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Bernadine Healy Dies

Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health, has died from brain cancer, reports The New York Times. She was 67. Healy, who led the agency from 1991 to 1993, was the first female NIH director. When James Watson left his post as head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Healy chose current NIH Director Francis Collins as his replacement, ScienceInsider reports. ScienceInsider adds that Healy "oversaw the transfer of mental health, alcoholism, and drug abuse institutes from another agency to NIH" and also "crafted the first strategic plan for NIH, which went nowhere after meeting resistance." But, Harvard Medical School's David Korn says that her strategic plan was somewhat of a "preview" to subsequent director Elias Zerhouni's actions when he initiated work to analyze the NIH's portfolio. "I think it was very thoughtful and forethinking of her," Korn says. After stepping down as NIH director, Healy went on to lead the American Red Cross where she encountered some controversy, the Times reports. Overall, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci says Healy "was a very talented, highly intelligent, energetic woman who rubbed some people the wrong way, but when she believed in something, she was extremely effective in getting it implemented."

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