Honoring an Inspiring Rosie’s Daughter — Bernadine Healy

by Matilda Butler on August 8, 2011

Post #26 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

While conducting research for our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters, I read the story of Bernadine Healy and even mentioned her in our book. Bernadine Healy was one of the “First Woman To” generation of women — born during World War II.

A renowned cardiologist, Healy earned her degree from the Harvard School of Medicine. Like many other women in the Rosie’s Daughters generation, she had few role models and had to make it in a man’s world. For example, she was one of only ten women out of 120 students in her class.

Healy eventually became the first woman to serve as director of the National Institutes of Health. During her tenure there, she was responsible for the first serious focus on women’s health, looking into health concerns of women from mid-life on. Known as the Women’s Health Initiative, this $500 million program that extended over 10 years did much to bring attention to women’s health issues that researchers had previously ignored.

On August 6, Bernadine Healy died at the age of 67. Click here to read more her life story.

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