“I don’t think I can keep making films anymore:” How the events of September 11 changed a woman’s career


MADISON (WKOW) – Some local heroes are in the roles they are today because they answered the call for help after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This is the case with Lisa Arkin, who said her life had been so transformed by the time she spent helping victims at a trauma center near Ground Zero that she made the decision to change her mind. career.

In 2001, Arkin had just graduated from college and started working in entertainment in New York City, helping writers create their narrative for cable TV.

“I was on my way to Tribeca around 9 am when the first tower was hit,” Arkin said.

On that fateful day, the former TV producer said she couldn’t script a more spooky scene.

“The smell, the thick smoke that hung in the air, really for weeks, the palpable anxiety that it could happen again anytime,” she said.

As the dust blew up, it would be Arkin’s life that became clearer.

“In the weeks that followed, I actually spent time volunteering at the level one trauma center closest to the disaster,” she said. “It was all the voices, the phone calls, the feeling of helplessness, the kids who had spent months in the hospital and watched this disaster literally out of the Seventh Avenue window. It’s the aggregation. of these events that led me to say: I don’t think I can continue making films. “

Wanting to do more, Lisa’s thoughts turned to a career in medicine. This path that would lead her to UW health.

“I am a pediatric dermatologist, caring for children with skin diseases,” she said. “Funny how it takes tragedy to precipitate change. I was supposed to be a doctor, we have the best job in the world, there is nothing better than to be cured.”

Arkin had no idea that working in the medical field would put her on the front lines of another battle.

“20 years later, you know, here we are in another disaster, where, you know, we lost 3,000 people in one day of September 11 and at the height of this pandemic we lost over 3,000 not just in just one day, but day after day after day, ”she said.“ I think we just have to never forget what happened and just try to continue to heal as a nation and to heal from this pandemic together. “

Arkin said that as a pediatric dermatologist with UW Health, she has been involved in research that helps heal children in Wisconsin and around the world.

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Kehoe Young

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