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Dr. Nancy E. Gary

Year of Birth / Death

1937 - 2006

Medical School

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania


District of Columbia

Career Path

Administration: Medical school deans
Internal medicine: Nephrology
Dr. Nancy E. Gary


Nancy E. Gary, M.D., founded and served as first president of Women in Nephrology.
Nancy E. Gary, M.D., was the first woman to serve as the dean of two United States medical schools.
Nancy E. Gary, M.D., was the founding chair of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).


Although there was not any encouragement in the 1950s from my physician father, in retrospect I was influenced by his work. In college I became interested in the life sciences, and late in my senior year I applied to and was accepted by two medical schools.


Nationally and internationally, Nancy E. Gary, M.D., helped shape the medical institutions that form the future of medicine. As the first woman to serve as dean of two American medical schools, Dr. Gary was also administrator of the United States Health Care Financing Administration Task Force on Graduate Medical Education and president of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). "There I focused some ECFMG energy...on international medical education, especially in developing countries."

A 1962 graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Gary holds board certification in internal medicine and specializes in nephrology, the diagnosis and treatment of kidney ailments. Her academic career began in 1968 with a teaching post as instructor in clinical medicine at New York University School of Medicine. Her second teaching position as assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Medical School, now known as University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, began a decade-long association with the university. During her years at Rutgers, Dr. Gary rose to the position of full professor of medicine, directed many of the school's administrative functions and in 1987 was named executive associate dean.

Following a term as dean of the Albany Medical College, Dr. Gary went on to become executive vice president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and dean of its F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine. During her term as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, Dr. Gary worked with Congress to influence national health-care policy. Additional national appointments have included service on the Council of Deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges, board membership in the National Board of Medical Examiners and governing council service in the American Medical Association. In 2000, Dr. Gary was the founding chair of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).

Internationally, along with heading both ECFMG and FAIMER, Dr. Gary worked with the World Federation for Medical Education on its task force on defining international standards in basic medical education. Dr. Gary continued her work in promoting excellence in international medical education in her position of president emerita and special assistant to the president of ECFMG.

She served as professor of medicine and dean emerita at the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. A master in the American College of Physicians and member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Dr. Gary authored numerous publications on nephrology, public health policy, and medical education. She also served on the editorial board of Academic Medicine and as a reviewer for the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

In the 1950s, medicine was not an easy career for a woman to pursue.

How do I make a difference?

I make a difference by providing care and comfort to the ill and injured members of society. On the national level, I influence public policy on health issues. Globally, I actively engage in programs that will train faculty and medical students to be competent practitioners and educators.

Who was my mentor?

My first mentor was John F. Maher, M.D., a young nephrologist at Georgetown University School of Medicine, who influenced my career in academic medicine. The second was Richard C. Reynolds, M.D., who is dean of the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine and who gave me the knowledge and skills to be a successful medical school dean.

How has my career evolved over time?

From an academic internist and nephrologist, I moved into medical school administration. I first began to see the "big picture" of national and international medical education and health-care matters as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow working in Congress. This picture was enlarged by my experience as medical advisor to the administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Although I had opportunities to make a difference along the way, the greatest opportunity came as president of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). There I focused some ECFMG energy as an organization to assume a role in international medical education, especially in developing countries. My last opportunity to "make a difference" was by developing and founding the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) in 2000.