Mae Sokol Burger
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BURGER--Mae Sokol, M.D., 56, Academic child psychiatrist, died Saturday, November 17 in Omaha, NE, from complications of lymphoma. Mae Sokol Burger, M.D. was Associate Professor at the Creighton University School of Medicine. She was the Director of the Eating Disorders Program at Children's Hospital in Omaha. She was a published author, an accomplished researcher and teacher, and nationally known for her treatment of pediatric eating disorders. Dr. Sokol was the first to describe infection-triggered Anorexia Nervosa (PANDAS). Dr. Sokol trained in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital, NY. She was an Examiner at the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. She was an editorial board member of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, and Open Psychiatry Journal. She was a reviewer for Depression and Anxiety, and Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. Her Brooklyn High School experience volunteering to help blind children inspired her to change her career choice from an initial interest in writing to the helping field of medicine. Her professional accomplishments were driven by a sincere desire to help those in need. She was a loving wife and mother, and a caring professional. She is survived by her husband, Scott Burger, son, Levi Sokol, and stepson, Steven Burger.

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Published in New York Times on Nov. 22, 2007.
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71 entries
December 2, 2016
I found this very late, but I must add to the wonderful comments just one more. Mae Sokol save my life more then once and although stern, so very wise. I say a prayer of thanks to her today and a prayer of comfort and warm memories to all whom loved her. Rest in peace.
Jennifer Gillespie
May 23, 2013
I loved Mae and we were friends. May her spirit soar and hover near all that is pure and true. Such gentleness and sweet soul's expression were present in her every breath. My sweet sister how I am emptied with your leaving this life. How we laughed and cried together. Be still my angel and rest till we meet in our eternal home. Watch over me sweet Mae, that I might know your presence and be a better person for it. Sweet slumber my dearest and most precious friend. All my love.
Carol Siefker
January 16, 2009
I am very sorry for you loss. I was shocked to hear that Dr. Sokol had died. I liked to call her every few years just to say hi. That was actually how I found out about her death.
I want you to know that her sincerity and care for me made a huge difference. She was my doctor and my friend when I was at my lowest. My prayers are with you.
Sarah Willy
September 11, 2008
This is simply to say that even today, Dr. Sokol's impression remains strong with me. I remember her as if it were yesterday. She was not only a brilliant doctor, researcher, and person-but someone who undoubtedly fulfilled more than most.
Grace Davila
September 8, 2008
My very deepest condolences to the Sokol family.
The world lost not only a brilliant doctor, but a wonderful person. Dr. Sokol quite literally saved the life of a very troubled twelve-year-old girl about thirteen years ago.
I owe my life to you, Dr. Sokol.
Margaret Maffia
February 25, 2008
So sorry for the loss of Dr. Sokol. She was a great doctor who helped me tremendously when I was 14. It has been 9 years and I was looking for her email address when I found this website. I will never forget her amazing ability to still be touched by patients after years as a doctor-- she cried when I left. I offer my condolences for the loss of this great woman.
Sarah Engel
February 20, 2008
I feel so sorry for this great lost of your wonderful wife, Scott. Hope we can keep contact again after more than 30 years of the long lost relation with you family, I miss Nancy and all of you.
chutatip vadhanasindhu umavijani
January 31, 2008
I was shocked to hear about the loss of Dr. Sokol. She was an excellent doctor to my daughter and a comfort to me. She was the only one after many Drs. to finally diagnose Kennedy with PANDAS. We were truly grateful for her help. She will be missed by many!
Jodi Pieken
January 10, 2008
I would want Dr. Sokol's family to know how generous she was with her time and her words, both written and spoken, to patients and long past the patient-doctor relationship. For six weeks I was in New York, during a difficult time, she took personal time to write every day; took off-hours phone calls; worked ardently on my behalf; and always offered hope and underscored possiblities and healing. She told me to save my own words to her and her replies, emphasizing they were mine to keep and encouraging me to "write a book someday." Her "inbox" was always open. I have held onto the advice, compassion and intense challenge to be bold, brave, and expect and seek the best from myself. I am sorry for the family's loss and the grief of those who knew her well. It always felt good that she remembered me; details of my life. Piercing eyes, even acceptance, and an air of accountability made me want to be a better person. Reading about her life has been a gift, to realize moreso even than before how blessed I was to work with her.
