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Books, Journals, New Media
April 3, 2002

Research ActivistNoble Conspirator: Florence S. Mahoney and the Rise of the National Institutes of Health

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2002;287(13):1732-1733. doi:10.1001/jama.287.13.1732-JBK0403-5-1

From Presidents to Congressional clerks, Florence Mahoney charmed and coaxed them all in pursuit of government money for medical research. Shortly before his inauguration, John F. Kennedy dined at Mahoney's Georgetown home with former President Harry Truman, poet Robert Frost, and Walter Lippmann, the premier political columnist of the day—a typical work evening for Mahoney, whose soirees served as plotting and persuasion sessions for expanding the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Access to power, the gold standard of lobbying, was personified in the unpretentious, mild-mannered lady, a farmer's daughter who married into politics and the press and, most improbably, became a major influence for the phenomenal expansion of the NIH.

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