P. Hamburger, advocate for mentally ill

January 25, 1998|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF

Pauline "Paula" Elizabeth Hamburger, a longtime champion for mental health and aid to the poor, died of cancer Jan. 17 at her Baltimore home. She was 89.

Trained as a social worker, Mrs. Hamburger helped found Johns Hopkins Hospital's Community Psychiatry Mental Health Program in 1969. Through it, she advocated providing better health and education services to children, especially those in the impoverished neighborhoods around the city hospital.

"She championed the cause of children and their need for mental health services," said Dr. William Breakey, a psychiatrist at Hopkins.

While with Hopkins, she worked with East Baltimore community leaders to refocus the health curriculum of Dunbar High School and led the first support group for teen-age parents at the city's Laurence G. Paquin School.

Born in Hartford, Conn., she attended Cornell University and the University of Michigan, where she graduated in 1930.

She and her first husband, Dr. Edward B. Greenspan, lived in New York City, where she earned a certificate from the New York School of Social Work in 1933. That marriage ended in divorce.

She moved to Baltimore in 1946, when she married Adolf L. Hamburger, an investment banker.

Mrs. Hamburger earned a master's degree in social work in 1966 from Columbia University. Three years later, she was hired as the first employee of Hopkins' new community mental health program. When she retired in 1985, the program had become a major institution serving East Baltimore, according to Dr. Breakey.

She was a longtime board member of the Mental Health Association of Metropolitan Baltimore and served as president of Hopkins' Milton S. Eisenhower Friends of The Libraries. In that role, she endowed a book fund in her late husband's name for African-American studies.

Services for Mrs. Hamburger were held on Monday.

She is survived by a son, John Greenspan of Gaithersburg; a sister, Anna Shure of New Haven, Conn.; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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