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Levine Chapels

470 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA

OBITUARY

Dr. Cheryl Barbanel-Miller

Dr. Cheryl Barbanel, age 70, died peacefully at home in Chestnut Hill, MA on September 1, 2020, after a long illness with her family at her bedside. Dr. Cheryl Barbanel, MD, MBA, MPH, FACOEM, FACP was a leader in occupational and environment medicine.

Cheryl was born in Bronx, NY in 1950 to Leon and Rose (Hutt) Barbanel. She graduated from the State University of New York in Buffalo, Cum Lauda, and Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. She received her M.D. from New York University in 1976, and her MBA and MPH from Boston University in 1992. Dr. Barbanel was an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of medicine. She was the director of Boston University Occupational Health Center and the Director of Boston University Medical Center Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Barbanel was a Fellow of The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and was the organization’s president from 2005-2006. She was on the board of directors of the American Board of Preventive Medicine from 1998-2007 and was recognized locally and nationally for her work in occupational medicine.

Dr. Barbanel was active in the Jewish community and served on the broad of Temple Emeth. She enjoyed and celebrated the Jewish holidays with family and friends. She valued her time away from medicine and enjoyed traveling with her family. Dr. Barbanel was able to balance the demands of academic medicine with an active family life during her long career. She was always stylish and ran committee meetings with efficiency, poise, and encouraged dialogue and interchanges. She was recognized by her smile, wit and determination. She was known for encouraging women to have leadership roles in medicine. Dr. Barbanel attributed her successful career to her many friends, mentors, and the love and support of her family. She is survived by her mother Rose Barbanel, her husband of 44 years, Dr. Kenneth B. Miller, and her three children, Phillip, Rachel and Marisa Miller and her brother Joshua Barbanel, and sister Lori Barbanel. There will be a private family service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Temple Emeth, 194 Grove St., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

Services

  • Burial and Shiva are private

Memories

Dr. Cheryl Barbanel-Miller

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Brent Pawlecki

September 9, 2020

Additional Ramazzini Society comments:

Permit me to make an observation. 25 years ago we were not doing so well. People were still asking what we do that other physicians couldn't and we weren't getting a lot of respect within the house of medicine. Our phone calls weren't getting returned by the big dogs in medicine, either.
 
But we did a lot of important heavy lifting. Mark helped us define ourselves with the competencies. The Guidelines demonstrated that we knew what we were doing as physicians and had standards. Our admission into the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (hardly noticed by our members) established us as players (not dominant, but players, not punters). We not only weathered a series of crises from internal management to attacks by our colleagues (particularly Joe and his gang) but prevailed and emerged much stronger in the end. We had our setbacks - and the waste of our time by the Dept. of Homeland Security and other agencies during the post 9-11 response was unforgivable - but Cheryl's involvement coincided with an critical time in the history of ACOEM, when it sort of "came of age" as a modern medical society, with diversity and nuanced mission. Fred was a big part, perhaps the single biggest factor at a critical moment, and Cheryl did a lot to achieve that as well. 

Brent Pawlecki

September 9, 2020

Additional comments from her Ramazzini Society colleagues:

I remember Cheryl politely as always asking what I thought about taking over the guidelines project in 2005 (her judgment may be questioned on that point)....and remember thinking that would be interesting and probably not that hard (my judgment impaired)... Definitely remember fondly someone whose interpersonal and meeting management skills were quite professional yet ever-warm.

I remember speaking with her once at an AOHC when I was debating whether or not to disrupt my family and life to get an MBA, which I noted on one of the speaker profiles she had obtained. She didn’t know me from Adam, but spent nearly an hour going over the pros and cons, the relative ‘out of the box’ perception of the degree, and the impact on family, stress and it’s utility (marginal she said) in terms of her career achievements and goals.  I was amazed by her generosity of time, and her analysis - I thought I was speaking to a compassionate and highly intelligent HR professional, she was so good. Anyway, I was impressed and I carry the memory of her generosity and kindness with me. She is one of the reasons I have always felt strongly (alright, loved) the sense of fellowship and connection in OEM. In this one encounter she set an example to me of what is the best in us. After that meeting I used to say Hi to her when I’d see her at the AOHCs and we’d briefly chat about what we were doing with our lives.

