Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel has been named the NFL’s first chief health and medical advisor, it was announced Monday. In this capacity, Dr. Nabel will be the league’s senior medical expert.
Dr. Nabel will continue to serve as president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. A cardiologist and distinguished biomedical researcher, she formerly served as Director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Nabel brings “a unique perspective to health care based on her experience as a physician, research scientist, academic medicine leader, and wellness advocate,” according to the league.
Dr. Nabel will work directly with Commissioner Roger Goodell. She will provide “strategic input to the NFL’s medical, health and scientific efforts; participate as an ex-officio member on each of the NFL’s medical advisory committees; and identify areas for the NFL to enhance player safety, care and treatment.”
Dr. Nabel will work closely with the NFL’s independent medical committees;San Francisco 49ers Chairman Dr. John York, Chairman of the NFL Owners Committee on Health and Safety; and with NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller.
“We are looking forward to collaborating with and learning from Dr. Nabel,” said York. “Her expertise and experience will assist us as we continue our mission to make sports safer for athletes at all levels.”
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel received her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1981. At BWH, she leads development of a comprehensive strategic plan that defines a new model of medicine focused on innovation and discovery in care redesign; in research through multiple life sciences collaborations; and in personalized therapies and translational medicine, a discipline within biomedical and public health research that aims to improve the health of individuals and the community.
Dr. Nabel has a long record of advocacy for health and broadening access to care. As Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 2005-2009, she leveraged the $3 billion research portfolio to establish pioneering scientific programs in genomics, stem cells, and translational research. One of Nabel’s signature advocacy efforts was the Red Dress Heart Truth campaign, which raises heart awareness in women through innovative partnerships. Throughout her career, Dr. Nabel has been a champion for global health. At the NHLBI, she established Centers of Excellence in developing countries to combat cardiovascular and lung diseases. At BWH she helped create a national teaching hospital in Haiti and is advancing training for clinicians in under-resourced countries.
An accomplished physician-scientist, Dr. Nabel’s work on the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases has produced 17 patents and more than 250 scientific publications. Her colleagues have elected her to the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received many honors, including six honorary doctorates. She and her husband Gary, who is the chief scientific officer for Sanofi, have three children, all of whom are pursuing careers in medicine.