Lucy Horton ’97
Infectious Disease Specialist
In March 2020, when Covid-19 still felt like a nebulous black hole, many people, colleagues and family members alike, turned to Lucy Horton for guidance. How do you train for a global pandemic? It’s a nightmarish scenario–a relentless cycle of seriously ill patients create an unmatched sense of urgency. As an Infectious Disease Specialist at UC San Diego, Lucy’s deep knowledge of virology and its impact on human life launched her to the frontlines of a global health crisis. And, in many ways, Lucy has spent her entire career preparing for this moment.
Before Covid-19 reached San Diego, Lucy’s practice in infectious disease included serving as Director of the UCSD Asylum-Seekers Health Program. She worked in temporary shelters and managed health screenings and medical care for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Even as a human biology major at Stanford University, and later a medical student at Tufts Medical School, she was drawn to the “interplay between the people, the pathogens, and the environment.” She moved through her residency at Mount Sinai with an awareness of what she was giving up (especially in her early twenties); she replaced family celebrations and travel with hours of grunt work, training, and studying. Mastering the science, however, was only part of her training. Developing a sensitivity to the patient experience, and understanding the emotional toll that comes with being in a hospital, is what would make Lucy a great doctor, and further, an excellent resource for the Covid pandemic.
At UC San Diego, Lucy’s role as an Infectious Disease Specialist was already dynamic and interdisciplinary. But, when Covid arrived in San Diego, the ICU immediately tapped Lucy for treatment options. Lucy scrambled for emergency authorization of Remdesivir, an antiviral medication—realizing that her role at the hospital, and her expertise in infectious diseases, would catapult her to the frontlines of the pandemic.
In the coming months, Lucy’s entire life was Covid–she became the medical director of contact tracing at UC San Diego Health, and simultaneously provided direct care for Covid patients both in the hospital and through a newly-formed Covid-19 Telemedicine Clinic, which offers video visits and telephone consults for patients. Lucy launched the clinic with three other infectious disease physicians. Lucy recalls that telemedicine, which was years in the making, “hit prime time overnight.” Suddenly, telemedicine was managing the bulk of Covid patients referred by primary care doctors or triage teams that had patients’ positive results. Though some online patients had mild symptoms, many were at higher risk and full of fear.
Lucy squeezed her telemedicine visits in between rounds at the hospital—she treated in-person patients during the day and took video calls in the evenings and on weekends. As PPE and mask protocol shifted week to week and treatment practices remained inconsistent, fear mounted in the hospital. Lucy felt that knowledge of Covid was evolving, but not quite fast enough. Lucy spoke to the “sense of paranoia” among her colleagues—no one knew how Covid was spreading, if they could contract it on surfaces, or which masks were effective.
At the end of December 2020, when many families weighed the risk of reuniting for the holidays, California was struck by its most intense wave of infections yet. UC San Diego was hit with an influx of patients, and Lucy remembers the “sheer volume of people” overwhelming the hospital. She was exhausted.
On Christmas Day, Lucy sat in her living room, taking telemedicine calls. She stayed on the west coast, unable to see her family in New York. Lucy found comfort in her patients—their ability to receive care over the holidays was a relief for them and their families, and she felt that gratitude, even through a screen.
Lucy found comfort in her colleagues, too. “At the medical center, there was multidisciplinary collaboration, all for Covid. There was a growing sense of comradery. I became friends with teams of nurses and people I’ve never worked with before. That was the silver lining…the comradery and collaboration, and the supportive staff…It felt like a big change.” She also called her medical school classmates for advice and guidance. Lucy noted how quickly health professionals pivoted during the pandemic—many took on additional roles and swiftly adapted their work in the face of the global crisis.
Lucy spoke about the vaccine rollout with pride, highlighting UC San Diego’s leadership in the vaccine effort and their ability to set up one of the country’s first super stations at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Though the emerging variants and hesitation around the vaccine reminds Lucy that her work is far from done, she is energized by the momentum of the vaccine effort.
To cope, Lucy finds comfort in the familiar—her San Diego beach runs, live-streamed yoga classes, and Facetime calls with family and friends. She threw herself into her work, and said that being in the middle of the crisis, instead of seeing it happen from the outside, made it feel more manageable. “Every day, I feel like I’m doing something to help the fight against this pandemic.”
As a member of the graduating class of 1997, Lucy says “the spirit of service and community that Grace instilled in all of us is something I’ve carried through.” In the face of an immeasurable public health crisis, Lucy’s innovation and ability to put collective over self has enabled her to serve her community well even as the overwhelming force of the pandemic continues to shape Lucy’s demanding profession.
