside her village health work.
Judy also facilitated the treatment of numerous critically ill Vietnamese children at US medical centers, enabling their receipt of life saving therapies not available in their homeland. She opened doors for hundreds of Vietnamese students to obtain higher education at US Universities. Her achievements are too many to be listed. She changed many lives. Numerous people throughout the US and Southeast Asia will be forever grateful. For her extraordinary medical service to Vietnam, Judy has been honored by Ministries and organizations at home and abroad. Most recently, she received the prestigious 2011 Peacemaker of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
Judy is survived by her sister, Nina, a physicist in Los Angeles, CA, husband Jack, a retired UW Sociologist, daughter, Morissa, a pediatrician in Cincinnati, OH and son Mark, a microbiologist in Pasadena, CA. Also, by her son in law Mitchell Cohen and grandchildren, 14 year old Andy and 11 year old, Nicole of Cincinnati. Judy's family sends heartfelt thanks to the staff of Pine View Living, her home for the past 9 months, her numerous Vietnamese friends and colleagues and all those who assisted her in her endeavors.
A memorial service to honor and celebrate her life will be held in the early spring, to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to: Madison Quaker's Inc. (Vietnam Project), 1112 Grant Street, Madison, WI 53711
We, Vietnamese, keep your smile in our heart for ever!
Rest in peace.
Great Humanist that I have privilege to work with last 28 years. Rest in heavenly peace Judy
Judith helped us translate Hesperianâ€™s health books (Where There Is No Doctor, etc.) into Vietnamese and distribute them through Viet Namâ€™s Ministry of Health. Her commitment and determination inspired us all, and hearing her beautiful voice on the phone was always a joy. Her contributions to international health were enormous; we will miss her greatly.
Todd Jailer, managing editor, Hesperian Health Guides
I will always remember meeting Judith in Hanoi as she was very instrumental in helping UW-La Crosse set up a civic engagement tour of the country. Our trip would not have been as successful without her involvement. Rest in peace Judith.
She has devoted her life to help Vietnam. She has touched and helped many Vietnamese lives. But now she no longer can continue her endeavor. You will be missed, Judy. Rest in peace.
On behalf of the Office of International Education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, we offer our sincere condolences. Judy made an amazing contribution to our campus and the La Crosse community by leading and developing the University's relationship with Vietnam. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy will continue. In 2004 Judy received the Carl Wimberly Award for International Partnerships and was recognized for the amazing work she had done making the world a better place!
I will always remember how she had such a big heart and how much she cared about others. She gave me insight into healthcare and the importance of prevention. She helped transform me into the physician I am today.
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