Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A.

Senior Policy and Medical Advisor

Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A. (ret.), served as a leading U.S. government health expert and spokesperson for more than 20 years in the Administrations of four U.S. Presidents. She was assistant surgeon general of the U.S.; the first-ever deputy assistant secretary for women’s health; senior global and e-health advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; chief of the Behavioral Medicine and Basic Prevention Research Branch; Head of the Suicide Research Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, NIH; Chair of the NIH Health and Behavior Coordinating Committee, and a White House advisor on health issues. Admiral Blumenthal is especially known for her significant leadership in exposing the inequities in women’s health and developing innovative initiatives to advance women’s health  and the study of sex differences in disease in the United States and globally. She has also been a pioneer in applying technology to advance health.

Dr. Blumenthal is currently amfAR’s Senior Policy and Medical Advisor, has organized many Capitol Hill briefings on a range of issues related to the pandemic, and established amfAR’s Allan Rosenfield Public Policy Fellowship program. Her work has included a focus on HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s. Dr. Blumenthal convened the first NIH Conference on Women and AIDS in 1985, contributed to the first Surgeon General’s Report on AIDS in 1987 that was sent to all Americans, coordinated behavioral research at NIH on HIV prevention strategies, and established as well as chaired the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Task Force on Women and AIDS.

Dr. Blumenthal is also a clinical professor at Tufts and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine, a Senior Fellow in Health Policy at New America, a member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab. She is currently working with MIT on the Beat the Virus campaign that uses social media to mobilize individual actions to help defeat the coronavirus pandemic. She has been the Public Health Editor of the Huffington Post, the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies at Brandeis University, the Elizabeth Blackwell Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic, the Lila Wallis Visiting Professor in Women’s Health at Weill Cornell School of Medicine, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s School of Government.

Dr. Blumenthal has organized and chaired many national and international conferences and briefings, written numerous scientific articles, edited books, and served as an expert in the media on HIV/AIDS and other health issues. She was the host and medical director of an award winning television series on women’s health. Admiral Blumenthal is the recipient of numerous awards, medals, and honorary doctorates for her landmark contributions to improving health. She was named the Health Leader of the Year by the Commissioned Officers Association, as a Rock Star of Science by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation and decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal of the U.S. Public Health Service, its highest honor, “for distinguished and pioneering leadership, groundbreaking contributions and dedicated public service that has improved the health of women, our Nation, and the world.”

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