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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bronx Health Advocate Megan Charlop Dies in Accident

Megan Charlop, with her daughter, Sarah Charlop-Powers, at the Tour de Bronx cycling event in 2000. (Norwood News file photo by Jordan Moss)

We are deeply saddened to report that our colleague and friend, Megan Charlop, was killed this morning while riding her bike to work. She was 57.

Charlop, a long-time Norwood resident, was a veteran public health advocate who worked at Montefiore for more than 25 years in the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and most recently as director for community health in the School Health Program.

She is survived by her husband, Richie Powers, and their four adult children: Sarah, Zach, Rachel and Aaron.

In 1999, Charlop was one of 10 recipients to receive the national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health and Leadership Program award for her lead poisoning prevention work at Montefiore.

Following her death, Philip O. Ozuah, MD, the head of the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, released this statement:
It is with the deepest sadness that I write to inform you of the untimely death of a good friend, long-time Montefiore employee, and champion for the health and social well-being of the families of the Bronx. Megan Charlop, Director of Community Health for the School Health Program and a former administrator of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, died earlier today doing something she truly loved, riding her bike on her way to work. Police report that Megan swerved her bike to avoid an opening car door and veered into the path of a bus. She was killed instantly. Megan's work for Montefiore and the people of the Bronx literally touched thousands of her co-workers and residents of the Borough. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her husband, Richard Powers, her children and her entire family. We will be sharing more details as they become available.
We'll have more about Megan's life and work in the next Norwood News. In the meantime, we'll leave you with a passage from a 1981 New York Times profile of Charlop: "The 29-year-old Miss Charlop is an expert on rehabilitation and a tenant organizer, with a Dead End Kid voice, a dazzling smile and an energy that seems to electrify her small body."

That voice, that smile and that energy, not the least bit diminished by age and experience, will be so sorely missed. 

--Jordan Moss and Alex Kratz

37 comments:

  1. Anger. Sadness.

    Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly: What are you going to do to make our streets safer for bicyclists?!

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  2. Megan you will be missed! Thank you for your tireless efforts, strategic brilliance, and extraordinary contribution to the health of Bronxites!

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  3. a friend i will miss always a friend i remeber going to her hoem eating lunch and going into rhe backyard with the children i will miss you always my dear friend

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  4. Live life to the fullest...remember that...Meghan did and for that we, the community shall always be grateful.

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  5. Thank you Megan for always providing us with leadership, enthusiasm and a positive attitude in the midst of tackling the toughest issues. Thank you for helping pave the way for the sustainable food movement in the Bronx - you will be sorely missed.

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  6. Megan Charlop was one of the finest activists I had the privilege of working with. Our partnership when I worked at the New York Public Interest Research Group was reducing lead poisoning, especially among young children, but our friendship was based on the idea that everyone deserved environmental justice. I am crushed by this news but will remember her as a giant in the public interest community and a gentle, loving friend.

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  7. well miss you mama meg

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  8. Can we re-name the tour de Bronx-the Megan Charlop Tour???
    We all have a lot to do to keep her work going-


    Megan Charlop- Presente!

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  9. I second the suggestion about renaming The Tour De Bronx to THE MEGAN CHARLOP TOUR! A wonderful person who will be sorely missed.

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  10. I second The Tour De Bronx to THE MEGAN CHARLOP TOUR!

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  11. Megan- a great and powerful presence in the world , always fostering change and spreading her beauty of spirit to everyone she met. I cannot even bring myself to talk about you being gone and I guess you are not in a way because the the mark of what you accomplished is everywhere.

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  12. Megan- you were an inspiration and role model to me and many others. You touched so many lives by teaching. Your spirit will live on through all of your victories and the many more that all of us who were touched by you will accomplish.

    And another vote for renaming the tour de Bronx to the Megan Charlop Tour.

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  13. This woman a force of nature ! I also join with those who believe in The Megan Charlop Tour! She will be deeply missed oh so much! - Jesse

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  14. From México. Megan Charlop, PRESENTE

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  15. I grew up with Meg, and then we worked together in the Bronx back in the 70s before I headed west, and we stayed in touch over the years. What a huge loss. Huge loss. We miss her so, already.

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  16. This is a horrible tragedy. Megan is an inspiration who shared her love with everyone. Among the many things she's done...she co-founded Greening For Breathing, the community initiative in Hunts Point that planted hundreds of street trees in the neighborhood and inspired the City's current million trees initiative. Megan is a tireless lover of justice, people, and the planet. I know she'll always be with us in spirit even though she's no longer with us in the flesh...

    ...now, with all that being said...I'm sure if she were here and this happened to someone else she'd be calling on the city to expand the network of bike lanes and make sure there's a buffer between the lane and parked cars so that no one else gets killed or injured this way.

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  17. I am shocked and saddened to lose such a strong, kind, and passionate presence in the fight for social equity and environmental justice. I hope we all look for ways to perpetuate her work and honor her spirit that is gone too soon.

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  18. Megan was the kind of person most people can only dream of becoming. She was tireless, dedicated and inspiring. I had the pleasure of earning my MPH with Megan and in tough situations, I always wonder, what would Megan do? The world is a less beautiful place without megan in it.

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  19. Another vote for renaming the tour de Bronx to the Megan Charlop Tour.

    Meg was one in a million.

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  20. I loved Meg- she was always fun to be with or just there in case you needed to talk. I always looked up to her and i very much want her to be memorialized--ANOTHER VOTE FOR THE MEGAN CHARLOP TOUR!

