Diane Rippa was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1957 and came from a family of physicians. Diane and her brother Joel went to Hebrew School at Ohavi Zedek and were active in NEFTY (the New England Federation of Temple Youth) during junior and senior high school. Following in her parents' footsteps, Diane received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She returned to Burlington to get her medical degree from the University of Vermont and now runs a family practice.
Diane discusses her family background and childhood memories. Growing up, she had a close family relationship with her mother's parents, who lived in nearby Braintree. Her grandfather, a physician, had his family practice right in his home. Diane used to "hang out in his office a lot." He also took her out on house calls and was Diane's predominant role model for going into medicine. Diane's grandmother kept house and taught piano lessons. She baked delicious pies from the blueberries that Diane and her brother, Joel, helped her pick in the backyard. When Diane was three, her family moved to Vermont when her father got a teaching position in the education department at the University of Vermont. Her mother taught math at Pine Ridge, a school for children with learning disabilities. Diane describes her experiences at Hebrew School at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue and her involvement with NEFTY (the New England Federation of Temple Youth) during junior and high school. They traveled throughout New England and Canada, meeting other Jewish teenagers at social and educational gatherings. Diane recalls her college years and medical school education. Initially interested in pediatrics, a rotation with a family doctor convinced Diane to join his practice. Fifteen years later, she opened up her family practice with another woman doctor and a nurse practitioner in Essex Junction, Vermont. Diane met her husband David while on vacation at a Club Med in Cancun, Mexico. They had a commuter relationship while Diane completed her residency in Philadelphia. The two married, lived in Rutland a few years, and then moved to the Burlington area, where they raised their two sons, Benjamin and Daniel. One of the most challenging and difficult times in Diane's personal life and career was when her father was seriously ill. Even though she was a physician, Diane still had to confront the limitations of the medical community and educate herself about the complex issues surrounding elder care. She believes this experience served to make her a better physician and advocate for her own patients dealing with difficult end-of-life decisions.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Diane Rippa. Interviewed by Ann Buffum. 9 November 2008. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 29, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/rippa-diane>.
Oral History of Diane Rippa by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.