A grateful former patient
January 10, 2008
Scott, Mae, Levi, Steven May 11, 2006
January 9, 2008
At Yosemite Nov 2005
January 1, 2008
i did not know you Dr mae personally but i knew your son,levi,and perhaps through him,i knew you though we never met.
levi was my intern and was full of life.he was always fair,compassionate and related well with the IMGs of which I was one.he had no airs and spoke impeccable english.sometimes,we disagreed but i loved levi.He was true..that is the highest compliment i can pay to anyone...and i once told him that whoever raised him,did a wondeful job.i learnt of your death on january 1st ,2008 through Dr pamela,a mutual friend.late as this may be,please accept my condolence and may God bless and guide you all
michael aninyei
December 18, 2007
Dr. Sokol was such a kind, warm hearted and generous woman. She was a true patient advocate and was dedicated to finding the cause and cure of eating disorders. My sympathy goes out to her family, friends and those that were her patients. She will be missed.
Joy Rich
December 16, 2007
like brittany said.i dont even know what to say.dr sokol helped save my life as i was suffering from bulimia.she had so much hope for me who had so little for myself.may she rest in peace and never be forgotten for the wonderful work she has done and many lives she has saved..we love you dr sokol <3
laura garst
December 7, 2007
Dear Levi & Scott and all Mae’s family,
Mae & I met while working together on the ED unit at the Menninger Clinic. After that we kept in touch by email & holiday cards.
As I think of Mae I initially think of how extremely dedicated she was to her clients well being. She was able to be so kind and gracious yet, stand her ground when necessary. She had strong ideas yet maintained a curiosity and openness to new ideas. She also had an incredible ability to network with other researchers and clinicians in a way I’ve never seen before or since.
She so often talked about her son Levi with such love and gratitude –she was so proud of you.
Mostly, I will miss knowing she is available to check in with about professional or personal projects as I did so often. She was always available, supportive and willing to listen and offer help if requested. I will miss you Mae Sokol. God Bless You and your family.
Sarah Bremer Parks
December 6, 2007
I had the honor and the good fortune to work with Mae in our Eating Disorders Program at Childrens Hospital in Omaha, Ne. Her compassion extended to staff as well as the patients. I learned a great deal from her and miss her very much. My condolences to the family. My prayers are with you.
Jean Harrison
December 6, 2007
I am so grateful for crossing paths with this genuinely caring and devoted doctor who has impacted not only my life when she was my doctor at Menninger years ago but the countless number of others as well. My condolances to her family and friends and colleagues. I will never forget her and am saddened to hear of her passing but am sure she has lived a fullfilling life.
Angela G.
December 4, 2007
Scott and family,
I just this evening heard of Mae's passing and am deeply saddened. We kept saying we were going to get together again after she left Children's and didn't. Words can't express my feelings for and about her. I learned so much from her about Eating Disorders. I admired her professionalism, her dedication, and her expertise. I counted her as friend and was privileged to be able to share with her. Her professionalism never faltered, yet she also demonstrated a sensitive soul who truly loved. Thank you for sharing her with so many. May God bless your family.
Jean Beeler
December 4, 2007
Steve Seifert and I extend our heartfelt condolences to Mae's family. Although we knew Mae only briefly, it was evident that her intelligence and compassion were the foundation of a life dedicated to helping others. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Sandy Mishkin
December 2, 2007
May Ha'Shem comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Nina Sokol
December 2, 2007
"Monya" (she was always Monya and not Mae to me) and I had a very special relationship dating back to our years at Brooklyn College. We helped run a volunteer tutoring program together called "La Casa" for the disadvantaged children in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She ALWAYS put her needs aside to be there for others...truly and deeply altruistic, compassionate and most of all, EMPATHIC. I remember visiting her in Belgium right after the birth of her son, Levi. I recall holding her 2 week old son in my arms and looking down upon him thinking: "Levi, you sure are a fortunate person to be born to such a loving and giving mother such as Monya!" Monya and I would have telephone conversations back in our college days into the wee hours of the night/morning (usual calls would last about 4 hours) but the calls never seemed lengthy...they were always centered upon how we could bring better lives for the children to which we volunteered our services. Without Monya, I probably wouldn't have become a doctor...I tend to procrastinate and she would stay on me daily until I finally sent out my if I have been fortunate enough to have helped anyone in my career, Monya deserves a large portion of the credit. Monya, your love has touched all of those who have been fortunate enough to know you. You will be sorely missed. I will always love you! Be at peace!

