Health & Wellness,
First Women To Head The National Institute Of Health
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Bernadine Healy is a leading cardiologist and health administrator in the country, and the first woman to head the National Institutes of Health. Her leadership, innovative policy, and determination have made her very successful in addressing medical issues and policy concerning women.
Dr. Healy spent the early part of her career at Johns Hopkins University where she rose to full professor on the medical school faculty while also undertaking significant administrative responsibilities. She served as deputy science advisor to President Ronald Reagan. In 1985, she was appointed Head of the Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where she remained until her appointment as director of the NIH in 1991.
Dr. Healy was also president of the American Heart Association from 1988 to 1989 and has served on numerous national advisory committees. Her awards include two American Heart Association special awards for service and the 1992 Dana Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award for her work on promoting research on the health problems of women.
Bernadine Healy has manifested her talent and interest in shaping research policy through her many appointments to federal advisory panels, editorial boards of scientific journals, and other decision-making bodies. As the president of the American Heart Association, she initiated pioneering research into women's heart disease and demonstrated that medical progress depends on the public and medical community's perception that there is a problem to be solved.
Previously, heart disease was perceived as a male affliction despite the fact that it kills more women than men. Medical practitioners for years treated women's heart disease far less aggressively than men's, and most research on coronary heart disease (like most other medical research) used male subjects either predominantly or exclusively.
Healy also served as president and chief executive officer of the American Red Cross from 1999 to 2001.