Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

by Patricia Yarberry Allen, MD | bio

Barbara R. Morgan, 55 years old, will be the first teacher-astronaut heading into space since her friend Christa McAuliffe died along with other members of the Challenger Explosion in 1986.

Morgan had been in training as the back-up for that flight. She has now logged 22 years in the space program. Her first shuttle flight, along with six other astronauts on board, is scheduled to blast off Wednesday morning on a mission to the International Space Station.

Morgan said patience and perseverance were virtues of good school teachers, and those same traits certainly describe her life’s work.

"Not losing faith in the program, Ms. Morgan, as the backup teacher for that mission, kept the dream alive even when returning to the classroom by becoming an advocate for spaceflight and helping the National Aeronautics and Space Administration find a way to continue including teacher-astronauts in its plans," writes Warren E. Leary in today’s New York Times.

According to the Times, NASA decided in 1998 to train teachers to be real astronauts and Morgan was invited to return to the program after she had gone back to teaching elementary school in McCall, Idaho. She is married and has two sons, one a high school senior and the other a college freshman.

"I believe in my heart that space exploration is key for all of us, especially for our young people to keep their futures open-ended," Morgan said during a preflight news conference.

She will function both as an astronaut and as an educator during the Endeavour’s 11- to 14-day mission, "making a series of video ‘teachable moments’ while in space that will later be used in lessons …"

"Teachable moments," indeed. At 55, Morgan is already a role model for us all.

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