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Dr. Virginia Verral Weldon





Year of Birth / Death

b. 1935


Medical School

University at Buffalo School of Medicine


Geography

LOCATION
Missouri


Career Path

Pediatric medicine: Endocrinology
Dr. Virginia Verral Weldon



Milestones

YEAR
1985
ACHIEVEMENT
Virginia Verral Weldon, M.D., was the first woman to chair the Association of American Medical Colleges.


Inspiration

I was looking for a challenging career—one that was constantly changing.



Biography

Virginia Verral Weldon, M.D., is a pediatric endocrinologist and head of the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University. She has crafted a dynamic career in research and administration and has served as an expert advisor on a number of national science initiatives.

Virginia Weldon received her bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1957, and her doctor of medicine degree from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in 1962. She completed her internship and pediatric residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where she remained for a three-year fellowship in pediatric endocrinology, specializing in growth disorders and diabetes.

Dr. Weldon's career moved to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for the next twenty years, where she served as a professor of pediatrics, deputy vice chancellor for medical affairs, co-director of the division of pediatric endocrinology and metabolism, and vice president of the Washington University Medical Center. In 1989 she left the university to join a multinational biotechnology firm as an advisor on research priorities and the impact of public policy on the company's mission.

In 1993, Dr. Weldon served as the chair of the Women's Health Initiative Program Advisory Committee at the National Institutes of Health. In 1994 she was one of eighteen people appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. She was later appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology.

Dr. Weldon served on the advisory boards of several private companies before her retirement from industry in 1998. She then returned to Washington University to head the Center for the Study of American Business, which conducts scholarly research on issues affecting the American business system.

Dr. Weldon is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Endocrine Society. She has also been a member of the Endocrine and Metabolism Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration, the General Clinical Research Centers Advisory Committee and the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Research Resources Council. In 2000 Dr. Weldon was named to chairman of the board of trustees for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She is also a trustee of the St. Louis Science Center and was commissioner of the St. Louis Zoological Park.



Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

I really didn't find many obstacles. Obtaining equal pay in a university setting was probably the major obstacle.

How do I make a difference?

By saying yes to almost every request for help—no matter what the request—medical assistance, job counseling, etc.

Who was my mentor?

I had several—Drs. Claude Migeon and Robert Blizzard at Hopkins; Drs. Samuel Guze and William H. Danforth at Washington University; and Mr. Richard J. Mahoney, chairman and chief executive officer at Monsanto Company.

How has my career evolved over time?

Practicing pediatric endocrinologist; co-director of the division at St. Louis Children's Hospital; deputy vice chancellor of medical affairs and vice president of the Medical Center at Washington University; senior vice president, public policy, Monsanto Company; director Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University, and chairman of the board of trustees, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.