Lucy is an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego. She received her Bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University, and her M.D. and M.P.H. from Tufts University School of Medicine . She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai and then a fellowship in infectious diseases at UC San Diego Health.
Letter from the Alumni Board Executive Team
Dear Fellow Grace Alumni,
The Grace Alumni Board is excited to embrace the future with intention.
We have adapted our leadership structure to better serve today’s Alumni Association. We have a clearer view of our forward direction. And most important, we share your belief in the values that Grace holds dear: educational excellence, cultural inclusivity, and true care for every person in our community.
Our Alumni Association is evolving. Here is what you can expect coming up in 2020-21:
- We have built a new executive team to help broaden the reach and responsibility of our volunteers and expand our leadership. The executive team structure includes four members of the Alumni Board, each of whom chairs one of the Board’s Committees (Annual Fund, Alumni Engagement & Events, and Communications & Accountability) as well as the Board Chair. We represent a variety of experiences, both professional and personal, as well as a deep love of Grace and a combined 15 years of volunteer service.
- We are planning on forging more ways for alumni across the years to be engaged and involved. We look forward to sharing a combination of in-person and virtual events with you in the coming year, so that no matter where you are in the world, you will continue to be able to join us.
- We are also proud to be launching a new website—informed by your feedback—that will help you to access information about what is happening at Grace, as well as stay better connected with your fellow alums.
All of this is just the start, and all of it comes from you; from your responses, from your generosity, and from your commitment to the school. Thank you.
We are looking forward to a great year ahead and cannot wait to welcome you back to Grace!
The Alumni Board Executive Team
Elizabeth, Annie, Cecilia, and Ogor
Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti ’04, Alumni Board Chair
Major Gifts Officer at The Public Theater
Annie Evans ’01, Annual Fund Committee Co-Chair
Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Cecilia Magnusson, ’01, Communications & Accountability Committee Chair
Senior Strategist at SYPartners
Ogor Oghedo ’06, Alumni Engagement & Events Co-Chair
Business Information Security Officer (BISO) at MassMutual
Get involved! If you would like to volunteer for the Alumni Association, email Alumni Director Tia Biasi at GCSToday@gcschool.org .
Changing of the Guard
This June, the Alumni Board bid farewell to Alumni Board chair Evan Woolley ’95, whose term has come to an end. Evan passed the gavel at reunion to incoming chair Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti ’04, who will be sharing leadership with a new team that includes Ogor Oghedo ’06, Cecilia Magnusson ’01, and Annie Evans ’01. Elizabeth thanked Evan for his service to the school and the Board and added, “The incoming leadership team is proud to continue to engage our fellow Grace alums as we enter this new chapter.”
Annie Evans, Outgoing Alumni Board Chair Evan Woolley, Ogor Oghedo and Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti (Missing: Cecilia Magnusson)
WHY I GIVE
Rome Arnold ’10
For me, giving to Grace is a way to help others have the opportunity to build the same foundations for life that I had. My time at Grace instilled values and brought me friendships that will last a lifetime, so it is important to me to pay that forward to future generations of students.
How I Give
I use a type of account called a “Donor-Advised Fund.” With these accounts, you can set aside money once that is then invested and grows tax-free for future giving. These accounts help you multiply your ability to support campaigns like the Grace Annual Fund, while making it simpler to give by handling all the logistics of any grants for you. You can even fund the account with existing investments to roll any gains forward into further giving.
Grace Trustee and Parent
Giving to Grace is my way of showing my support of, and commitment to Grace’s mission, vision and values. It’s living out my life’s motto, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s everyday choosing to live by a love ethic where “love” is an action. It’s love in action.
How I Give
I like the advantages of a recurring gift. It allows me to give more over time in a way that is feasible for me as a single mother. Giving consistently over time adds up and goes a long way, regardless of your socioeconomic status. It allows me to set it and forget it!
Save the dates for these ALUMNI EVENTS*
Friday, October 22, 2021
Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021
Class of 2020 Celebration
Monday, November 22, 2021
Grace Basketball at the Barclays Center
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
College Alumni Get-Together
Friday, April 29, 2022
Alumni Reunion Cocktail Party
Two years worth of milestone alums spanning five decades came back to Grace for Reunion in June. Even though the happy hour “picnic” was moved indoors, there was plenty of celebrating, including a warm gathering of the class of ‘71, who marked their 50th, and a festive toast to the Class of 2016, in honor of the inaugural high school class’s 5-year reunion. 2016ers had the added treat of the unveiling of their newly installed class plaque at 46 Cooper Square.
Special guests included 1960s first grade teacher, Madeline Sussman, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday and enjoyed sharing memories with former students.