Mary Woolley

Mary Woolley

President of nation’s largest health and science public education and advocacy organization to speak at VTCRI on April 5

Mary Woolley, the president and chief executive officer of Research!America, will speak at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 5. Her presentation, “Winning Hearts and Minds for Science,” is a part of the VTCRI Distinguished Public Lecture Series.

Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, membership-supported grassroots public education and advocacy organization committed to making medical and health research a higher national priority. Woolley will discuss Research!America’s recent advocacy efforts to promote medical research.

“Mary Woolley is not only one of the most effective advocates for medical research, she offers refreshing and keen insights from the perspective of a taxpayer, a patient, and a patriot who believes in the excellence of the American scientific enterprise in the service of humanity,” said Michael Friedlander, executive founding director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology. “Mary Woolley leads the good fight on behalf of all Americans for better health and a better overall society by bringing evidence and deep understanding of the importance of research to the attention of the public and our leaders. Her contributions are a critical part of the overall biomedical and health science enterprise, without which we would all be lesser. We are honored to have her visit the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the Health Sciences and Technology campus in Roanoke.”

Woolley is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and served two terms on its Governing Council. She is a recipient of the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal from the National Academy of Medicine for distinguished contributions to the mission of the Academy over a significant period.

Woolley has served two terms on the National Academy of Sciences Board on Life Sciences, and currently serves on its Board for Higher Education and Workforce. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a founding member of the Board of Associates of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, a member of the board of the Institute of Systems Biology, a member of the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Medical Center and a former member of the National Council for Johns Hopkins Nursing. She has served as president of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI), as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, and as a consultant to several research organizations.

With more than 30 years of editorial and publication history, Woolley’s opinion pieces are routinely published in The New York Times and the Washington Post. She has also published in Science, Nature, Issues in Science and Technology, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Scientists, and Women’s Health Magazine, among others. PBS recognized Woolley as an “Unsung Heroine.”

A native of Chicago, Woolley received a bachelor of science from Stanford University and a master of arts from San Francisco State University. In her early career, Woolley served as San Francisco project director for the then largest-ever NIH-funded clinical trial, the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT). In 1981, she became administrator of the Medical Research Institute of San Francisco, and in 1986 was named the Institute's executive director and CEO. Woolley has served as president and CEO of Research!America since 1990.