Marsha B. Henderson is a nationally recognized innovative leader and change agent for the health of women and their families. As the former Associate Commissioner for Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration, for a decade, she progressed and managed cutting-edge policy, research and educational outreach initiatives. The Office of Women’s Health advanced its scientific efforts, under her direction, to produce more than 350 research papers and journal articles to facilitate FDA’s regulatory decision-making and promote a better understanding of sex differences and health conditions unique to women. Her tenure produced the first FDA Women’s’ Health Research Roadmap, outlining seven priority areas for new or enhanced research including biomarkers, nanotechnology, cardiovascular disease, and postmarket surveillance as well as a framework to assess its impact. Her colleagues applaud her ability to set a vision and guide the concept to reality. One FDA Commissioner stated, “She is elegant…not just in style but in character, confidence and compassion.”
Ms. Henderson’s expertise in the development of public-private partnerships and culturally appropriate consumer engagement strategies led to the Women’s Health Take Time To Care Program, which has reached over 120 million people with FDA consumer information in 18 languages, and received awards from more than 96 national organizations. Her easy to read, science-based materials have been chronicled in Dear Abby, Parade Magazine, Hints from Heloise, and the IRS, as well as sponsored by external groups including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, American Diabetes Association, Ford Motor Company, American Medical Association, and even Las Vegas casinos. Her novel efforts supported a one-stop Pregnancy Exposure Registries website to gather information about how prescription drugs or vaccines affect a pregnant woman and her fetus. In addition, she recently instructed her staff to expand the Science of Sex and Gender on-line accredited courses with the NIH/Office of Research on Women’s Health and to conduct FDA’s first “Scientific Conference: Opioid and Nicotine Use, Dependence, and Recovery: Influences of Sex and Gender” to address this national epidemic.
She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dr. Estelle Ramey Award for Women’s Health Leadership from Society for Women’s Health Research; “HerMANA” Award for innovative outreach to Hispanic women, and Pinnacle Award for exceptional leadership in medication use for patients and caregivers. The first non-pharmacist to receive the prestigious Jacob Miller Award from the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, she was also one of five Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) finalists from throughout the U.S. federal government. And as Chair of the national board of the YWCA USA, she led the U.S. delegation at the YWCA World Council quadrennial meeting in Bangkok, Thailand to focus on women’s issues.
Prior to her FDA career, Ms. Henderson served as the Director of Evaluation for the Interagency Council on the Homeless; Director of Placement for the National Health Service Corps; Chief of Analysis and Information for the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health; and Senior Advisor to the Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor. Ms. Henderson earned a master’s degree from Rutgers University in health and hospital planning. She is married to Wade Henderson, an internationally renowned civil and human rights lawyer.