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Public Statements

Dr. Donald Frederickson

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, I welcome this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of one of the best medical leaders and researchers of our time. One year ago, Dr. Donald Frederickson passed away at his home in Bethesda. Of his many achievements, he is best known to the Nation as Director of the National Institutes of Health but his contributions to medicine, especially in the field of cardiology, began much earlier.

Dr. Frederickson first joined the NIH in 1953, and he held several important research and administrative positions in the National Heart Institute, now known as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, before becoming Director of NIH. At the National Heart Institute, he led the research team that discovered the connection between cholesterol and heart disease.
He founded the National Heart Institute's Section on Molecular Disease, and discovered two new diseases. As Director, one of Dr. Frederickson's most notable achievements was in the field of DNA research. He skillfully mediated the early days of the dispute that still concerns us today—the dispute between those concerned with the social and ethical implications of DNA research and those who could see the potentially great benefits of these discoveries. As a result of mediation, NIH was able to develop guidelines for DNA research that met the needs of both groups.

After leaving the NIH in 1981, Dr. Frederickson served on numerous boards and panels, in addition to serving as President of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and Scholar-in-Residence at the National Library of Medicine.

Throughout his career, Dr. Frederickson was highly respected in both medicine and government. The current NIH Director, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, called him "a true statesman of science" and "a towering influence in the scientific community."

Donald Frederickson's brilliant contributions to modern medicine will live forever. He was a giant of medical research with an extraordinary ability to see a better and brighter future, and lay the groundwork to make it happen, and we will never forget him.

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