Dr. Sally Ride: An advocate of bone health and science education

Sally Ride in Shuttle

Photo courtesy of NASA

Astronaut Sally Ride, an American hero, lost her courageous battle against pancreatic cancer today. In 1983, the first US woman in space captured every girl and young woman’s imagination and hopes. This soft-spoken physicist inspired countless individuals then as a role model and for the rest of her lifetime.

As a champion tennis player in her youth, she learned focus and competitive spirit. Those skills served her well through her education, NASA, and academic career at University of California, San Diego. In 2001, she continued to follow her passion by founding Sally Ride Science with a small group of friends to inspire and motivate middle school age girls (and boys) to pursue education and careers in science and math.

Our paths crossed at University of California, San Diego. We had many conversations about bone health, science, and education. She was always an ardent supporter of promoting bone health, particularly for middle school students. I was fortunate to have her write the foreword of my consumer book on bone health, The Complete Book of Bone Health.

Her life ended all too soon at age 61. She accomplished more than several lifetimes during those years. I am thankful not only to have my life touched by an incredible and inspiring person but also to know her personally. Sally Ride will also be my hero!