current work

Editorial Consultant 2010-present

  • copyediting: light to extensive
  • copyediting manuscripts for medical and scientific journal articles, books, edited works
  • copyediting educational material
  • formatting manuscripts to specific style guides
  • ESL editing (English as a second language)
  • content editing: assisting authors with development of their work
  • writing: assisting authors with creating a manuscript according to their specific goals

editing history

Scientific Editor   1976-1980
Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Research Team of Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.           

  • Served a large biomedical research team investigating cardiovascular disease
  • worked with scientists to prepare their manuscripts for submission to scientific journals
  • heavy copyediting and formatting for each specific publication/journal
  • substantive editing and rewriting when needed
  • checked galleys and page proofs and bluelines
  • copyedited proceedings of symposiums
  • copyedited series of books
  • catalogued slides/images used by the research team

Scientific Editor 1982-1986
Gladstone Foundation Laboratories for Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco
Robert W. Mahley, M.D., Ph.D., Director

  • Worked with scientists to prepare their manuscripts for submission to scientific journals
  • heavy copyediting and formatting for each specific publication/journal
  • substantive editing and rewriting as needed
  • checked galleys and page proofs and bluelines

Freelance Scientific Editor (medical research), San Francisco 1981-1990

  • worked with authors, publishers, and medical school departments on a variety of projects: books, newsletters, teacher’s manuals
  • copyedited a treatise in the field of urology and a definitive book on diet for prevention of heart disease
  • light to extensive copyediting
  • content editing
  • copyediting and desktop publishing of newsletters

High School Administrator, San Francisco Waldorf High School 1997-2010

  • One-third of time and effort: writing/editing/copyediting
  • edited weekly newsletters, student-oriented pamphlets
  • wrote and produced admission viewbook, including photo/image collection and formatting of document (desktop publishing)
  • edited and formatted student handbook and directory; wrote 25% of text
  • wrote feature articles for weekly newsletters
  • wrote and produced summer e-newsletters directed to parents and students
  • wrote and edited text for the school website
  • edited and copyedited accreditation document for WASC and AWSNA
  • formatted and produced admission documents (desktop publishing)
  • created forms for internal administrative use (desktop publishing)

non-editing history

Full-time Mom, San Francisco 1990-1997
Served San Francisco Waldorf School in these capacities:

  • board of trustees
  • ombudsman
  • parent volunteer
  • member, high school initiative

Personal Secretary to Cardiovascular Surgeon Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. 
President, Baylor College of Medicine and
Chairman, Department of Surgery 1971-1973

  • attended to heavy volume of telephone communications and correspondence
  • greeted and assisted VIP guests and a large number of visitors who observed surgery in the domed operating room

biographical information

From the horse and buggy country doctor serving rural communities across the South to pharmacists operating drugstores in West Texas to my father’s career as an oral surgeon in San Antonio, my family history has long been connected to the medical profession. Perhaps there is an element of destiny in my work as a scientific editor in the field of biomedical research. Whether or not this is so, I made my entry into the world on a September day in San Antonio, Texas at Brooke General Army Hospital where my father was stationed during his military service. This was shortly after the designation of Fort Sam Houston and Brooke General as the Army’s principal medical training facility. However, it was my destiny to spend only the first four years of my life in San Antonio. My family moved to the sprawling urban metropolis of Houston, a city that had a major impact on my childhood.

My love of writing began in high school where I wrote several short stories. I lived in a small German town in central Texas (population 600), and my years in this farming community of cotton and corn fields inspired me to write. At The University of Texas, I explored creative writing further and began writing poetry. Through the years, journaling about family history became the focus of my writing.

working with Dr. DeBakey

One of my earliest professional positions was serving as personal secretary to
Dr. Michael DeBakey, the renowned cardiovascular surgeon. As a young woman who had just completed four years at university with limited secretarial training, fortune came to me by virtue of a recommendation for this position by someone close to
Dr. DeBakey. It was beyond my imagination how this experience would re-calibrate my life to an exceedingly high state of energy for five and a half days each week over a two-year period. Certainly, some of this energy came from the excitement of meeting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Danny Thomas, Danny Kaye, Marlo Thomas, and Senator Ted Kennedy, who spoke at Baylor about biomedical research funding. Dean Ornish — then a medical student at Baylor — was a frequent visitor to observe surgery in the famous dome above Dr. DeBakey’s operating room. Philanthropist Eleanor Searle Whitney engaged me in fascinating conversations when she visited Dr. DeBakey. However, the core of the energy created in this atmosphere emanated from Dr. DeBakey’s daily work in the operating room and his perpetual striving to give his patients a better life. He worked tirelessly to advance surgical procedures and the understanding of cardiovascular disease. Everyone around him knew they were in the presence of true greatness, which heightened the intensity in this workplace.

