I moved to Jefferson County in 1997 from Tucson, Arizona, where I worked at the Arizona Cancer Center. My husband, David, and I were recruited by the AMC Cancer Research Center to relocate to Colorado.
I missed the Sonoran desert at first because the animals and cactus are so exotic. But here, the temperature is more temperate—you can be active and outdoors all year round.
I've been married to David for 32 years. We have two grown children. We built our house in Golden, and moved there in March to be closer to the office. I love everything about Golden.
A small business doing big work
In 2002, I founded Klein Buendel, Inc., with Aimee Giese. I was awarded a particular grant that had to be awarded to a small business. Klein Buendel is a small, woman-owned health communication research and multimedia technology firm. Klein Buendel designs, develops and evaluates targeted public health interventions in collaboration with academic, public and private partners. We develop programs and evaluate them to help people reduce chronic disease or live a healthier lifestyle.
We do all kinds of work. We do a lot of research work in skin cancer prevention, tobacco cessation, physical activity and nutrition. We also do work in promoting vaccines and responsible alcohol-server training.
It's rewarding work. It's important to save lives, and help improve someone's quality of life.
Spreading the word about sun safety
Most of the research we do involves the use of technology, such as apps and websites. We developed an app called SunZapp with funds from the National Cancer Institute, and we worked with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in Boulder for the data. SunZapp helps people manage their time in the sun safely, and it's available for free.
My personal favorite project is an elementary school curriculum called Sunny Days, Healthy Ways. We get at least 25 percent of our lifetime UV exposure as children, so it's important to help kids learn how they can easily protect themselves from too much UV exposure and prevent skin cancer later in life. It's been a passion of mine for more than 20 years.
An award-winning woman
In 2006, Klein Buendel won a Tibbetts Award for Excellence in Research from the Small Business Innovative Research Program at the National Institutes of Health.
In April, my husband and I, as a couple, are being awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
Klein Buendel has scientists from all over the west-Denver area. David is our director of research.
I enjoy giving young people and recent graduates a start for their career in health communication research.
As a business-owner, I enjoy being able to develop and maintain a business culture that reflects my own principles. I like providing people with a pleasant and supportive work environment.