We received some amazing news in the Fall of 2016. Dr. Martha (Marty) Roper, a college friend of Andra (Emily’s sister) and her husband Tim, left a gift of over $400,000 to Emily’s Fund.
“Marty met Emily over two weekend gatherings of our college friends at Cannon Beach. Emily led us all in her famous bonfire sing-alongs. Of course we all knew the words and sang them loudly. Marty didn’t know Emily well, but I like to think that they talked over dinner or walking on the beach, and maybe had a conversation that stayed with both of them. I like to picture them talking things over now. This gift gives them something so much better to discuss than what they see on the news.”
Marty devoted her practice as an internist to the neediest populations in New York City; New Haven, CT; and Oakland, CA where she was Highland Hospital’s Medical Director of the Acute Care Clinic. Fascinated by the perplexing health challenges faced by immigrants who sought care at the clinic, Marty changed directions to study epidemiology at Berkeley and the London School of Tropical Medicine. She worked tirelessly as an epidemiologist in international health for the next 20 years, taking on a range of health threats from malaria to polio, diphtheria to leishmaniosis, neo-natal tetanus to Ebola.
Marty’s impact went well beyond her professional accomplishments. She showed her two nieces how to be a strong woman in a male-dominated world. She made close friends with people from all walks of life wherever she went. She mentored young epidemiologists and healthcare workers throughout the world, sat on the board of Vermont’s Open Door Clinic, and supported and championed educational efforts in Milwaukee. As another colleague writes: “I admired her tremendously for her dedication, sincerity, and above all, her integrity. In a world where people pursue their own interests, Marty always stood by the truth. Her commitment to global health was unwavering. She fought for the uplift of those who were poor, marginalized and whose voices are rarely heard. She loved the human moments that come with being in the field, which keep us honest and true to purpose.