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Rehabilitating ABC Newsman

Lee Woodruff to speak on her role as personal caregiver

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Lee Woodruff is a best-selling author and contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America. But it’s her experience as a personal caregiver that brings her to campus today to give Sargent College’s second annual Meredith E. Drench Lecture, titled Life Changes in an Instant: A Caregiver’s Journey. The lecture series was established in 2009 by Drench (SAR’72).

That journey began in January 2006, when Woodruff’s husband, Bob, then coanchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, was embedded with the military in Iraq. A homemade bomb exploded near the tank he was traveling in, causing a traumatic brain injury and nearly killing him. He was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days, before making a nearly complete recovery and returning to work a year later.

In February 2007, Bob and Lee Woodruff published In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing, which became a number-one New York Times best seller. The book chronicles Bob’s recovery, as well as the recovery of the Woodruff family, which includes four children.

The Woodruffs’ journey led them to establish the Bob Woodruff Foundation to help wounded servicemen and their families who are still on the road to recovery. The foundation works to provide resources and support so they are able to return to their communities and everyday lives.

This focus on the need to mend the mind as well as the body echoes behavioral specialist Meredith E. Drench’s commitment to the “compassionate rehabilitation” of the whole person. Drench also believes in the importance of familial healing and emphasizes communication and collaboration in physical therapy.

“Lee Woodruff takes a professional approach to the idea of complete rehabilitation, but does so as a wife, mother, and personal caregiver,” Drench says. “She carries a very important clinical message, that family dynamics should always be considered.”

The Meredith E. Drench Lecture Series is Sargent College’s first endowed lecture series.

The Meredith E. Drench Lecture will be held at Sargent College, 635 Commonwealth Ave., Room 101, from 5 to 6 p.m., on Wednesday, April 14, 2010. There will be a reception following the lecture in the Setterberg Lounge, second floor.  

Caroline Hailey can be reached at chailey@bu.edu.

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