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Healy, First Woman To Head NIH, Dies At 67

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Dr. Bernardine Healy, who helped reorganize the U.S. National Institutes of Health as its first woman director, has died. She was 67.

Healy suffered from brain cancer, The Washington post reported. She died Saturday at her home in Gates Mills, Ohio, where she lived with her second husband, Dr. Floyd Loop.

A cardiologist, Healy also served as president of the American Heart Association and had a short and controversial stint as head of the American Red Cross.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and sometime faculty member at Johns Hopkins, Healy entered the world of political medicine when President Ronald Reagan named her to a White House post. She left after a year for the Cleveland Clinic.

President George H.W. Bush appointed Healy to head the NIH in 1991. The agency had had no director for almost two years and was beset by low morale and high turnover.

“Things are so bad, some have said, they couldn’t even get a man to be NIH director,” Healy said.

Healy spent two years at the head of the Red Cross, resigning not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She had had a difficult relationship with the board, and criticism of the Red Cross response to the attacks sealed her fate, the Post noted.

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