Dynamic Duo: Memorabilia & Medicine



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A Doctor is Born

Dr. Cassandra Tribble, who was born in inner-city Detroit and grew up on the block that became the epicenter of the 1968 race riots, shares Johnson’s values and says she’s happy her family landed in Greenwich.

“I like the pace, the feeling of community,” she explains. “The surprising level of diversity, the proximity to New York City, recreational opportunities, the broad range of activities and resources.”

For Dr. Tribble, the die was cast toward a career in medicine at an early age, when she recalls asking her mother questions about human anatomy, such as, How are we able to tell our arm to move and it actually moves? She laughs, “She stared at me with a blank expression, but I did receive a microscope for Christmas that year.”

Dr. Tribble’s “aha!” moment came in junior high when she marshaled her resources to pay for a trip to China through the Detroit Inner City Youth Tour by selling sweet potato pies that she baked with her grandmother, rolling dough and mashing potatoes in the dining room.

“My mother and the whole community helped take orders. Grandma Jenkins and I couldn’t make enough pies to keep up with the demand.”

In addition to opening her eyes to another culture, the trip to China was where Cassandra got her first exposure to anesthesia and acupuncture, on a tour of a hospital and medical clinic.

When it was time for college, she was accepted into Michigan State, University of Michigan and Wayne State University, but chose Howard University instead.

She applied and was accepted. It was past Howard’s financial aid deadline, and she didn’t have the money to pay tuition, but she didn’t give up. “My mother kept telling me, ‘There are scholarships out there.’” As luck would have it, Cassandra read a newspaper article about an essay competition for the very first Rosa Parks Scholarship. The essay was due the next day.

“I completed it and hand-delivered it before the 3 p.m. deadline.” A week later, she learned that she was the winner. “That paid for my first year of school. After that, I got merit scholarships every year, and that’s how I got through college.

“This showed me you have to take action when you really want something,” she says. “You can’t just sit around thinking or talking about it.”

She followed college with medical school at the University of Michigan, a residency at New York University and a fellowship in pain management from Harvard Medical School’s affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital.

Still as tenacious and driven as ever, Dr. Tribble spends her days — and some nights — at Greenwich Hospital and at the hospital’s Sackler Pain Management Clinic, where she is the director. Recently, she completed clinical training for medical acupuncture, which, she notes, “gives me new tools to treat our patients, and which brings me full circle to realize the part of my vision that was first sparked in China.”

The job is demanding, yet rewarding, requiring sixty-hour weeks, including some overnight, on-call shifts.

Dr. Tribble says that working close to home and having an au pair helps. And, fortunately, Johnson is also very accessible. “Between the two of us, one of us can often help juggle if we’re stuck in a situation,” she says.

So what’s the thread that keeps this power couple connected? Dr. Tribble says, “We share common interests like family, culture, values, our work and play ethic, as well as personal interests like fitness, sports, nutrition, health, and travel.”

What is more, Cassandra and Claude are each following their passions and in their own ways, teaching their kids to do the same. She says, “We’re not trying to push them into any one thing, but we do try to encourage and give them exposure in whatever it is that they seem to like. We want our kids to follow their passions.”

As parents, the pair model and reinforce the importance of having one’s own strong personal mission and vision. Cassandra notes, “Having those, then you’re not really that interested in comparing yourself to other people. We admire people who are successful, especially if they are truly successful, inwardly as well as outwardly.”

Read the April 2009 installment "Dynamic Duo: Movie Magic & Capital Insight" »

Read the March 2009 installment "Dynamic Duo: Couple for a Cure" »

 

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