Now it will be. As the year drew to a close, the first grants were awarded under the NIH Women's Health Initiative, a $625 million project designed to close the "vast knowledge gap," as Healy puts it. The 15-year study of 160,000 women over 50 is designed to evaluate preventive approaches to cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis in what Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan called "a project that is both unprecedented and overdue."
It remains to be seen whether Healy will be around to act as shepherd. Though the Bush appointee has been lobbying to keep the position that has made her a commuter mom—two young daughters remain in Cleveland with her second husband, heart surgeon Floyd Loop—Healy is not without critics. "One thing I've learned in Washington is if you make a decision, you are going to be criticized," she says. "I am willing to go out on a limb, shake the tree and take a few bruises."
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