Dr. Melissa Margaret Dowd, 30, a native of Tacoma, Wash., resident of Fresno for five months, and former York County, Virginia resident, died Nov. 16, 2012, in Fresno, as a result of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. She was in her first year of residency at UCSF Fresno Community Hospital.
Melissa was a 2000 graduate of Grafton High School; a 2005 graduate from Virginia Tech with B.S. degrees in biology and psychology, master’s in biology; a 2007 graduate from Emory University with a master’s in epidemiology; and in 2012 received her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. As part of her medical education, she spent time in Kenya doing research for burn victims, Tanzania at an AIDS orphanage, and Sierra Leone at a health clinic. She also worked at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta after graduation from Emery.
Melissa was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, American Medical Society, American Public Health Association, American Society of Microbiology, and Phi Beta Kappa.
While at Virginia Tech, she was section leader for the Vtones in the Marching Virginians. She always enjoyed traveling with friends and loved snowboarding.
Melissa is survived by her mother, Doreen Anastas, of Middleboro, Mass., formerly of King City; her father, Steve Dowd and wife, Pattie, of Tabb, Va.; two brothers, Brian Dowd and wife, Angie and their children, d’Artagnan, Carol, Haley, and Kaytlynn, and Jim Dowd and girlfriend, Brittany, all of Newport News, Va.; a sister, Amy Lerstad and friend, David and her son, Mikey, all of Newport News; aunts and uncles, Darlene Anastas, of Massachusetts, Lois and Ed Panziera, and Bill and Sue Anastas all of California; Alan and Jo Ann Dowd, of Minnesota; and numerous cousins.
A memorial service was held at UCSF, Fresno. Graveside services were held at Parklawn Memorial Park in Hampton, Virginia.
Memorial contributions may be made to Dr. Melissa Dowd Memorial Fund at UCSF-Fresno for assisting resident doctors in crisis because of her impact on the resident program there. Checks can be made to CCFMG (Central California Faculty Medical Group), c/o Mary Swenson, 155 N. Fresno St., Ste. 205, Fresno, CA, 93701; or to Doctors without Borders. Melissa had thought about working with this organization someday. She partially chose emergency medicine as a career as it would allow her to participate in international health programs like this; (www.doctorswithoutborders.org); or to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) because of how much love and joy her dog, Bailey, brought into her life (www.aspca.org). Online condolences to www.claytorrollins.com.
“Melissa could not finish the path she chose. Pick up the torch and hold it high and make a difference in the lives of others.”
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