Lila Nachtigall, Lisa Nachtigall, Margaret Nachtigall
In many families with daughters, female hormones are a running joke. For the Drs. Nachtigall, they’re serious life’s work. Pioneering researcher and clinician Lila, 84, helped get America talking about menopause and the role of estrogen in women’s health starting in the 1970s. She still teaches at New York University and shares a thriving New York City practice with fellow reproductive endocrinologist and daughter Margaret, 56. Lisa, 15 months younger, co-directs a neuroendocrine and pituitary-tumor center at Mass General in Boston. (Another daughter, Ellen, is a judge.)
“I remember our parents reading the New England Journal
of Medicine case of the week on the beach like it was a puzzle to discuss and figure out,” says Lisa.
“We both ended up in medicine because she was an
unbelievable role model, able to balance an incredible career with family,” says Margaret.
“The reason I keep working and have no desire to retire is because it’s so great to practice with my daughter,” Lila says. Something daughters learned from mother: “That there’s a lot of art to medicine, it’s not all data-driven, and every patient is different; you have to treat that patient,” Lisa says.