Memories of Our Masthead: Julie Cappelletti-Lange

A tribute to our dear friend and colleague, Julie Cappelletti-Lange.

By Michele Vaccarello Wagner, Senior Digital Editor

My monthly column in our print magazine sits adjacent to our masthead, which contains the names of the people who help put this magazine together. You most likely skip right over it month after month. (It’s okay to admit—I do as well.)

A masthead, of course, is also a nautical term—the top of a ship’s mast, which rises above the sails, rigging, booms, deck and everything else. In layman’s terms, it guides the rest of the ship. 

I ask you to take a quick look towards the bottom of our masthead. You’ll see the name of Julie Cappelletti-Lange, whose name has been there every month since our very first issue in 2003. Julie was the Part-Owner, Vice President and head of Human Resources of Putman Media for more than 28 years. In late April she passed away, very tragically and unexpectedly, after a week-long battle with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a one-in-a-million disease triggered by an adverse reaction to a common antibiotic. Taking a drug to make her feel better ended up taking her life. She had just turned 50 years old.

Julie Cappelletti-Lange
Julie Cappelletti-Lange

I wish a magazine masthead could list so much more.

I wish it could tell you that she was the heart and soul of the Putman Media family. I wish it could say that she was a strong, intelligent businesswoman who helped create the company’s brands and nurture and inspire the people behind them.

I wish it could tell you that she was extremely kind, witty and a great storyteller and that her bright energy always kept everyone around her in good spirits.

I wish it could tell you she was a single mother of four who raised her children to be strong and assertive, but also compassionate and humane.

And I wish it could tell you that, in addition to all her business and family responsibilities, she spent her remaining time doing endless charity work around the community, and even opening her home at holidays for those without a place to call home.

Julie gave herself honestly and completely and was truly the masthead of our own company ship, to use a cliche. She was the one who kept everything and everyone afloat, kept the oars in constant motion but also knew when one of us needed a little extra help.

I hope that there is an individual in your own company that sounds like Julie, and that he/she knows how very much they’re appreciated.

Recently, a team of FDA researchers, led by Michael Norcross in CDER’s Office of Pharmaceutical Sciences, have made progress in learning how to identify and understand drug-related autoimmune reactions. “We hope that, in the future, health care professionals will be able to identify people who are at high risk of developing serious reactions to various drugs, and offer them alternative treatments,” said CDER director Janet Woodcock.

FDA and the pharmaceutical industry do so much good, but also have such an important mission in regard to patient well-being and safety.

It is tragically too late for our Julie, but it is my truly great hope that research like this can help save the lives of others who might otherwise experience adverse, and even life-threatening, reactions to medication.  

In the meantime, we here at Putman Media will all keep sailing strongly on in the loving memory of our dear friend and colleague, Julie Cappelletti-Lange.

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