Marvin Reich, M.D.
December 2, 2007
I was Mae's research assistant at the Menninger Clinic. She was a brilliant clinician and a caring person. I will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Pam Ward
December 1, 2007
Wedding reception.
December 1, 2007
Wedding 9/97 a happy day.
November 30, 2007
On behalf of the nursing staff who had the honor of working with Dr. Sokol at the Menninger Children's Hospital, Eating Disorder Program in Topeka, KS, I extend deepest sympathy to the Sokol-Burger family. Dr. Sokol's legacy will live on in the clinicians that she inspired and the young lives that she helped to transform.
Cindy Whitney
November 30, 2007
I distinctly remember the first time that I met Mae. Since then, my contact with her has been limited to annual meetings, committees, and e-mails. I am grateful to Mae for sharing her knowledge, as well as her commitment to the field and conviction that we are doing something extremely important and valuable. Mae will be missed.
Christina Reiter
November 30, 2007
Mae Sokol left us a foot print of humanity, dignity, wisdom, and compassion. I will always be grateful for our journey since the early days at Cornell and later ones puzzling together how to provide those who suffer from eating disorders the best possible care. Many thanks....
Denise Heebink
November 29, 2007
I have Known Mae since Medical School. She was a great friend, an inspiration to all for her determination, wit and intelligence. And even though I had not seen her in many years I will surely miss her.
Lucy Bayer
November 28, 2007
Beyond compassionate, dedicated and bright, Mae took conscientious caring to the next level. I always knew that the patients and families I sent her way would be treated with the utmost respect and regard for their well-being. Hers was a star that shined with no pretense or need for singularity--a stellar presence in her field and in the community of her patients.
Beth McGilley
November 28, 2007
Mae was a very special woman and a wonderful professional. It is not how much she did, but how much love she put in the doing. It is not how much she gave, but how much love she put in the giving. Please accept my deepest condolences.
Bonnie Harken
November 28, 2007
I never had the honor of meeting Mae, but I am grateful for her contributions to the field of eating disorder recovery study & treatment. We were fortunate to benefit from her many contributions.
Jacquelyn Ekern
November 28, 2007
I just want to send my condolances to the family and share my thoughts. I didn't have much time with Mae but whenever I had a question or a consult, she was so wonderful. She was such a role model for those of us in the field.
Vicki Berkus
November 28, 2007
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mae. She was a friend of ANAD, a respected colleague and a warm and giving human being. We have lost one of the best and we will miss her dearly.
Pat Santucci
November 28, 2007
I am blessed to have known Mae. She was always a welcome face at conferences. I enjoyed catching up each time and discussing her interests in the field. I will miss her. My prayers are with her family in their time of grief.
Leah Graves
November 28, 2007
Mae called me two months ago to check on my wife who has been ill, never giving even a hint of the extent of her own illness. She was one of the most genuine and most caring clinicians that I have ever known. I will certainly miss her. My condolences to Scott and the rest of the family.
Joel Jahraus
November 28, 2007
I knew Mae from my residency program at NYU and then had the pleasure of meeting up with her again in the Eating Disorders field. My husband, Rich, and I want to share our warmest thoughts, support, and sympathy to her family and friends.
Martha Peaslee Levine, M.D.
November 28, 2007
I was saddened to hear of Mae's illness and death. She was one of the nicest and gentlest people I'd ever met. Our whole field will miss her.
Doug Bunnell
November 28, 2007
Mae touched our lives going back to our respective training and employment at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Mae was a warm, sincere, thoughtful and welcoming person who touched many lives. We are shocked and saddenned. Please accept our deepest sympathies. Our hearts go out to all of her friends and to her family.
