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Dr. Bernadine Healy, first woman to head National Institutes of Health

CLEVELAND -- Dr. Bernadine Healy, the first woman to direct the National Institutes of Health and the leader of the American Red Cross during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, has died. She was 67.

Dr. Healy died at her suburban home Saturday. She had suffered from brain cancer, but the cause of her death wasn't released.

Dr. Healy, a Republican, headed the National Institutes of Health under President George H.W. Bush.

Forceful, outspoken and a strong advocate for women's health, Dr. Healy appeared frequently on network TV news shows to talk about health issues and wrote a column for U.S. News and World Report

Her tenure at the National Institutes of Health during the early 1990s was marked by internal struggles and battles with Congress.

She left Washington after President Bill Clinton decided not to appoint her to another term, and she ran for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, where she lost in the 1994 GOP primary.

She became dean of the Ohio State University Medical School and then took over as president at the Red Cross in 1999.

Disagreements with the board at the nation's largest charity led to her resignation just two months after 9/1 1. Dr. Healy said she was forced out in part over differences with what to do with nearly $500 million that the Red Cross raised following the terrorist attacks.

She became a familiar face at the sites of the attacks and also organized a White House blood drive and filmed a public-service announcement that aired on TV. But blood experts criticized her for encouraging more donations than needed to treat the relatively few survivors in New York.

She also came under fire for initially refusing to go along with a coordinated effort to track assistance recipients and for her plans to use financial donations for Sept. 11 relief efforts to create a strategic blood reserve and prepare for future terrorist attacks.

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