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Marie A. Bernard, M.D.

Publishing Date
October 30, 2023

Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity

Marie Bernard headshot

Marie A. Bernard, M.D.

Marie A. Bernard, M.D., is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD). As the COSWD, she leads NIH thought regarding the science of scientific workforce diversity, assuring that the full range of talent is accessed to promote scientific creativity and innovation.

Dr. Bernard co-led the development of the Fiscal Years 2023 – 2027 NIH-wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) and is working on its implementation. She is also a cochair of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director Working Group on Diversity, the NIH Steering Committee Working Group on DEIA, and the NIH UNITE initiative to identify and address any structural racism that may exist within NIH and throughout the biomedical and behavioral workforce.

Prior to being selected as the COSWD in 2021, she was Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). As NIA’s senior geriatrician, she served as the principal advisor to the NIA director. She also led a broad range of activities, including cochairing two Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020/2030 objectives – 1) Older Adults, and 2) Dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease. She co-led the NIH-wide Inclusion Governance Committee that ensures appropriate inclusion of individuals in clinical studies, including by sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and children/older adults. She also led the Women of Color Committee of the NIH-wide Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers.

Dr. Bernard has received numerous accolades for her national leadership in geriatrics research, teaching, and clinical practice. These include the Clark Tibbits award from the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (2013), the Donald P. Kent award from the Gerontological Society of America (2014), and the John A. Hartford Foundation Trustee award (2022). Additionally, in 2023 she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Her work within NIH also has been recognized with several NIH Director’s awards (2018 and 2019), including the NIH Director’s award for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in 2020. In 2022 she received NIH Director’s awards for her leadership of the NIH UNITE initiative and the NIH Anti-Racism Steering Committee.

Until October 2008, she was the endowed professor and founding chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She held numerous national leadership roles, including chair of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Committee, chair of the Clinical Medicine (now Health Sciences) Section of the Gerontological Society of America, board member of the American Geriatrics Society, president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and president of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs. She has lectured and published widely in her area of research, nutrition and function in older adults, with particular focus on underrepresented populations.

Dr. Bernard completed her undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. She trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, where she served as chief resident. She received additional training through the Association of American Medical Colleges Health Services Research Institute, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School Executive Development Program.