continuing education

I left Dr. DeBakey’s office to continue my education at Rice University as a pre-med and psychology major. After receiving my BA degree and spending a year in graduate school at Rice in the Psychology Department, I returned to work.

becoming an editor with Dr. Gotto

That next work experience led me into the editing world. Dr. Antonio Gotto — now the Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York — was then the co-principal investigator of the only NIH Heart and Blood Vessel Research and Demonstration Center. It was he who identified my editing and writing gifts and assigned me to the post of scientific editor for his very talented biomedical research team at Baylor College of Medicine. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Gotto, a Rhodes Scholar and former President of the AMA, for leading me in this direction. It was this work that solidified my place in the editorial world and gave me excellent skills that have served me well working with authors in science, medicine, and biomedical research.

Dr. Mahley’s lab

After moving to San Francisco, I was invited to join the editorial staff of the Gladstone Foundation Laboratories for Cardiovascular Disease (now the Gladstone Institutes) by its director, Dr. Robert Mahley. My editorial skills continued to be honed under the tutelage of the chief editor, and when he left, I was promoted to succeed him.
Dr. Mahley had assembled an incredible team of investigators who came with him from the National Institutes of Health. For me, this was an important supportive role in a group that was making a major contribution to the basic research investigating cardiovascular disease. This work also enabled me to make numerous contacts at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and to develop a freelance editing service with clients from that institution.

Golden Gate Bride
the Golden Gate Bridge is the entryway to the San Francisco Bay estuary

the birth of my sons

Shortly after my first son was born, I continued my freelance editorial work so that I could work from home. Not long after the birth of my second son, I put my scientific editorial work on hold to become a full-time mom.

working with the waldorf school

As my oldest child entered the Waldorf School in San Francisco, my support role for this education, the teachers, and the school began. Soon I helped resurrect the high school initiative and worked on the site search and faculty identification prior to the school’s opening in 1997. When asked to serve as the administrative support staff by my mentor and master Waldorf teacher, David Weber, I was delighted. With the swiftness of a rushing river, my role quickly became director of admission and administrator. As it happened, tackling the challenges of developing the inner workings of the school’s administrative needs involved a great deal of writing, editing, and proofreading over a 13-year period. Editing aside, one of my favorite tasks was supporting the school’s sports program, which gave me the opportunity to serve as president of the athletic league and on the board of managers of the state section. My work in support of the high school was a labor of love. Both of my sons attended San Francisco Waldorf School from kindergarten through high school. My oldest son is now a flourishing architect in New York City, and my youngest son is a cabinetmaker’s apprentice who is considering a career in furniture design.

supporting the home front

My long-time partner and the father of my two sons, Richard Hogan, deserves major recognition. He is a master cabinetmaker with his own San Francisco custom cabinetry business, Richwood Designs. Our family is very grateful for his unfailing support and good humor during our 30 years in San Francisco.

photos of san francisco bay

© peter zabelin 2003


San Francisco Chrissy Field habitat restoration at Crissy Field



Ship on San Francisco Bay tall ships: part of the drama of San Francisco Bay

editing services to
San Francisco Waldorf High School…

"In fact, in the first years, Ms. Allen also served as Admissions Officer, and was instrumental in the growth of our student body. She developed many fine outreach materials, booklets and brochures, which she produced at low cost by learning new desktop publishing software and applying those skills to the school’s needs." ---Joan Caldarera, former Head of Administration, SF Waldorf High School

"Ms. Allen helped develop the student handbook and other [print] documents that are now standard references for both faculty and parents. As the high school became more established, she also helped develop [content for] our website." ---Paolo Carini, PhD, Physics Faculty, SF Waldorf High School

San Francisco Alcatraz

Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate Bridge at Night

San Francisco Bay Bridge is a nighttime showcase

San Francisco Pier

an artist's eye captures a pier scene in San Francisco Bay