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Vivian W. Pinn, M.D.

Vivian W. Pinn
Commemoration of our History
Vivian W.
Pinn, M.D.

Vivian W. Pinn, MD, was the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was associate director for research on women’s health (NIH), positions she held from 1991 until her retirement in 2011.  Since her retirement, she has been named as a Senior Scientist Emerita at the NIH Fogarty International Center.  She came to the NIH from Howard University College of Medicine, where she had been professor and chair of the Department of Pathology from 1982 until 1991.  Dr. Pinn had previously held teaching appointments at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University where she was also Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.  A special tribute by Senator Olympia Snowe on Dr. Pinn’s retirement was published in the Congressional Record in November 2011 commending her contributions during her NIH tenure. The Association of American Medical Colleges also awarded her a Special Recognition Award for exceptional leadership over a forty year career.  She has long been a vocal advocate for women and minorities in biomedical careers.

She has received numerous honors and recognitions, and 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. A graduate and Alumna Achievement Award recipient as well as former Trustee of Wellesley College, she earned her M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the only woman or minority in her class.  She completed her post-graduate training in Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr. Pinn has received 14 Honorary Degrees of Science, Law and Medicine, and the University of Virginia School of Medicine has named one of its four advisory medical student colleges as ‘The Pinn College’ in her honor. Tufts University School of Medicine in 2011 announced the ‘The Vivian W. Pinn Office of Student Affairs’, named for her at the time her former medical students dedicated a scholarship in her name.  She has held leadership positions in many professional organizations, including President of the National Medical Association and is currently Chair of the NMA Past Presidents Council. Dr. Pinn currently serves on the Board of Trustees/Advisors of Thomas Jefferson University and Tufts University School of Medicine.  She was recently elected to Modern Healthcare’s Hall of Fame, the first African American woman to be so honored, and received the Outstanding Woman Leader in Healthcare Award from the University of Michigan.  Lectures in women’s health and/or health disparities named for her have been established at the National Institutes of Health, the Women’s Health Congress, the University of Virginia medical school, and the National Medical Association.  Her oral history is included in the National Library of Medicine’s exhibit on women physicians: ‘Changing the Face of Medicine,’ the University of Virginia’s project ‘Explorations in Black Leadership’ conducted by Julian Bond, and in The HistoryMakers collection which is now housed in the Library of Congress; her biohistory is summarized on her Wikipedia site.