Stanford WELL Asia Meeting 2019, with Valerie McGuire (on far right)

Dr. Valerie McGuire, Senior Research Scientist

Thank you for 20+ years of service to Stanford Epidemiology!

From Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, Lorene Nelson: 

"Valerie McGuire has been a key collaborator in the work of so many faculty members in epidemiology.  Her breadth of knowledge and expertise spans several subfields of epidemiology, including neuroepidemiology, cancer epidemiology, cardiovascular epidemiology, occupational and nutritional epidemiology. She has been invaluable in my work on epidemiologic studies of neurodegenerative diseases, with a deep fund of knowledge beginning with the work she did at the University of Washington on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (we had virtually the same dissertation committee members back in the early 90’s!).  I have always appreciated Valerie’s incredibly hard work ethic as well as the droll humor she brought to our research team.  Valerie will be sorely missed as a collaborator but am happy to say that she is also a dear friend and so I and my family will continue to be blessed with her in our lives.

From Professor of Medicine and, by courtesy, of Epidemiology & Population Health, Ann Hsing: 

Valerie is a special gem to me. I was saddened when she told me about her retirement plans several months ago. I could not imagine moving my projects forward without her expert help.

I was fortunate to have worked with Valerie for almost three years at Stanford. Whatever ball I threw at her, she would always catch it — be it grant proposals, annual reports, progress reports, IRB proposal, genetics, biomarkers, metabolomics, bacterial translocation, conventional risk factors, screening, manuscripts, cancer epidemiology, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, or well-being, she could do it all. She always said, “Ann, don’t worry, I will take care of it.”

When I had a new thought and called or emailed her, she would immediately say, “Guess what? I am on it and almost done; I will send it for your review tonight.” Sometimes I wonder whether she inserted a chip in my brain when I was not paying attention. How could she read my mind so clearly?

I was obviously spoiled by Valerie for three years so when she disclosed her retirement news, I said, “NO!!!” She explained, “Ann, I’ve been working for 50 years now, don’t you think I deserve a retirement to have fun? Plus, I’m not going anywhere and if you really need me, I’m happy to help.” Hmm… I have been spoiled by her thoughtfulness and thoroughness, but I guess I should not be so selfish, so I consented to her retirement. I told her it has not been approved by IRB yet but I guess after 50 years, one earns the right to do what you love and not need approval from anyone.

I have not gotten over my shock yet and I know I will miss Valerie dearly. The good thing is that her house is only 0.2 mile from my house, so I can jump over there in 5 minutes if I need her help. But I should remind myself to exercise self-control and try not to be so selfish.

Congratulations to Valerie on her retirement and for being a special gem to all of us in our department. We wish her the very best!

From Associate Professor of Genetics & Genomic Sciences, and Population Health Science & Policy at Mount Sinai, Weiva Sieh: 

Dr. Valerie McGuire’s dedication and epidemiologic expertise enabled the establishment of an ovarian cancer case-control study that has been ongoing for over 20 years, in large part because of her tireless labor. Through her kindness and generosity towards trainees, Valerie has also made lasting contributions to training the next generation of epidemiologists. Valerie is among the best colleagues I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and she will be greatly missed!

From Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health Emerita, Alice Whittemore: 

I’ve found that when good things happen to you, you seldom realize how lucky you are until years after the fact (if ever). Such a good thing was the arrival of Valerie McGuire to the Epidemiology Division of the Department of Health Research and Policy in 1996. Valerie and my colleague Lori Nelson had been fellow doctoral students in Epidemiology at the University of Washington, and Lori, who needed Valerie’s help on one of her NIH grants, asked me if sharing Valerie’s efforts would help my projects. At the time, little did any of us realize what a win-win set-up this would be!

Valerie’s presence at Stanford made my life a pleasure. A competent, trained, knowledgeable and mature professional with a contagious sense of humor, she kept me sane. There was no task so onerous that she would not take it on, and she would work nights & weekends when the occasion demanded it. As time passed, she became our indispensable expert on the logistical challenges of state & federal epidemiological data bases, one who always knew whom to contact to meet the challenge at hand. This expertise, which resulted from years of patient and polite contacts, continues to help all her epidemiological colleagues.

When she first came to Stanford, Valerie (a Canadian citizen) was working and living in the US on a series of short-term student and research-visas. What a celebration we had when, after years of ancillary paperwork & legal help, she finally received her coveted Green Card!

The only way I can even begin to contemplate Valerie’s retirement is by reminding myself that she will continue to live here in the Bay Area, and we can continue to touch base periodically over lunch or dinner.