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Dr. Jane Ellen Henney

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1947

Medical School

Indiana University School of Medicine


New Mexico
District of Columbia

Career Path

Public health: Government
Internal medicine: Oncology
Dr. Jane Ellen Henney


Dr. Jane Henney was the first woman to be named commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


We were lucky enough to have a family doctor in my hometown - everybody knew Dr. Moser and loved him. He fit the stereotype small town doctor. We went to his house where he had his office and all of his medicines... Probably my first memory of thinking about medicine was writing a term paper in the fifth grade about the American Medical Association, about which I knew nothing.


Dr. Jane Ellen Henney was the first woman to be appointed as commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, a position she held from 1998 to 2001. For 20 years years, she served in senior health policy leadership positions in the public sector, and earned the reputation of being a fair, firm, and forthright leader who builds strong and responsive organizations.

Her experience and expertise lie in managing complex organizations that provide direct health services, educate the next generation of health professionals, conduct biomedical research, and regulate science-based products.

Born in 1947, Jane Ellen Henney grew up in Woodburn, Indiana. She earned her undergraduate degree at Manchester College, her medical degree at Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed her training in medical oncology at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, Texas, and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

From 1980 to 1985, she was deputy director of the National Cancer Institute. She later joined the University of Kansas Medical Center as vice chancellor of Health Programs and, for eighteen months, was interim dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. From Kansas she was recruited back to the federal sector and served as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, where she stayed until assuming the position as first vice president for Health Sciences at the University of New Mexico.

Since leaving the FDA in January 2001, she has been a senior scholar in residence at the Association of Academic Health Centers and has begun service on a variety of boards of directors in the health care field. She was appointed Senior Vice President and Provost for Health Affairs at the University of Cincinnati in 2003.

Dr. Henney has received many professional honors and awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, the Society of Medical Administrators and honorary membership in the American College of Health Care Executives. She received the Excellence in Women's Health Award from the Jacobs Institute, the Public Health Leadership Award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Recognition Award, and two Commendation Medals from the U. S. Public Health Service.

In her leisure time, Dr. Henney has developed a strong interest in fly-fishing, where she has discovered that the pleasure is as much in the seeking as in the catching. She is also an avid reader, and when she is not cooking or gardening she can be found at the fitness club enjoying weight lifting, kickboxing, and yoga.