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Women’s History Month: Dr. Bernadine Healy

By March 6, 2015Archives

March is recognized as Women’s History Month. Therefore, every Friday in the month of March, LivHOME will be highlighting important woman figures within the medical field who made astonishing contributions. First up is Dr. Bernadine Healy.

Dr. Bernadine Healy was born in 1944 in the great state of New York. Growing up, her parents stressed the importance of education. It was a message she clearly received. Dr. Healy graduated top in her high school, accepted a full scholarship to Vassar College, and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in chemistry. She took those high honors to Harvard Medical School where she was 1 of 10 females in a class of 120 people. She excelled there as well and landed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where they swiftly hired her after her residency.

Dr. Bernadine Healy had become the first female to be hired full-time as a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Healy continued to make strides in the medical field as she conducted research that has driven a reduction in various types of cancer.

She later launched a program called Women’s Health Initiative that was dedicated to determining causes and cures to diseases that inflict women at midlife and beyond. In 2002, Dr. Healy found new evidence that exposed a link between invasive breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy. Her findings helped drive an annual 15 percent decrease of breast cancer found in postmenopausal women.

However, her first true passion was cardiology. Dr. Healy served as the president of the American Heart Association from 1988 to 1989. While she was president, she launched initiatives that helped promote healthy hearts for women. Her work demonstrated that medical progress depends on the public as well as the medical community’s perception that a problem exists and that it needs to be solved. Dr. Healy set out to convince people that heart disease is ”not a man’s disease in disguise.”

In 1999, she was appointed the head of the American Red Cross where she remained until 2001. In that year, America saw its greatest attack on its own soil since Pearl Harbor. The September 11th terrorist attacks resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths and countless injuries. Dr. Healy led the American Red Cross response to these attacks. This response included recovery and response work in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. In addition, the response drove the creation of a $200 million grant program for victim’s families which included grieving and healing programs in chapters throughout the country.

As you can see, Dr. Bernadine Healy has made a substantial impact, not just in the medical field, but in this world. She has performed countless hours of medical research in order to make the earth a better, healthy place. This why we honor her this month and every month for her selfless work.

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