About NIA


Deputy Director
Office of the Director (OD)


As Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernard serves as the principal advisor to the NIA director, working closely with the director in overseeing over $1.5 billion in aging research conducted and supported by the Institute annually.  She co-chairs two Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 objectives: 1) Older Adults, and 2) Dementias, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Within NIH, she co-chairs the Inclusion Governance Committee of the Extramural Activities Working Group, chairs the Women of Color Committee of the trans-NIH Women in Biomedical Careers Working Group, and serves on the Diversity Working Group.

Until October 2008, she was the endowed professor and founding chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and associate chief of staff for geriatrics and extended care at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She has held numerous national leadership roles, including chair of the Clinical Medicine Section of the Gerontological Society of America, chair of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Committee, board member of the American Geriatrics Society, president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and president of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs. She has lectured and published widely in her area of research, nutrition and function in older populations, and on issues related to geriatric education. She has been recognized for her leadership in geriatrics; in 2013, she received the Clark A. Tibbits Award from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and in 2014 was awared the Donald P. Kent Award by the Gerontological Society of America.

Dr. Bernard received her undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College and her M.D. from University of Pennsylvania. She trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital, where she also served as chief resident. She has received additional training through the AAMC Health Services Research Institute, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School Executive Development program.