Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

AARP The Magazine

The 'Influentials' Who Make Us Healthier

These activists and health care pros help heal us

Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., 62

DIRECTOR, National Institutes of Health
The man behind the Human Genome Project directed the identification of all 20,500 genes in human DNA, then helped discover the gene for cystic fibrosis and other diseases. As NIH head, he’s in charge of American biomedical research.

Courtesy American Cancer Society

Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., 53

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
American Cancer Society 
 
A tireless advocate for early cancer detection, the Emory University professor is also a warrior against bad eating habits, unecessary tests and disparities in access to quality cancer care.

Courtesy American Cancer Society

Michael Bloomberg, 70

MAYOR, New York City
Despite an outcry from Big Gulp fans, he’s gone to war as New York’s obesity buster by reducing the size of sugary sodas and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts. Other burgs may follow the lead of the City That Never Sweets.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mehmet Oz, M.D., 52

HEART SURGEON
Oprah gave him his first public checkup, but Dr. Oz’s own showmanship rocketed his medical megastardom. Through a TV show and books, including YOU: The Owner’s Manual, he delivers an easy-to-take prescription for good health.

Steven Vlasic/Getty Images

Anthony Atala, M.D., 54

MEDICAL RESEARCHER
Like a character from a Michael Crichton novel, the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has created new organs from cells. In 2006 he and his team successfully implanted a lab-grown bladder in a human.

Courtesy Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

David Ho, M.D., 60

VIROLOGIST, Rockefeller University
Best known for pioneering the use of antiretroviral cocktails to treat AIDS, for which he was dubbed Time magazine's 1996 Man of the Year, Dr. Ho is now researching a cutting-edge antibody-based treatment and vaccine for HIV.

Courtesy The Rockefeller University

Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., 51

DIRECTOR
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

We surely don't want to know what crosses the desk of the man who keeps watch for emerging illnesses. Before the CDC he fought smoking and diabetes as New York City's health chief.
 

Courtesy Centers for Disease Control

Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., 64

RESEARCHER, University of California
We thought “telomeres” were cute creatures from PBS (remember Tinky Winky?). This Nobel Prize winner knows they’re structures on chromosomes. She's probing what they mean to heart disease, vascular dementia and osteoporosis.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Elliott Fisher, M.D., 60

DIRECTOR, Center for Population Health
He began his career as an ambulance driver in suburban Boston; now he’s a Dartmouth University-based health policy guru who's described as a “visionary” for his proposals to make health care more efficient.

Courtesy The Dartmouth Institute

  • Pinterest
  • Google+

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Sears

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Sears Optical.

membership schwanns discount

Members get double Schwan's rewards on all online orders from Schwan's Home Service™.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.