A respected pediatrician and psychiatrist, Helen Hofsommer Glaser was known as an effective, supportive, and imaginative editor of The Pharos, the journal of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Helen Hofsommer was determined to become a doctor. When she applied to medical school in the early 1940s, a disparaging dean implied that she was displacing a qualified man from a potential career in medicine. But it was wartime in America, and many men who might have studied medicine were abroad, in military service. With the support of her parentsboth doctorsshe graduated with a doctor of medicine degree from the Washington University School of Medicine in 1947. She married Robert Glaser two years later.
After her internship at St. Louis City Hospital and a two-year residency in pediatrics at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Dr. Glaser first worked in her father's pediatric practice. Over the next ten years the growing family (the Galsers had three children in the early 1950s) moved frequently. At the University of Colorado she worked in the Department of Pediatrics, focusing on the emotional effects of chronic illness on children and their families. Later, she continued her pediatric work at Boston Children's Hospital and the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
When her husband became vice president for medical affairs and dean of the school of medicine at Stanford University in 1965, Glaser decided to pursue her longstanding interest in psychiatry, completing a four-year residency in 1974. She established her own practice, working primarily with adolescents, and continued as a clinical teacher at Stanford.
Throughout the 1970s, she served both as assistant and associate editor of The Pharos, a journal that emphasizes the artistic, literary, and cultural aspects of medicine. She was made managing editor in 1980, and served in that capacity until 1997. During her editorial tenure she helped develop many new sections and encouraged student contributors.
In a special memorial edition of The Pharos, Glaser's colleagues paid tribute to her in poetry and prose. "She offered civility in the scientific setting," offered Oliver Owen, "and used her literary skills to help others advance social progress. Her caring personality and intellectual standards elevated the creativity of students, residents, fellows, young physicians, and old-timers as authors. Her intellect and vibrancy spanned marriage, motherhood, friendship, and career. She enriched the lives of all who knew her."