Thomas Dawber (1913-2005)

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Thomas “Roy” Dawber rescued the foundering Framingham Heart Study in 1949 and served as its first director, focusing the Study on discovering the “risk factors” –a concept he proposed–for heart disease.  Then in 1966 he rescued it again after its sponsor, NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) terminated its funding.

Dawber took the Study with him to Boston University where he served as chair of preventive medicine and raised enough private donations to keep it going.  The NHLBI later changed its mind and restored government funding for the Study, which continues to this day.  The Framingham Study is now operated jointly by Boston University and NHLBI.


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