Margaret Gadon: Trailblazer in her field


By Peg Lopata, Contributing Writer

Margaret Gadon at work

Cambridge – Margaret Gadon, an internist, age 67, could fool anyone into thinking she’s half that age with her vibrancy and vigor.  It’s easy to imagine she’s always been this way—always on the go, highly intelligent; an inquisitive child.  She was curious about science even when very young.   This interest was re-awakened when she developed a bad eye infection during her teen years. 

“I had to go to multiple specialists to have the infection diagnosed and treated,” said Gadon. “It rekindled my earlier interest in science and the study of the human body.”  

But it wasn’t just science that drew her to medicine, she wanted financial independence. In addition, she said, “I’m a natural helper and fixer.” 

Currently, she’s a general internist for Beth Israel Lahey Health, in Arlington. 

Gadon most enjoys her work because she likes to solve problems. 

“I like finding resources for patients and helping them to feel better,
she said. 

She was undaunted by the fact that there were few women in medical school from 1976 to 1980.  Luckily, during her years there Gadon wasn’t the super social type, so the lack of fellow women classmates didn’t bother her. 

“I was oblivious to being in a class with fifteen percent of women,” she said.  “My friends were all male.”   

Now a more sociable woman, during the pandemic she’s been missing seeing her patients face-to-face as well as her colleagues. Other changes haven’t fazed her, such as being on-call in a hospital, something she hadn’t done for several years.  She felt her medical training had well-prepared her for the pandemic, nor was she concerned about catching the virus.

“I assumed I would get it at some point,” she said.

Strong woman that Gadon is herself, not surprising she finds other strong women, such as Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, inspiring.

“Merkel has believed in herself and has not been intimidated by powerful men.  She is willing to go against the grain for what she believes is right,” said Gadon.  

She also admires those people who’ve had no advantages. 

“I’m inspired by people who manage to make the best of their circumstances,” she said.  

Gadon is not only a full-time doctor.  She volunteers as part of a climate action group and has been the leader of a small community group to support one another during the COVID-19 crisis. She hopes to tutor students in the fall of 2020.  But all in all, she feels her greatest achievement in life so far has been raising her children to be responsible human beings.  

As a parent she took it seriously to prepare her children for the future and she’s doing likewise for herself.  She’s aiming to retire from medicine in 2021.  Some causes she finds especially important are helping refugees. 

“I have always felt a great deal of empathy for people whose lives are uprooted by wars, disease, famine or terrorism,” said Gadon. 

She also supports organizations that help poor children and address climate change.  Once retired, she’ll continue to build strong friendships, hopes to travel extensively and do tutoring.  For her patients, she’ll surely be missed when she takes that well-earned time for herself.  Even trailblazers deserve a break of being pioneers.