Dr. Bernadine Healy: Red Cross

Dr. Bernadine Healy.

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2002

Dr. Bernadine Healy was president land CEO of the American Red Cross until December 31, 2001. In the aftermath of September 11, Healy created a segregated account called the Liberty Fund to specifically manage donations for the families of the victims. Having received over $564 million from the American public, the Red Cross and Healy herself came under criticism for proposing to hold $264 million of the Liberty Fund in reserve for the victims of future terrorist attacks. It was alleged that this went against the intentions of the donors. Healy justified the Red Cross’s stance by saying that it needed to retain some money to prepare for future attacks in this “new war” and that it would be fiscally irresponsible to simply divide the $564 million by the number of families affected by the attacks.

Healy resigned from the Red Cross at the end of December, amid allegations of internal disagreements and infighting over the creation of the Liberty Fund. Having led the organization since September 1999, the cardiologist and former health administrator’s plans now include writing a book on Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, as well as advising on preparedness against weapons of mass destruction and, in particular, the threat of bioterrorism.

Healy grew up in Queens and is the daughter of second-generation Irish-Americans. ♦

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