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Bayside woman heading to Cambodia for Pfizer

Hogan, a Bayside native who works for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, is on her way to Siem Reap, Cambodia as part of the company's Global Health Fellows philanthropic program that sends senior researchers to Third World countries to work on epidemic diseases. She was scheduled to leave from Kennedy Airport Wednesday night to stay in the Asian country for three months.Hogan, who has never been to Cambodia before, said because the fellowship program began in 2003, she was able to prepare for her journey through former participants."I get to benefit from previous experience," she said during a recent visit to her father's house near Francis Lewis Boulevard, where she grew up. "One of the questions I asked was how much weight did you lose."Despite the jokes, her time in Cambodia will be devoted to serious life-saving measures. Hogan will tap into her two decades of microbiology experience at Lenox Hill Hospital as well as her ten years of work on developing anti-infective drugs for Pfizer for her project at a children's hospital, where she will instruct staff on diagnostic procedures."I'm going to the Angkor Hospital for Children, which was built in 1999 and started by a Japanese photographer who was there shooting pictures and he realized there was no facility for children there," she said. "The hospital is trying to expand their services. I'll be there to set up protocols and teach the local staff how to set up their labs."Her trip is all the more exciting because she has spent most of her life in the New York area. Born in Astoria, Hogan attended Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Bishop Riley, and got her undergraduate degree in medical technology at St. John's University and her master's in business at Baruch College in Manhattan. She now lives in Port Washington, L.I."I haven't left home before," she said. "I think being in a completely foreign environment will be stimulating. I'll be completely removed from everything familiar, but I'm old enough not to be nervous."Hogan acknowledged that despite the local economy's growth and nascent political stability, Cambodia remains a desperately poor country."(Siem Reap) is going to be a town of contrasts, with the middle class there but also the poorest of the poor," she said. "I think it will be hard to see that and experience it emotionally."In preparation for her stay, Hogan has sent over some supplies and staples."I shipped some food over, like Tootsie Rolls (for the children) because it's going to be hot and a lot of candy would melt," she said. "I also sent some Power Bars for myself, some treats."Pfizer also provides $2,000 in discretionary funds for Hogan to spend on necessary equipment for the hospital.In the middle of her time abroad, however, Hogan has plans for a quick trip back to the States."I will come back for my daughter's college graduation in May in Boston, and then go back (to Cambodia)," she said. "It's kind of like playing hooky."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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