50 & Forward Weekend Speakers


Vivian W. Pinn

Vivian W. Pinn, MD
Director, Office of Research in Women's Health, NIH
Associate Director, Research on Women's Health, NIH
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Vivian W. Pinn is 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 has held since 1991 and as NIH Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health since 1994. Dr. Pinn came to NIH from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., where she had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology since 1982, and has previously held appointments at Tufts University and Harvard Medical School. She has been invited to present the ORWH’s mandate, programs and initiatives to many national and international individuals and organizations with an interest in improving women’s health and the health of minorities. One of her recent areas of focus has been to raise the perception of the scientific community about the importance of sex differences research across the spectrum from the cellular to translational research and implementation into health care. Dr. Pinn is currently co-chair, along with the Director of NIH, of The NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers which is developing and implementing programs and policies to improve the advancement of women in biomedical careers.

Dr. Pinn has just completed a national initiative to reexamine priorities for the women’s health research agenda for the 21st century, involving more than 1500 advocates, scientists, policy makers, educators and health care providers in a series of scientific meetings and public hearings across the country to determine progress as well as continuing, or emerging areas in need of research. This new strategic plan for the coming decade, Moving into the Future with New Dimensions and Strategies: a Vision for 2020 for Women’s Health Research, was presented publicly at the September 2010 scientific symposium and celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ORWH.

Dr. Pinn, a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, earned her B.A. 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 minority in her class. She returned to Massachusetts to complete her postgraduate training in Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, during which time she also served as Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. She is a member of long standing in many professional and scientific organizations, in which she has held many positions of leadership. Dr. Pinn has held numerous positions in the National Medical Association, including serving as speaker of the House of Delegates, Trustee, and the 2nd woman President in 1989.

Dr. Pinn has received numerous honors, awards, and recognitions, and has been granted 11 Honorary Degrees of Laws and Science since 1992. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1995. Among her honors are the Alumni Achievement Award from Wellesley College in 1993, and she served on the Wellesley College Board of Trustees. She also received the second annual Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Virginia, was honored by the UVA medical school as one of their Alumni Luminaries and was invited to serve as the 2005 speaker for the Universiy of Virginia Commencement. The UVA School of Medicine has established the ‘Vivian W. Pinn Distinguished Lecture in Health Disparities,’ and further honored her in the fall of 2010 by naming one of its four advisory colleges for medical schools in her name.