Wendy Oliver-Pyatt and Michael Pyatt
November 28, 2007
Dr. Mae Sokol was a pioneer in how to treat children with eating disorders, and many of us held her in high esteem as an example of how to work with this misunderstood group. I consider her the world wide expert in this field, and her theories on the relationship between virus exposure and eating disorder development were brilliant. I will miss her outstanding contributions to our field.
Maria Rago
November 27, 2007
Mae and I did not have the pleasure of directly working together, but we corresponded and talked at conferences, for we were two of a few who felt strongly that the roots of childhood eating disorders lay in the biology of the brain and possibly in the brain's interaction with environmental triggers such as infectious agents. We laughed together at the resistance we both got to this concept. I am winking at you, Mae, across the ether and am so sorry you had to go before you could find out the answer. We are all still searching for that answer. Honor and respect to you.
Julie O'Toole
November 27, 2007
Growing up in Brooklyn.
November 27, 2007
Mae about 11 years old.
November 27, 2007
Mae Sokol was about the sweetest person I've ever met. I collaborated with her editorially and we often spoke at conferences. She had a tremendous impact on the eating disorders field, and we will all miss her.
Leigh Cohn
November 27, 2007
Mae will be sorely missed by her family, professional colleagues and patients. However, I believe, after we mourn her loss, that she would prefer us to honor her memory by following her example of respectful caring, energizing curiosity, and collaborative partnerships in what we do.
Rich Kreipe
November 27, 2007
Manya was a brilliant and beautiful person, corageous to the end and always thoughtful and caring of others. Her professional accomplishments will live on as will her memory of those lives she has touched.
Rebecca Shiffman
November 27, 2007
I heard the sad news about Mae's death today. I didn't realize that she was sick and I am just so sorry about this incredible loss. I knew Mae through our shared work in eating disorders. I met her at different meetings and once when I was giving a talk in Sioux City, she and her husband gave me a ride to the airport. She made me feel so good that day since she had purchased a few copies of my book and brought them for me to sign - I was so honored. Mae was a lovely, passionate, caring, and intelligent woman. She always had a smile on her face and a nice word to share. She contributed so much to the field of eating disorders, and, as can be seen by the entries here, to her patients' lives. I will miss seeing her at meetings but she leaves a legacy behind her. I hope her family will find strength from your many wonderful life memories.
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
November 27, 2007
A magnificent light has gone out. Mae and I met years ago at an IAEDP conference in San Diego.

She was warm, brilliant, cheerful, open to new ideas and new rspectives and cared so much for her patients and the people who worked with the eating disordered population.

Through the years I have referred patients to her clinic, got support and help from her when trying to place a patient, and always felt her glowing presence in the eating disorder healing community. I didn't know how much of a presence she was to me until I heard the news of her death.

To confer with Mae about the care of a patient was like talking with a highly intelligent and caring family member about a person we both loved, cherished and for whom we wanted the best possible care.

I will miss her and mourn her.
Joanna Poppink, MFT
November 26, 2007
Mae Sokol was a remarkable clinician and researcher who will be dearly missed in the profession. I am so sad to hear this news but will always remember the years of working with Mae at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. She was deeply compassionate and supportive to colleagues at every level.

Kathryn Zerbe, MD
Kathryn Zerbe
November 26, 2007
It's been years since I was discharged from the unit in which Dr. Sokol directed. Not only did I witness the lives she saved, I was one of them. Time cannot fade the thankfullness we all have for our lives. Dr. Sokol, you were a truly hardworking individual. I don't believe I ever saw you take a "breather". You were always too involved in how to help others. I admire you and all you've accomplished. I hope I can follow in your steps and help others. You truly inspire me. Rest in peace.
Kelly Sidlinger
November 25, 2007
Our hearts are broken at the loss of this remarkable and special woman. She saved our daughter's life in 2003 and was so incredibly special to us. She left a wonderful legacy. We pray God's peace for your family.
Dean, Jane and Hannah Wedekind
November 25, 2007
Wow....I don't even know what to say. Doctor Sokol was an amazing person. She saved my life. If it weren't for her, I don't know if I would be here today. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. She will never be forgotten.
