But then a change in her personal life shifted the trajectory of her career and brought her to the Douglaston non-sectarian mental health agency at 243-02 Northern Blvd. "I divorced while in a graduate program at CUNY," Garber said Monday. "There were no jobs in philosophy, and I knew I had to support two young children."So she turned to what she said she knew best after philosophy: hospital administration. "I worked my way through school in hospitals," said Garber, who was born and raised in Brooklyn and lives on Long Island. After concluding her philosophy work at the University of Iowa, she went on to get her master's degree in hospital administration from Penn State and returned to New York in 1984.Garber was chosen to replace Paula Held, who stepped down July 1 after 24 years at the helm of the center to spend more time with her family and work part time in development at Pride's Manhattan-based parent agency, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. Garber said she was happy to join Pride, which is known for its innovative family and senior programs."The Pride has such a wonderful reputation and the opportunity existed to do some very good work," she said. "Wonderful staff, beautiful facility, what more could I ask?"Garber praised Held's legacy and the center's staff that she said makes her work easier."Paula left me an agency in wonderful circumstances. I'm working on strengthening what we have," Garber said. "My first job is to oversee operations that affect clients, but I also oversee operations that affect staff. We have a wonderful staff. This is a wonderful agency that reaches out to the community. It's proactive as well as reactive, and one reason it's effective is that everybody likes being here. It makes for a good combination between staff and clients."In addition to the popular Club Pride, which Garber cited as a successful social program for mentally ill older adults, she said she was interested in the pediatric programs at the center. "I'm very interested in children's programs. So many children are children of divorce, and some have anxieties, some have behavioral problems," she said. "We have wonderful therapists who treat children. It's a wonderful opportunity to provide services if needed.""It's a difficult time for children to grow up," she added.Garber is the former executive director of South Queens Committee on Ambulatory Care and has worked at Booth Memorial Hospital as administrative manager of the department of pediatrics. She has also worked at Montefiore Hospital and North Shore-LIJ Hospital. She anticipates that heading a smaller agency will be rewarding."It allows me to appreciate the things that you can do to provide services to communities that you can't do in a very large institution," she said.And Garber will still be able to bring her academic training to bear on her new position. "I'm trained to think rationally and logically. It's helpful in planning ahead, setting goals and tactical plans," she said. "And I read a lot of philosophy in my spare time."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
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