While I never had the honor to meet Cheryl or to work with her, I am learning from her as you each write about her as a person, a doctor, and a leader. Thank you for sharing your stories and memories. I am sorry I never had the chance to talk with her. 

Brent Pawlecki

September 9, 2020

Additional comments from her Ramazzini Society colleagues:

Always a pleasure to work with. She worked quietly but very effectively.

An example of that was a confidential task Cheryl did for ACOEM after her Presidency. You may recall that she had an MBA. At the time, ACOEM was dealing with a sensitive and troubling intellectual property dispute. It was eventually fairly resolved, due in large part to Cheryl's review and involvement. That is why she received the President's Award on my watch - it wasn't just for show or mutual admiration. The College benefited from her commitment well after her leadership year. 

Along with her smarts and vitality, she was also really fun to be with.  And she was also the only Ram I ever encountered shopping in Barney’s in NYC.  Proof that she also had style and good taste!

She was a great leader and role model. Sending my heartfelt best wishes to her family.

I cherish the many memories of working with Cheryl on multiple ACOEM activities - on the Board, committees and conferences.   As ACOEM President she played a crucial role (along with Barry Eisenberg and many of you) in helping ensure the long term success of the ACOEM Guidelines, including recruitment of Kurt as the Editor (now going on 15 years), and helping create a sustainable financial and operational structure.   But most of all, I remember Cheryl had a wonderful smile and laugh, and was a great colleague and friend.  Carole and I were fortunate to get to know Cheryl's family who were the most important part of her life.  We will miss her. 

And I recall how helpful she was as we were working out the next chapter for the ACOEM Guidelines.

Brent Pawlecki

September 9, 2020

Though I have never met Cheryl, I am part of a group that she participated in, The Ramazzini Society. It is a professional organization of Occupational Health Physicians. The comments shared on our message group about their remembrances of Cheryl:

I still vividly recall the last meeting I attended with her and the BU issues beginning to surface. Requiescat in pace 

I will miss her—Friend and colleague

When Dr Barbanel was ACEOM president, she came to speak at WOEMA's Western Occupational Health Conference.  Although I didn't know her, we ended up having lunch together. During that lunch she really encouraged me to seek a leadership role as a woman in medicine. I remember it well, and it made a difference to me. 

I so fondly recall the years that we had spent together on the board. I have missed Cheryl’s presence during the years of her illness, and am saddened by her passing. She was a great leader and contributor to ACOEM, helping our organization through some difficult years. We have lost a true friend.

I still vividly recall the last meeting I attended with her and the BU issues beginning to surface. Requiescat in pace 

I will miss her—Friend and colleague

When Dr Barbanel was ACEOM president, she came to speak at WOEMA's Western Occupational Health Conference.  Although I didn't know her, we ended up having lunch together. During that lunch she really encouraged me to seek a leadership role as a woman in medicine. I remember it well, and it made a difference to me. 

I so fondly recall the years that we had spent together on the board. I have missed Cheryl’s presence during the years of her illness, and am saddened by her passing. She was a great leader and contributor to ACOEM, helping our organization through some difficult years. We have lost a true friend.

I remember her as bright, smiling and full of life and positive energy. So sorry to hear that she had do endure a prolonged illness. An inspiration to us all.

kathryn mueller

September 9, 2020

All of my sympathy to every member of Cheryl’s family. My mother and sister both died of early onset dementia and I know how difficult that is for a family. I am sure you have many lovely family memories that will help you endure her loss. I remember many happy times with Cheryl. We were always roommates at the RAMS meetings throughout the country and beyond. She served as ACOEM president before I did and we had very interesting ACOEM conversations. She and I, sometimes with John Holland and Carole, enjoyed evenings in assorted venues with gourmet food and lovely wines. I also remember how much we spoke about all of you. She was a distinguished ACOEM President and was a continual support for women in our profession. I have missed her presence over the last few years and I thoroughly appreciate all she contributed to occupational medicine. Kathryn

Geri & Bill Brehm

September 2, 2020

You were a respected leader in Medical Occupational Safety at Boston University, a joyous and engaging friend and neighbor, you were a committed and dedicated mother and a cherished loved wife and family member. You battled your disease with grace. Now we are at a great loss, as you have passed to a more peaceful place, and we feel less without you.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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