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Dr. Ruth Kirschstein Bio

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Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D.

Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein is the Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  From 1974 to July 1993, Dr. Kirchstein served as Director of the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences (NIGMS), the first woman to hold such a position at NIH.  She came to NIH in 1956 as a medical officer in clinical pathology.  From 1957 to 1972, she was with the Division of Biologics Standards (now the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the Food and Drug Administration), where she worked on the means to assure the safety of viral vaccines for such diseases as polio, measles, and rubella.  In addition to directing NIGMS, from September 1990 to September 1991, Dr. Kirschstein also served as the Acting Associate Director of the newly established NIH Office of Research on Women's Health.  Dr. Kirschstein also served as the Acting Director of NIH from July to November 1993.

Dr. Kirschstein received a B.A. magna cum laude from Long Island University in 1947 and an M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1951.  After an internship in medicine and surgery, she took residency and fellowship training in pathology.  Dr. Kirschstein has over 70 scientific publications to her credit.

Her many honors include the 1985 and 1995 Distinguished Executive Service Award of the Senior Executive Association; 1985 Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives, the highest honor that can be given to a career civil servant; selection by the Office of Personnel Management in 1989 as one of ten outstanding executives for its first group of “Profiles in Excellence”; the 1990 Dr. Nathan Davis Award from the American Medical Association given to a member of the Executive Branch in career public service; and the 1993 Public Service Award from the Federation on American Socities for Experimental Biology.  Dr. Kirschstein is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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