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                                DR. GRIFFIN RODGERS
  admits. “The friends I mentioned, who passed away from sickle cell, were African American, and knowing my work is helping some of the kids who came after them—and helping populations with sickle cell across the globe—has been really rewarding and exciting.”
In 1998 FDA approved the medication making it accessi- ble to more people.
“Seeing people with sickle cell live longer and better lives has been extremely gratifying,” he admits. “But I never considered the hydroxyurea results an ending. As my career progressed, I began to realize my role could help improve public health on a larger scale.”
Dr. Rodgers currently serves as the director for the Na- tional Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Dis- eases. He stepped into the role in 2007. At the institute he
Left: Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates, who is also national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network. Right: Dr. Rodgers helped develop a medication that eases symptoms of sickle cell disease. The drug was granted FDA approval in 1988.
research on blood disorders.
He believes his passion for helping out his community
came from observing his mother helping those in need. She worked as a public health nurse and spent a lot of time at community clinic.
“She was my earliest and greatest role model,” he admits. “Because many of her patients were unable to get to the clinic during the work week, she would visit them at their homes on weekends and often took me with her. From watching her, I learned quite a bit about the potential and practice of medicine.”
It was through these interactions that Dr. Rodgers became face to face with some of the medical issues that affect Black Americans.
“I also saw that diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease hit
“Seeing people with sickle cell live longer and better lives has been extremely gratifying,”
takes on two different roles ;researcher and administrator. “Our mission is to improve health and I try to accomplish
that in some way every day, whether through conduct- ing research on sickle cell disease or helping ensure that National Institute of Health’s dollars get into the hands of researchers who can make the greatest public health contributions,” he said.
Along with his duties of directing the institution, Dr. Rodgers also manages the intramural Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch. This is where he continues his
African Americans harder than others,” he said. “My mother taught me my first lessons in the human, compassionate side of practicing medicine, and the human toll of chronic health problems and health disparities.”
Dr. Rodgers said his mother inspired his passion for pub- lic health and serving the underserved.
“I feel privileged to directly influence people’s lives by supporting studies that improve health outcomes in the community, the country and around the world,” he said. “For me, that’s the greatest reward of all—to be able to

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