Brittany Schaben
November 25, 2007
Dr. Mae Sokol was a wonderful person and physician. I am sorry to hear of the loss of this tough, talented, caring, and passionate woman. I am happy to know her and to have worked with her. She always had good advice and cared about the people around her.
Kristi Randall
November 25, 2007
How proud you must be of Mae. Thank you for sharing her and her incredible wisdom with us. Her dedication was admirable. In the short time our paths crossed, we were amazed of her patience and kindness. We were truly blessed to have her in our lives. We hope your memories will comfort you in your time of loss.
Dennis and Dana Bishop
November 25, 2007
Dr. Sokol, was an amazing person who touched the lives of many patients and thier families. She truly cared and dedicated herself to helping others overcome Eating Disorders. It was an honor to work alongside her, I will miss her very much.
Michelle Spink
November 24, 2007
Dr. Sokol was an incredible mentor. She taught me so much about what it means to be a physican. She cared deeply for her patients, friends and family. Her mentorship was a gift I carry in my heart and strive to share.
Nicole Christiansen
November 23, 2007
I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Sokol was a every brilliant woman who spent her short life saving many, many other peoples life's.(those with eating disorders) such as mine. she was and is a wonderful woman and will be in many people's memories for a long time. i know she will always be in mine.
Stephanie Christensen
November 23, 2007
Dr. Sokol had an amazing impact on my life and many others who suffer from an eating disorder. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
Megan Harris
November 22, 2007
Mae's profound medical insight was part of her being, but for us she was a positive force both simpler and rarer, a friend. It was a joy to be with her: she brought her whole self and her goodness to visits and talks. She always thought about what we needed, and she was able -- even to the last -- to give thoughtful, good advice in a way that made us listen and learn. Mae was truly kind and, for all her sophistication and knowledge, idealistic too. It is not a quality much remarked today, and Mae herself was thoroughly egalitarian, but she had a noble spirit. We miss her very much. We send our love to Scott, Levi, Steven and the many kinfolk and colleagues and other friends who loved her and feel her loss. -- Susan and Joe Ferraro
Susan Ferraro
November 22, 2007
I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Sokol was an extremely brilliant woman who touched so many lives. She was like an angel while she was here, changing lives for the better, I can't imagine what she's doing now. The world has lost an amazing person.
Kristin Bishop
November 22, 2007
Wow. I was very shocked to hear this news. Dr. Sokol knew SO much and although she had "tough love" she was a great doctor!
Jenn Lockhart
November 22, 2007
My heart goes out to Dr. Sokol's family. She will be missed! I am sorry for your loss.
November 21, 2007
My thoughts and prayers go out for the family of Dr. Sokol. She was an angel from heaven whom saved my life. If it wasn't for her I never would have made it through my Eating Disorder.
Kaci Lickteig
November 21, 2007
I was very sorry to hear of your loss. Mae was a talented and wonderful person to work with. She taught me a lot about working towards recovery with eating disorders patients. She will be missed.
Melissa Tanner
November 21, 2007
I am so sorry for the loss you and your family have experienced. Mae was a caring person who contributed so much to her patients. I was honored to work with her. I will miss her.
Sheila Mee
November 21, 2007
Dr.Sokol was a joy to work and a credit to her profession and mankind. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotton. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
A colleague
November 21, 2007
Mae at Menninger in 1998
November 20, 2007
I am very sad to hear about the loss of someone so special and wonderful. She meant a lot to many people and helped so many, including myself. I know I would not be here today if it wasn't for her. God bless and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Kaylin Ohler
November 20, 2007
Scott and family, my deepest sympathy on the loss of Mae. I will always remember her and feel fortunate to have known her.
Peggy Hogan
November 20, 2007
God bless you and your family in this difficult time. I will remember Mae as a wonderful person and for all the good she did.
Laurel Prestridge, M.D.
November 20, 2007
Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. ~Author Unknown
A Friend
November 19, 2007
I am very sorry to hear about Dr. Sokol. She was a wonderful mentor and director for the Eating Disorders Program. She personally taught me so much and helped me become the "Eating Disorders" nutritionist. I am truely grateful for Dr. Sokol and the talents, knowledge, and kindness she shared with all of us.
Kristy Hoffman-Rieken
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