Skip to main content

The GE Brief — May 12, 2020

Ge Reports Staff
May 12, 2020

GE Brief logo

May 12, 2020

Rachel & Andrea


As a mother and a grandmother, Dr. Rachel Brem counted family among her blessings this Mother’s Day — but she had something else to be thankful for, too. Brem and her husband, Henry, are survivors of COVID-19, falling ill in March and spending several weeks at home recovering. Brem knows better than most how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting healthcare: As the director of breast imaging and intervention and a professor of radiology at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C, she’s made it her life’s work to spread the word on routine breast screening, which can increase women’s chances of successful treatment. Some patients are having to postpone those screenings for now — but Brem is still getting her message out.

Knowledge is power: Brem’s life is a profound testimony to the benefits of early screening (and a mother’s influence). Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Brem was 12; given six months to live, she enjoyed another 43 years. Brem herself diagnosed her own breast cancer while evaluating a new piece of equipment for her practice. Now, with her daughter Andrea Wolf, she’s creating new ways to empower women through the Brem Foundation, a charitable organization that works to ensure that breast cancer is caught in the early stages. There are links to the coronavirus pandemic, Brem said: “We want to remind people that there are similarities between breast cancer and COVID-19, both of which involve knowing the risks and being proactive, which can have a significant and life-saving impact.”

Learn more here about Rachel Brem’s remarkable life — and life’s work.



A new engineering degree in hand, Lee Dillon joined GE in 1984 with the expectation that she’d work on aeromechanics — basically, the science of how planes fly. She was part of the company’s Edison Engineering Development Program, which since its launch has funneled top engineering talent to all of GE’s core businesses, from aviation to healthcare. To her disappointment at the time, Dillon never got the placement in aeromechanics she wanted. But to her relief — and her surprise — she ended up in a field she loved so much she stayed for 20 years, and returned to after she raised four children. (Ironically, it was the one subject that had bored her to tears in college: stress analysis.) Now, as part of the Edison program’s senior leadership team, Dillon is leading tomorrow’s top engineers into their own careers.

Stress reliever: The engineering development program, GE’s largest, currently trains 650 Edisons (as they’re called) at 60 sites across 28 countries. Dillon oversees 66 of those Edisons, in what she calls the “best job ever” — part admissions officer, part guidance counselor and part HR exec. In January, Dillon met with 60 other Edison leaders at the GE Research campus in Niskayuna, New York, to discuss the future of the program itself: Namely, what do engineers need to thrive in this rapidly changing world? Shaped by her own experience, Dillon urges her young charges to adapt to disappointment and embrace risks. The strategy seems to be working: Every engineer she’s worked with has finished the program.

Learn more here about how Lee Dillon is helping young engineers find their paths.



1. Old Drugs, New Tricks?
Researchers in California are analyzing drugs already approved by the FDA to find candidates effective against COVID-19.

2. Llama Mia!
At the University of Texas at Austin, scientists found a potential tool against COVID-19 in an unlikely place: antibodies produced by llamas.

3. COVID Search Engine
A team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created a text-mining tool that runs on a supercomputer and uses machine learning to help users search through the mountain of scientific work being created about the coronavirus.

Click here for more promising developments in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.



“I’ve known Dr. Brem for many years and what defines her is that she really goes out of her way to help patients. Even during the current circumstances, she continues to encourage patients to manage their risks and keep themselves healthy. Our biggest concern is that women forget the importance of their breast health. In the end, our goal is to make sure they only get their screening postponed by one month rather than three or four.”

Jill Spear, U.S. commercial manager for Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) at GE Healthcare



Quote: GE Reports. Image: Rachel Brem.


Please send it to your friends and let them know they can subscribe here.