Dr. Harold Varmus is a Nobel Laureate in Medicine, former director of the National Institutes of Health, and former president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and current Director of the National Cancer Institute, a post he was appointed to by President Barack Obama. His book, The Art and Politics of Science (W. W. Norton) is an elegant blend of science and biography, which also delves into current health issues of global importance. Within its pages, Varmus offers a glimpse into the world of high-stakes, big-budget science, from the dual perspectives of a man well acquainted with its everyday applications and a scientist whose own research and professional commitments have helped to shape our scientific age. Dr. Harold Varmus began his medical career in research, with a focus on cancer-causing genes, earning a Nobel Prize in 1989. In 1993, he was named by President Clinton to serve as Director of the National Institutes of Health, a position he held through 1999. While at Memorial Sloan- Kettering, Dr. Varmus emphasized opportunities to harness recent advances in biological sciences to improve the care of cancer patients, including founding and overseeing new programs for diversity and gender equity. He has been an advisor to the Federal government, and to biotechnology firms and academic institutions. He served on the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health from 2000 to 2002, chaired the Scientific Board of the Grand Challenges in Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 2003 to 2008, and serves as co-chair of the Institute of Medicine’s committee on “The U.S. Commitment to Global Health.”
Dr. Varmus was interviewed at Kentucky Author Forum by Governor Howard Dean, author of Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.
Dean received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 1978. Upon completing his residency at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, he went on to practice internal medicine.
While still a practicing physician, and also serving his 3rd term as lieutenant governor of Vermont, the Governor passed away unexpectedly, drafting Dean into the governorship, where he served from 1991 to 2003. His experience as a practicing physician made him a career-long advocate of universal health insurance. While he was Vermont’s governor, the state expanded its healthcare program to cover nearly every child under the age of 18. He continued his passionate advocacy as a U.S. presidential candidate in 2004, and later as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Governor Dean now serves as Senior Strategic Advisor & Independent Consultant for the Government Affairs Practice at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, where he continues to focus on healthcare issues. In Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform, he examines the impact of the current healthcare system on the American economy and outlines an approach for achieving affordable medical care for all Americans.