Authorities are investigating a fatal pedestrian crash involving a City of Somerville employee that occurred last week and resulted in the death of a 40-year-old woman.
Somerville police responded to the intersection of College and Kidder avenues around 12:50 p.m. on Nov. 3 for a report of a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. The officers found the pedestrian, 40-year-old Leah Zallman of Somerville, unresponsive at the scene. She was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where she passed away from her injuries on Nov. 5.
According to authorities, the driver of the pickup truck, a city employee, remained at the scene. The initial investigation indicates he was traveling on College Avenue and attempting to take a left turn onto Kidder Avenue when the crash took place. He was on duty at the time but driving his personal vehicle, according to the DA’s office.
“This is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Somerville Police,” the office said in a statement. “No charges have been filed at this time.”
Zallman’s loved ones and colleagues are remembering the 40-year-old physician and mother of two for her compassion and dedication to social justice.
“Leah was an incredibly giving person who left everyone in her life feeling blessed, loved, and improved by their contact with her,” her family wrote in her obituary. “She devoted herself ceaselessly to her work, which included clinical care as well as research into social justice issues that she was passionate about, including immigration and social determinants of health. She was admired as a doctor, researcher, and leader by the entire institution where she worked. Her kindness and brilliant mind shone in every setting and interaction.”
According to her obituary, Zallman completed her medical residency at Boston Medical Center and her general internal medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance. She received her master’s in public health from Harvard and joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance after her studies were complete. She served as the director of research at CHA’s Institute for Community Health and was a primary care physician at CHA’s East Cambridge Care Center.
“She was a generous, kind, and compassionate person whose life’s work was dedicated to social justice and caring for the most vulnerable in our community,” the institute wrote in a statement. “We will miss Leah dearly.”
It is with heavy hearts that we share that our Director of Research, colleague, and friend, Leah Zallman, MD, MPH, passed away last week. Leah was a trailblazer in her field, an incredible physician, and just an all-around wonderful person. https://t.co/exKG91SuBf
— Institute for Community Health (@icommhealth) November 9, 2020
CHA released a statement emphasizing that Zallman “truly lived the ideals at the heart” of the health care provider’s mission.
“She dedicated her career to improving the lives of vulnerable communities, both in clinical care and policy,” the CHA statement reads. “Her research on health disparities influenced the national conversation on improving barriers to care for the underserved, and she played a critical role in shaping our organizational commitment to addressing the social determinants of health for our patients and communities. Leah touched the lives of so many of us across CHA. Her passion, warmth, and commitment were unmatched, and she will be deeply missed.”
In a eulogy, shared by CHA, Dr. David Bor described Zallman as being filled with “vitality, generosity, and brilliance” and said her passion was contagious to those around her.
“Leah was an exceedingly generous mentor to students and colleagues,” he said. “She shrugged off adulation. Upon receiving the national award for best presentation at a medical meeting, she merely smiled. But she beamed with pride when she showed off her beautiful newborns to the office. While Leah toiled for those who are marginalized and whose lives were so disrupted, she always projected optimism. Leah brought sunshine to the dark places in life.”
Zallman’s loved ones shared in her obituary that the doctor was “on the brink” of achieving her dream of opening a Center for Immigrant Health, set to be announced at the end of November. Outside of her work, she was devoted to family and friends.
“The world will be a dimmer place without her,” her loved ones wrote.
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