Date: Nov. 8, 2001
Contacts: William Kearney, Media Relations Officer
Chris Dobbins, Media Relations Assistant
(202) 334-2138; e-mail <>


Harvey V. Fineberg Selected Seventh President
of the Institute of Medicine

WASHINGTON -- Harvey V. Fineberg, former provost of Harvard University, has been selected to become the seventh president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He will begin his six-year term on July 1, 2002. Fineberg was dean of the Harvard School of Public Health for 13 years before serving as the university's provost from 1997 to June 2001.

The 1,429-member Institute of Medicine was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to enlist distinguished members of the health professions in examining health-policy matters. Under a congressional charter granted to NAS in 1863, IOM advises the government on issues such as vaccine safety, health care delivery and quality, nutrition standards, cancer prevention and management, and military and veterans' health.

Fineberg succeeds Kenneth I. Shine, who will complete his second consecutive term as IOM president in June 2002. In announcing the appointment, NAS President Bruce Alberts said, "Ken Shine's distinguished leadership of the IOM leaves it in a position to make even larger contributions to our nation's health. Dr. Fineberg's background and skills are ideal for this position. Public health has become recognized as an area of increased national importance, which will make IOM's mission to advise the nation on health policy even more critical."

Shine noted, "Harvey Fineberg combines a rich academic leadership experience with a continuing commitment to and involvement in the health of the public. He is an outstanding choice."

As president, Fineberg also will serve on the governing board that oversees the National Research Council, which is the operating arm of the National Academies.

"To meet the public's health needs and to fulfill the promise of science for health," said Fineberg, "have never been more compelling social goals. Thanks to the work of Ken Shine and many others, the Institute of Medicine is better prepared than ever to accomplish these objectives. It is a privilege to be named as president-designate of the IOM, and I relish the opportunity to lead this vital and dynamic institution."

Fineberg was elected to IOM in 1982, but his work for the institution dates back 25 years. He chaired the committee of the National Academies that wrote Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society and served as either chair or co-chair of the committees that authored the reports No Time to Lose: Getting More from HIV Prevention, America's Vital Interest in Global Health, Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines, and Society's Choices: Social and Ethical Decision Making in Biomedicine. Fineberg also co-chaired IOM's Board on International Health. His wide-ranging research interests encompass HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, the fields of risk assessment and decision-making, the evaluation of diagnostic tests and vaccines, the ethical and social implications of new medical technologies, and medical education.

Born Sept. 15, 1945, in Pittsburgh, Fineberg earned his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1967 from Harvard University, his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1972, and his master's and doctoral degrees in public policy in 1972 and 1980 from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, respectively.

Fineberg served his medical residency at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, and was a fellow in Harvard's Society of Fellows. He worked as a practicing physician at two Boston-area health centers from 1974 to 1984. He taught at the Kennedy School of Government from 1973 to 1981, and served on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1973 to 1984, when he became the school's dean.

Fineberg is married to Mary E. Wilson, M.D., associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. A specialist in infectious diseases at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., her research interests include the geographic distribution of infections and the emergence of new diseases. Fineberg and Wilson will be fellows at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, Calif., from January to June 2002.

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