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  21. I have the privileged of working with Megan on the NYC Coalition to Prevent Lead poisoning. I learned that she was deeply committee to protect our children from lead-poisoning. She will be remembered as a fighter and champion for well being of our children.

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  22. I arrived in the Bronx to stay with Meg and Richie, who didn't know me except by reference, on the evening before the Tour de Bronx 2004. Meg dug up someone's bike and helmet from the basement and convinced me to brave the chilly Sunday morning to see the Bronx by bike - she was right; it's the best way. I spent that month working hard as a visiting student at Montefiore and learning to love New York through my gracious hosts. They have hosted probably hundreds of near strangers over the year and restored all of us with a sense of trust in humanity. Thanks, Meg. I miss you, too. And a far away Kentucky vote for honoring her with the bike tour name!

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  23. Megan is truly going to be miissed I had the pleasure of working with her and for the 10 years of working together she always has a beautiful smile that lite up the room! my prayers to the family.

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  24. How about Megan's Bronx Tour or Megan's Tour de Bronx

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  25. I remember Meg as a woman with an indefatigable conscience for doing what was right. Whether it was fighting for public health, running a marathon for leukemia, chewing out a neighborhood bully twice her size, or taking in a stranger from a far off country so that they could remain by the side of a wife or brother seeking medical help in NY. The first time I met her I spent the night in her house, a stranger made familiar by her belief in the underlying goodness in all of us.

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  26. A beautiful, radiant,beyond energetic spirit. She touched the lives of countless people in so many ways. A brilliant smile, always a twinkle in her eye. Brave and courageous, a fine humanitarian. An exemplary human being. Megan Charlop, you are so sorely missed.

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  27. I never met Meg and never knew of her until now---such a senseless loss. When will drivers and people opening their car doors start looking out for those on two wheels?! I live in San Diego County and we have so many bicyclists killed by cars. Bicycles are traffic too. Rest in peace, Meg, and may your spirit live on.

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  28. Hannah at Bike New YorkMarch 19, 2010 at 2:58:00 PM EDT

    It is with shock and dismay that Bike New York staff learned of the sudden passing of Megan Charlop. Megan had been working closely with Bike New York’s Education Program to bring bike safety education to several Bronx elementary schools. She was also an instructor for Learn to Ride classes in Bronx parks and schools, as well as a neighbor of one of our staff.

    Rather than using her death as an example of the dangers of cycling, or a reason not to ride, Megan would want us to live with the anticipation that something good will happen—which is far more likely when one leads an active life, as Megan did. Staying passive and inside, out of fear of something bad happening—like a bike crash—leads to something else far more likely, and equally undesirable: lives cut short by heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments that can be prevented with a more active lifestyle.

    Please see http://www.bikenewyork.org/about/images/20100318_megan_charlop.pdf for our full statement and suggestions for how motorists and cyclists can avoid similar tragedies in the future.

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  29. I knew Megan in high school, where she rallied many with her flair for dramatic performance, her passion for engagement, and her qualities as a good friend. It is amazing, though not surprising, to read these tributes to the many ways in which her work and life inspired, helped and affected others. As her classmates from long ago head towards 60 (and we are shocked and pained that Megan won't), commemorating her life inspires us to take stock and to realize that we can and should live large, as she did.

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  30. From Puerto Rico. Megan Charlop, PRESENTE!
    Que Dios te bendiga...

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  31. I only met Megan once - over 30 years ago, when I stayed in their house the night before a big NYC demonstration - but I have heard stories about "Megan and Richie" so many times I've lost count. She was a dear friend of MY dear friends Joanne Sheehan and Rick Gaumer and they spoke of her so often and with such affection, respect and love. Reading all these comments makes it even clearer. What a gift she was to the world. My deepest sympathies and prayers to Richie and their children and to all of her dearly loved friends.

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  32. I never had the pleasure to meet Megan Charlop, but I know her goodness of spirit through Aaron, her son.

    She clearly raised kids who care about the less-fortunate through an effortless that's almost hard to describe. Her children regard doing positive things for the world not as a sacrifice or a chore -- but as a way of life. With so much humor and curiosity along the way.

    That is a perspective only a parent can instill. What a mother to be proud of.

    My gut reaction tells me this tragedy is simply unfair. But something deeper reminds me that Megan Charlop's spirit still lives on through her amazing kids and the goodness she brought into this world.

    With love and respect,

    Patrick Winn - Bangkok, Thailand

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  33. I wrote this about growing up with Meg, and working w/her in the 70s in the Bronx: http://maimonidesladder.com/2010/03/19/meg/

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  34. I am so saddened at the loss of a personal hero and mothering role model. Mama Meg was an amazing, generous and loving woman who lived her life to its fullest. My heart and love goes out to Richie and her children.

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  35. My dearest Megan, It was hard to learn about your passing. I will always remember you as someone who truly cared about justice. I learned so much from you working by your side. You never compromised on things that looked "innocent" when we knew they were wrong. One thing that I admired so much about you was the love you have for your family. My heart goes out to them!! Rita

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  36. There is a hole that we all feel in our lives with Meg's death. It makes me think about the conversation(s) that we can now never have. The stuff that I never said. Meg was someone who kept you on your toes. She was always asking the next question. Always pressing and challenging you about what you were doing and why. She was also one of the most vital people that I knew. As the initial shock begins to wear off there is still a strange sense of numbmess. It will take a long time for us to get our heads around this tragic event, if we ever can. Until that time we can only leave her in God's hands, remembering the great spirit that she was (and still is),and miss very much that vital presence that she exuded, which kept us all feeling a bit more alive.

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  37. Love and miss you Meg -SIVAD

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