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A Celebration of Life:
Roberta "Bobby" Rosenfeld

Roberta “Bobby” Rosenfeld, former Senior Program Analyst at the National Cancer Institute in the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch (CMBB) under the direction of Dr. Sanya Springfield, passed away on Wednesday, February 10, 2010.

Dr. Peter Ogunbiyi, D.V.M., Ph.D., Program Director for the Diversity Training Branch at CRCHD, said, "Bobby was very special. Coming to the CMBB from academia, she made my transition painless. She taught me ‘almost’ everything I know, was very patient with me and she always made time to teach, encourage and assist. We will all miss her."

“Bobby Rosenfeld was a unique person,” said Nelson Aguila, D.V.M., also a Program Director for the Diversity Training Branch at CRCHD. “She was dedicated in her efforts to advise countless minority students and investigators, touching their lives with her wisdom and knowledge. The benefits of her work will last for years to come and will benefit future generations of minorities that want to pursue cancer research.”

During her time at the National Cancer Institute, Bobby helped minority investigators navigate the NIH system and develop their careers. She was influential in developing and implementing the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences Program, which offers unique training and career development opportunities to enhance diversity in cancer and cancer health disparities.

Bobby also developed and published the first CMBB Newsletter. She not only served as mentor for trainees, but shared her knowledge with her colleagues at NCI. Bobby was insatiable in her desire of learning and communicating across NCI and NIH to improve existing programs. She retired in 2006, at the age of 70, after 30 years of service with the federal government.

Dr. Eric Bailey, a former colleague from CMBB, said of Bobby that she "...will truly be missed and was definitely a one of a kind person who I truly enjoyed learning from each and every day."

"Bobby was an exceptional woman whom I admired for many reasons," said LaShell Gaskins, another former colleague from CMBB. "She took me under her wings and trained me when I joined CMBB in 1999, and for that I will always be grateful to her. It was an honor and privilege to share in Bobby’s life."

Bobby was the President of the American Association for Retired Persons Gaithersburg, Maryland chapter, and an active member of the Montgomery County Senior Advisory Council. She was a beloved tutor with the “Grand Readers” at Brown Station Elementary School. She was also a voracious reader of literature and non-fiction, loved to swim, and spend time outdoors.

From Bobby's close and dear friend, Dr. Sanya Springfield:

“My tenure here at the NCI has been truly enhanced by the people that I have worked with over the years. One such person, having a profound impact in my life, was Bobby Rosenfeld.

Most people called her Bobby but I called her my right arm, for she worked side by side with me as we developed the key programs and activities that are part of the nationally recognized training program for students, junior research investigators and faculty from diverse and underserved populations known as the CURE.

Bobby loved her job and would do anything that was asked of her but more important, she loved the students and junior investigators whose lives she changed and careers she helped to develop.

I will miss her deeply and I am sure that those of you who were blessed to have met, worked and been impacted by her will miss her as well.”

Bobby is survived by sons Steven J. Rosenfeld of Kensington, and Donald M. Rosenfeld, of Germantown, a daughter, Andrea I. Rosenfeld, of Germantown, and granddaughter Quinn. A son, Gary S. Rosenfeld preceded her in death.

A memorial service to celebrate her life was held February 19, 2010 at the Gaithersburg Upcounty Senior Center, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Updated: 05/15/13