News Release

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Publication Features Women in Science Careers at the National Institutes of Health

"Women in Science at the National Institutes of Health 2007-2008" is a new publication showcasing the achievements of some of the accomplished women at the NIH and is intended to inspire a diversity of girls and boys, women and men to enter or continue in science careers. Sponsored and prepared by the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) with assistance from the members of the NIH Coordinating Committee on Research on Women’s Health, the book celebrates the careers and accomplishments of 289 talented female scientists and administrators who are part of the NIH community. Each NIH Institute, Center and Office recommended up to 15 doctoral-level women to be featured in the publication.

The book features a wide range of the roles, positions, and contributions of women across the NIH, including but not limited to, clinicians, basic scientists, program directors, policy analysts, computer scientists, epidemiologists, geneticists, and statisticians, as well as directors and deputy directors of NIH Institutes and Centers. Each profile consists of biographical information and research interests, descriptions of experiences that shaped their careers, how they manage work/life balance, and each woman's thoughts on the importance of mentoring — both being mentored and mentoring others.

"I have personally been inspired by these women scientists, who have earned the great respect with which they are regarded, both by those in the NIH community as well as by those in the greater scientific community," said Vivian W. Pinn, M.D., NIH associate director for research on women’s health and director of ORWH. "Rather than a directory of the totality of women scientists at the NIH, this effort is meant to highlight examples of the variety of roles, positions and contributions of doctoral-level women across the NIH."

Readers will learn about the different paths each woman has taken and be encouraged by the women's personal stories. The book features women who started their education at community colleges, women who didn't go to graduate school until they were in their 40's and women whose childhood circumstances led them into a particular field of interest, such as addiction science. Some of these women pursued high-level science careers while raising children alone; others balanced the demands of their job with the demands of a husband’s equally challenging job.

The book models the success stories of women in science to encourage aspiring science students as well as for established scientists and serves as a guide to the diversity of policy, administration, and research areas at the NIH. The publication honors the exemplary leadership of Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, the first woman to serve as director of a NIH institute, and former Deputy Director and Acting Director of NIH, who among her many accomplishments established the Office of Research on Women's Health in 1990 and served as a role model for scores of women and men in research and scientific leadership positions. Dr. Kirschstein, who spent more than 50 years as a civil servant, died in October 2009.

To download an electronic copy or order a hard copy of "Women in Science at the National Institutes of Health 2007-2008," go to:

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as a focal point for women’s health research at the NIH. For more information about NIH's Office of Research on Women’s Health, visit

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®