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NIH Loses a Friend

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein

Donald West King, M.D., FNLM Chairman

Since our last issue, two champions of American health care have died: Senator Edward M. Kennedy (see page 26) and Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D. They dedicated their lives to improving people's health.

Dr. Kirschstein was an outstanding scientist, mentor, and health administrator. She and her husband, Alan Rabson, M.D., now a deputy director at the National Cancer Institute, came to NIH in the 1950s to work as pathology researchers. They made a tremendous team, providing NIH with outstanding competence, integrity, and vision for over 50 years. She held the most important leadership posts in recent NIH history.

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein is featured in the Library's "Changing the Face of Medicine" exhibit about women medical pioneers and leaders. The Library created the exhibit to help inspire future generations of women doctors.

As director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences from 1974 to 1993, Dr. Kirschstein was the first woman institute director at the National Institutes of Health. Then she became director of the newly established Office of Research on Women's Health, during which time she served for a critical period as Acting Director of the NIH. Despite poor health, she kept working until the week before she died.

For more about Dr. Kirschstein and other remarkable women physicians, please see the wonderful NLM exhibit "Changing the Face of Medicine" at:
www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/.

Sincerely,
Donald West King, M.D., Chairman
Friends of the National Library of Medicine

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Fall 2009 Issue: Volume 4 Number 4 Page Inside Cover