60 Years Later: Honoring Black Trailblazers in Health and Science at NIH
Event Date:Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Event Location:Bldg. 10 - Masur Auditorium, NIH Main Campus and Zoom
- Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., Sc.D.
- Vivian W. Pinn, MD
- Nathan Stinson, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., MPH
- J. Taylor Harden, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN
Event Host(s):The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
“60 Years Later: Honoring Black Trailblazers in Health and Science at NIH” honors the monumental achievements of J. Taylor Harden, Ph.D., R.N., Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., Vivian W. Pinn, M.D., and Nathan Stinson, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., while also spotlighting their personal journeys that resulted from the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This event will offer a unique perspective on how this pivotal legislation influenced careers at NIH. Attendees will gain insights into the challenges faced, discover the barriers that were broken, and learn about the resilience embodied in an era of transformative social and political change.
The program offers a powerful narrative of how these trailblazing scientists navigated their paths, contributing significantly to health and science while also paving the way for future generations in the ongoing quest for equality and excellence in the scientific community.
Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., Sc.D.
Former Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
From 1991 to 2005, Dr. Kenneth Olden was Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He was the first African American to become director of one of the NIH Institutes. In 2005, Dr. Olden resigned as Director so he could devote his time to his research and position as Chief of the Metastasis Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the NIEHS. He also held the position of Yerby Visiting Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health for the academic year 2006 to 2007 and was Founding Dean of the School of Public Health at the City University of New York from 2008 to 2012. From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Olden served as Director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr. Olden received his doctorate in Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Temple University in 1970. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorate degrees. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor in the Physiology Department at Harvard University Medical School from 1970 to 1974. From 1974 to 1979, He was a researcher in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the National Cancer Institute of the NIH. In 1977, he became the first African American promoted to tenure with the rank of Independent Investigator at the NIH. From 1979 to 1991, Dr. Olden held several positions at the Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. including Director, Professor, and Chairman of the Department of Oncology.
Among his numerous honors are:
- 1990 – Appointed to membership on the National Advisory Board by President George H. W. Bush
- 1994 – Elected to membership in National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
- 1995 – Secretary of Health and Human Services Distinguished Service Award 1996 – Selected by President William J. Clinton to receive the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award
- 1996 – City of Medicine Prize for extraordinary achievement in medical research
- 1997 – Selected by President William J. Clinton to receive the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award
- 1999 – Elected a Fellow in the Academy of Toxicological Sciences
- 2002 – Calver Award, American Public Health Association
- 2004 – Sedgwich Medal, American Public Health Association
- 2004 – Princess Takamatsu Cancer Medal, the Japanese Royal Family
- 2005 – Julius B. Richmond Award for leadership in public health, Harvard School of Public Health
- 2011 – Hansen Prize for leadership in the Environmental Health Sciences, University of Iowa School of Public Health
- 2014 – Inducted into the Inaugural Class of the History Makers Archives Compiled by the Library of Congress, Celebrating "The Legacy of Black Americans"; 2015 –Sackler Prize for leadership in promoting Community-Based Participatory Research by ‘Research America’.
In 2018, NIEHS/NIH inaugurated the Olden Distinguished Lecture series to celebrate outstanding scientists in the field of environmental health sciences and environmental justice for underrepresented groups. In 2021, Dr. Olden was the inaugural recipient of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute Inaugural Innovation Prize, and in 2023, he received the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal for distinguished service to the National Academy of Medicine.
“I ask ‘WHY NOT ME?’ When I see a problem in society that needs fixing, I ask myself, why trust or rely on others to do what I can do myself? This approach to life has served me well!”
Vivian W. Pinn, MD
Former Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and Associate Director of NIH for Women’s Health Research.
Vivian W. Pinn, M.D. was the first full-time director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health from 1991 and Associate Director of NIH for Women’s Health Research from 1994 until her retirement in 2011 when she was named Senior Scientist Emerita at the NIH Fogarty International Center. Under her leadership, the new office led the implementation of NIH inclusion policies for women and minorities in clinical research, developed the first and several subsequent strategic plans for women’s health research, and established new research initiatives and career development programs in collaboration with NIH Institutes and Centers. She established and co-chaired the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers with the NIH Director. Prior to NIH she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology at Howard University and previously held teaching appointments at Harvard and Tufts Universities.
A graduate and former Alumna Trustee of Wellesley College, she earned her M.D. in 1967 from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the only woman or minority in her class. She received her post-graduate training in Pathology as an NIH Research Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Pinn is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1995. The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine named one of its four advisory medical student colleges as ‘The Pinn College,’ Tufts University School of Medicine in 2011 announced the ‘The Vivian W. Pinn Office of Student Affairs,’ at the time her former medical students dedicated a scholarship in her name.
