About Alan L. Rubin, MD

I was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx and New Rochelle.  I was not particularly athletic; that came later.  I tried out for the tennis team at New Rochelle High School and didn’t make it.

From New Rochelle High School, I went to Brandeis University, which was a great education, both academically and socially.  I got involved in student politics and was on the Student Council.  I was also very involved in the movement against the red-baiting of the House Un-American Activities Committee.  One of my proudest moments was when I introduced Eleanor Roosevelt to an assembly at Brandeis and had an opportunity to speak privately with her.  I had a couple of girlfriends at Brandeis but nothing serious.  I was supposed to go into chemistry but found that I enjoyed people more than test tubes, so I switched to medicine.  I was all set to go to Jefferson Medical School when I won a New York State Regents Scholarship that could only be used in New York so I applied to NYU and got in.

Medical school was tough but very enjoyable.  The philosophy at NYU Med School was once they accepted you, they would do their damndest to see that you graduated.  Not that I had trouble there but it was a very positive feeling, unlike places like Downstate in Brooklyn where they warned you on the first day that you probably would not graduate.

In my third year several of the class entrepreneurs held a mixer where they invited the med students for free and all the “women” in the surrounding schools for one dollar.  There were 10,000 women and 90 male med students.  That is where I met my wife of 45 years, Enid.  We still argue over who got the bigger bargain.

After medical school, I stayed at Bellevue for my internship and 1st year of residency, then went in the Army for two years.  I was supposed to return to Bellevue for the rest of my residency and a renal fellowship.  Fortunately, I went to South Korea instead of Vietnam in 1968.  My wife Enid came a few days later and we lived in Seoul.  This was possible because I was the commanding officer of a medical detachment of 5 doctors and 24 enlisted men (purely as a result of the fact that I was the oldest MD there).  I have many funny stories of my Army experiences including my Saturday morning inspections of my men (who knew from polished shoes and clean rifles).  The year in Korea was wonderful, especially since our daughter, Renee, was born there.  We lived with a medical school buddy and his wife.  We got to travel all over Asia and brought back wonderful stereo and cameras.  I wrote to Uncle Sam about my “hardship” tour in Korea and asked to be assigned to Letterman Hospital in San Francisco, which came about.

That year in San Francisco convinced me that this was where I wanted to live.  As a result of more good fortune, I obtained a 2nd year residency at Mt. Zion Hospital in SF.  This was followed by an endocrinology fellowship at UCSF with the help and guidance of another med school buddy, Michael Goldfield.

My friend Mike also introduced me to the game of squash when he became tired of hurting his hand playing handball. I have been playing ever since (1971) and it has kept me in good health and reasonable shape.  Mike and I don’t play squash often any more but we do play tennis doubles with our wives and follow it up with dinner.

Our son Larry was born and we moved into our first house where I began to grow vegetables and flowers.  I became quite a farmer, even raising chickens and keeping a couple of beehives for a while.  I quit the chickens when I stopped eating eggs and the bees when I developed an allergy to their sting and decided against desensitization.  I continue to have a wonderful garden of vegetables, fruits and flowers.

I have also been very interested in computers since the first days of the Radio Shack TRS-80 model.  I have gradually upgraded so that now I am typing this on a state of the art HP laptop computer with a 4 GB chip, and a 500 GB hard drive.  My entire practice is on computer including all patient care and billing.  I am having great fun surfing the World Wide Web, sending e-mail and reading the various Usernews groups.  You can contact me by using my contact page. My son, Larry, has become a web developer and put together a web site for me at drrubin.com, where I have a lot of written material and many podcasts on different medical subjects.

I have practiced endocrinology in San Francisco since 1973.  It is rough being strictly a specialist in this medical climate but it has definite advantages.  I teach medical students and lecture at the local hospitals on diabetes, thyroid disease and other endocrinopathies.  I have also had an opportunity to lecture on medical topics on four cruises, one from Tahiti to Australia, another from LA through the Panama Canal to Ft. Lauderdale, a third from San Francisco to Hawaii and the last one from Athens through the Suez Canal around the Arabian Peninsula to Bombay, India.

About twelve years ago, my med school buddy, Mike, mentioned above, invited me to celebrate the birth of his first grandchild.  He also invited Patrick McGovern who started IDG books, the Dummies publisher.  I told Pat that I thought “Diabetes for Dummies” would be a natural for their titles and he agreed.  He gave me the name of his health editor who requested a first chapter, table of contents and introduction.  She liked them and told me to write the book.  It has been a bestseller since September, 1999, when it was published.  It has sold more than a million copies and been translated into 15 languages, one of which is Russian, the language of my great grandparents.

One of my ideas was to go to great restaurants and get wonderful recipes that people with diabetes could prepare or find at the restaurant to show them that they could eat delicious food and stay on their diabetic program.  Restaurants like Charlie Trotter in Chicago, Windows on the World (World Trade Center) in New York, Border Grill in Santa Monica and Aqua in San Francisco provided great recipes, which I put in the back of the book.  My editor liked the idea so much that she proposed another book, “Diabetes Cookbook for Dummies”, including many more restaurants.  This came out in July, 2000, and is doing very well in its current third edition.

A year later I asked my publisher if I could do “Thyroid For Dummies”, which was accepted.  Next they asked me to do “High Blood Pressure For Dummies”, “Type 1 Diabetes For Dummies” and “Prediabetes For Dummies”.  With second and third editions of these various books, I have written 13 books For Dummies including “Vitamin D For Dummies”, which is about to come out.  I have really gotten into writing and hope to do much more, but always with humor.

Meanwhile my daughter Renee was married in 2005 and she and Marty have presented us with 2 gorgeous granddaughters, Eliana and Rachel.  They live on the East Coast so we get to see them only every few months.  Hopefully they will move back to the West Coast.  Renee got her PhD in Jewish Education at NYU, where I went to med school and is now a visiting scholar at Brandeis U. where I went to undergraduate.

Enid has worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Company for more than 25 years.  She supervises 20 employees who maintain all the software for the buying of gas and electricity, obviously a job of major importance for the company.

Larry is continuing to do his Internet thing, developing web applications and helping his clients with digital marketing.

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