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Honorary Degree Recipient

Vivian W. Pinn, MD

Vivian W. Pinn, MD

Vivian W. Pinn, MD, a member of Jefferson’s Board of Trustees, was, until her retirement in 2011, the first full-time Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an appointment she had held since 1991. Dr. Pinn joined the NIH from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC, where she had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology since 1982.

Under ORWH’s programs and initiatives, Dr. Pinn led NIH efforts to implement and monitor many national and international organizations dedicated to improving women's health and the health of minorities through research. She also spearheaded efforts to raise awareness among the scientific community about the importance of sex and gender differences as they relate to research and health care. Dr. Pinn established and co-chaired with the NIH Director the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, which developed and implemented programs and policies to improve the advancement of women in scientific and research careers.  In 2011 Dr. Pinn was named as a Senior Scientist Emerita at the NIH Fogarty International Center.

Dr. Pinn is a long-standing member of many professional and scientific organizations. She was the second woman President of the National Medical Association in 1989, and has received numerous honors, awards and recognitions, including 13 Honorary Degrees of Laws and Science since 1992. She has published more than 200 scholarly pieces relating to minorities in medicine and women’s health research, as well as earlier articles on diseases of the kidney.

Dr. Pinn earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and received her MD from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1967, where she was the only woman and only minority in her class. She completed her postgraduate training in Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, during which time she also served as a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Pinn was Associate Professor of Pathology and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Tufts University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at Howard. There, she became the third woman and the first African American woman in the United States to Chair an academic department of Pathology. Dr. Pinn is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the IOM) in 1995.