I am going to Charlottesville on September 13 to honor Dr. Vivian Pinn, our 2013 Foremother Awards honoree, as a major research facility at UVA’s School of Medicine is named in her honor. Dr. Pinn received her medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1967, where she was the only woman and only African American in her graduating class. In 2005, she returned to UVA as the University’s first African-American woman commencement speaker, and UVA’s School of Medicine named one of its 4 student advisory colleges as the “Pinn College” in her honor. UVA’s School of Medicine honored her by establishing the “Vivian W. Pinn Distinguished Lecture Series in Health Disparities.” And now she is the first African American to have a building named in her honor at UVA’s School of Medicine.
We honored Dr. Pinn with our Foremother Award in 2013. As the first director of the National Institute of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health, Dr. Pinn has had many accomplishments. But one of her most important was her support for the Women’s Health Initiative, which was the first study to determine that women’s hormones do not need to be “replaced” after menopause, because combined hormone therapy actually increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This study resulted in a drop in breast cancer among women for the first time, and has saved thousands of lives.