Skip to content

The 'Influentials' Who Make Us Healthier

These activists and health care pros help heal us

  • Courtesy American Cancer Society

    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.

    1 of 10
  • Courtesy American Cancer Society

    Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., 53

    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.

    2 of 10
  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    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.

    3 of 10
  • Steven Vlasic/Getty Images

    Mehmet Oz, M.D., 52

    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.

    4 of 10
  • Courtesy Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

    Anthony Atala, M.D., 54

    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.

    5 of 10
  • Courtesy The Rockefeller University

    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.

    6 of 10
  • Courtesy Centers for Disease Control

    Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., 51

    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.

    7 of 10
  • Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

    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.

    8 of 10
  • Courtesy The Dartmouth Institute

    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.

    9 of 10
  • Health endslide
    Getty Images

    View More Slideshows

  • 10 common phobias
  • 7 ways to prevent arthritis
  • 12 tips to drop pounds fast
    AARP Members Enjoy Health and Wellness Discounts — You can save on vision care, prescription drugs, hearing aids and more
10 of 10