In 2016, UVA announced that the medical research and education building was renamed for her as “Pinn Hall.” And in December 2016, UVA medical school also announced the inaugural Pinn Scholars program to support and recognize mid-level faculty in efforts to take their research in novel directions. She has held leadership positions in many professional organizations, including as the 88th President of the National Medical Association (NMA) and is currently Chair of the NMA Past Presidents Council. Among other recent honors, she received the 2020 American Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in women’s health as well as the 2020 Alma Dea Morani Award from the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation and the New York Academy of Medicine.
Nathan Stinson, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., MPH
Director of the Division of Community Health and Population Science at NIMHD
Nathan Stinson, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., serves as Director of the Division of Community Health and Population Science at NIMHD where he oversees the extramural scientific programs on minority health and health disparities.
He began his federal career in Arizona as a medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps where he practiced family medicine at the Indian Health Service's Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility on the Navajo reservation. Dr. Stinson later served as Deputy Director of the Division of Community and Migrant Health and as Director of the Division of Programs for Special Populations in the Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Stinson is the first, and only, Black person to receive the University of Colorado Silver and Gold Award for Excellence in Humanitarianism, Citizenship, and Professionalism. In 1999, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at HHS. During that tenure, he served as a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Secretary at HHS. Dr. Stinson also served as President of the Health Literacy Foundation in Munster, IN, and the director of the Center for Optimal Health and a professor of family and community medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
Dr. Stinson holds a Ph.D. in environmental biology from the University of Colorado, an M.D. from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and an M.P.H. in health care administration from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Dr. Stinson has received numerous honors including the Louis B. Stokes Leadership Award – National Medical Association, Silver and Gold Award for Excellence in Humanitarianism, Citizenship, and Professionalism – University of Colorado, NIH Director’s Awards, U.S. Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal, Outstanding Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Achievement Medal, and Crises Response Service Award – USPHS.
J. Taylor Harden, Ph.D., R.N., F.G.S.A., F.A.A.N.
Former NIA Assistant to the Director for Special Populations and Acting Deputy Director, NIA
J. Taylor Harden, Ph.D., R.N., F.G.S.A., F.A.A.N., is a gerontologist with broad research interests in minority health, health disparities research, the recruitment and retention of older women and minorities in clinical studies, as well as the recruitment and retention of a competent STEM workforce. She started her professional journey as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and quickly transitioned to the U.S. Air Force as a flight nurse. As a medical crew director, she completed several patient air evacuation missions and is a Vietnam era-veteran.
Dr. Harden was one of the first nurses to apply for and receive a transfer of service from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Active Reserve to the U.S. Air Force Active Reserve as a flight nurse. She served at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB), Castle AFB, Lackland AFB, Mather AFB, McGuire AFB and Sheppard AFB.
Upon completion of honorable service with the military, Dr. Harden advanced as a tenured associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). She was the first and only faculty member to participate in the competitive NIH Extramural Associates Program. The program was established to produce a cadre of academic research administrators and leaders to promote the participation of institutions with high ethnic minority student enrollments in rigorous biomedical and behavioral research programs.
Following her tenure at the UTHSCSA and prior to the Gerontological Society of America, Dr. Harden was a senior scientist and administrator at the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Nursing Research and the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Initiative at the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). At the NIA, Dr. Harden was the first and only nurse to serve as both NIA Assistant to the Director for Special Populations (1997–2011) and Acting Deputy Director (in 2008).
During her nearly 15-year tenure at NIA, she helped transform minority aging research across the Institute and led the premiere NIA Summer Institute on Aging Research, now Butler-Williams Scholars Program, which celebrated 25 years of excellence in 2011, training over 1,000 early career scientists. At the AAN, she was pivotal in the leadership and establishment of the national Nurse Leader in Aging award.
Dr. Harden is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, a management and training center for senior leaders. She serves on the National Advisory Committees/Boards for Betty Irene Moore Fellowships for Nurse Leaders and Innovators at UC Davis and NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation at Drexel University.
A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and Gerontological Society of America, Dr. Harden earned her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Maryland at Baltimore and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in nursing, where she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna in 2010, and where she currently serves as a Visiting Professor.
Dr. Harden is Executive Director Emeritus of the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE), a collaboration of schools of nursing and institutions, internationally, with expertise and commitment to improving care of older adults. The NHCGNE, a multifaceted, multi-million dollar initiative was originally funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and is now a 501(C) 3 organization based in Reston, Virginia.
“Therefore, there can be no discrimination, no segregation, and no separation of some citizens from the rights which belong to all…We are on our way. But these are frontiers which we must conquer…” Mary McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955
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