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Person Record

Name Alexander, Duane F.
Occupation Duane Alexander performed his internship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he had obtained his M.D. in 1966. He then served as a resident in pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. On completion of his residency, he joined the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and was assigned to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as a clinical associate in the Children's Diagnostic and Study Branch. Shortly after joining, he returned to the Johns Hopkins Hospital as a fellow in pediatric developmental disabilities at the John F. Kennedy Institute for Habilitation of the Mentally and Physically Handicapped Child. In 1971, he returned to NICHD as assistant to the scientific director just in time to oversee the National Amniocentesis Study. That project established that this procedure was a safe and accurate method for prenatal diagnoses of genetic defects and inborn metabolic disorders in the fetus. Alexander was named medical officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health in the Department of Health Education and Welfare, where he stayed until 1978. He also served as a physician on the staff of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, formed in response to reports of shoddy practices in some clinical trials on humans. Alexander returned to NICHD as assistant to the director in 1978, after publication of the so-called Belmont report that contained the recommendations of the Commission. He was named Deputy Director of NICHD in 1982 and then Acting Director in 1985 after the resignation of Mortimer Lipsett. In 1986, Alexander was named Director of the Institute, a position he was to hold for the next 23 years. During his tenure the program in mental retardation fostered numerous research advances including the discovery of the gene for the devastating Rett syndrome as well as that for fragile X syndrome. Intramural NICHD scientists developed a vaccine against Haemophilus Influenza Type B, a microorganism that causes a form of meningitis that can lead to deafness and mental retardation. Under his leadership, the number of infant deaths from sudden death syndrome was cut in half. In October 2009, Alexander stepped down as Director of NICHD and joined the NIH Fogarty International Center as senior scientific advisor for global maternal and child health research.
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Birthplace Baltimore, MD
Born Aug. 11, 1940
Titles & honors Assistant to the Scientific Director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD
Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health Education and Welfare, (DHEW)
Director, NICHD
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
Meritorious Service Medal and Special Recognition Award, Public Health Service
President’s Award for Outstanding Service, American Academy of Pediatrics
Education Pennsylvania State University, B.S., 1960
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, M.D., 1966

Associated Records

Image of United States Public Health Service - P.H.S. Navy Flag officers assigned to NIH

United States Public Health Service - P.H.S. Navy Flag officers assigned to NIH

Group of Public Health Service officers assigned to the National Institutes of Health. Overseen by the Surgeon General, the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is a diverse team of more than 6,500 highly qualified, public health professionals.

Image of Events at NIH - Gala for the NIH Children's Inn

Events at NIH - Gala for the NIH Children's Inn

The 14th Annual Benefit for the Children's Inn at NIH. The gala was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The attendees included Senator Dick Gephardt and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. The Children's Inn at NIH is a residential facility for children and their families while undergoing treatment at the National Institutes of Health.