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Bernadine Healy, M.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health, April 9, 1991 - June 30, 1993
Dr. Bernadine Healy became the 13th NIH director in April 1991, appointed by President George H.W. Bush. Shortly after her appointment, she launched the NIH Women's Health Initiative, a $500 million effort to study the causes, prevention, and cures of diseases that affect women. She also established the Shannon Award, grants designed to foster creative, innovative approaches in biomedical research and keep talented scientists in a competitive system.
Prior to her appointment, she was chairman of the Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where she directed the research programs of nine departments including efforts in cardiovascular disease, neurobiology, immunology, cancer, artificial organs, and molecular biology. From her appointment in November 1985, she also served as a staff member of the clinic's department of cardiology.
In February 1984, Dr. Healy became deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Her appointment, made by President Reagan and confirmed by the Senate in June of 1984, involved her heavily in life science and regulatory issues at the Federal level. She served as chairman of the White House Cabinet Working Group on Biotechnology, was executive secretary of the White House Science Council's Panel on the Health of Universities, and served as member of several advisory groups, including the councils of the NHLBI, NCI, as well as the White House Working Group on Health Policy and Economics. From June 1976 until February 1984, she was professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital, where she also had clinical responsibilities, directed a program in cardiovascular research, and was director of the coronary care unit. In addition to serving on the medical school faculty, she assumed the role of assistant dean for postdoctoral programs and faculty development.
Among her other professional affiliations, Dr. Healy has served on the board of governors of the American College of Cardiology and has been president of the American Federation of Clinical Research (1983-84) and was chairman of its public policy committee for several years. She was president of the American Heart Association in 1988-1989 and has served as a member of its board of directors since 1983. As AHA president, she initiated a women's minority leadership task force and a women and heart disease program that took hold in affiliates nationwide.
She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of NAS. In 1989 she was elected as a member of the board of overseers of Harvard College and has served on the board of trustees of Vassar College. She has also been chairman of the Ohio Council on Research and Economic Development, and served on several other advisory committees and boards, including the Ohio Board of Regents.
Dr. Healy has been active in several Federal advisory groups. Until her NIH appointment, she was a member of the advisory committee to the NIH director. She has been a member of the White House Science Council and chairman of the advisory panel for new developments in biotechnology of the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress and a member of the NASA Life Sciences Strategic Planning Study Committee. In 1990 she was appointed to the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) and served as its vice chairman. She also chaired the advisory panel for basic research for the 1990s of the Office of Technology Assessment, and served on the special medical advisory committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
She received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College in 1965, and her M.D., cum laude, from Harvard Medical School in June 1970. She completed training in internal medicine and cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Dr. Healy has written extensively in the areas of cardiovascular research and medicine, and has served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.
She stepped down as director of NIH on June 30, 1993, to return to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Healy was dean of the Ohio State University Medical School and President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross.
This page last reviewed on March 3, 2017