|Veteran Journalist Appointed Communications
Director at National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Award-winning journalist George A. Strait, Jr., will be the new
director of communications at the National Center on Minority Health
and Health Disparities (NCMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH),
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Bethesda, Maryland.
“This appointment comes at a critical time in the continued development
and growth of the NCMHD”, according to Dr. John Ruffin, NCMHD Director. “Mr.
Strait brings a multitude of broadcasting, strategic communications
and administrative experiences to the NCMHD that will serve the
Center and the NIH well. I am pleased that someone with such outstanding
credentials has joined our staff.”
Upon being appointed Strait said, “In many ways I feel my entire
career has led me to this post.” Strait will serve as the director
for communications at the NCMHD. “Dr Ruffin and I agree that for
the NCMHD to fulfill its mission, communications must be an integral
part of every aspect of the Center’s research and outreach operations”,
Strait has an extensive and diverse career in communications.
He has served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs
at the University of California, Berkley, where he oversaw University
Communications, Media Relations, Government Affairs, Cal Parents
and Visitor Services. Prior to joining UC Berkley, Strait was Chairman
of the Board at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a private
philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the health and
life chances of the disadvantaged. At the Dr. Spock Company, an
Internet resource for parenting and childcare, he served as Vice
President of Content and Media.
Most of Strait’s career has been spent in broadcast news. For
22 years he was a Correspondent at ABC News where he was assigned
various beats, from the White House to the peaceful transition
to democracy in South Africa. In 1983, he became the first medical
and health reporter in network television news history. In January
1993, Strait was named correspondent in charge of directing ABC’s
coverage of the national health care reform debate. He was Chief
Medical Correspondent at ABC until he left the network in 1999.
Strait has also been in demand over the years as a media consultant
and taught science reporting and broadcast journalism at Columbia,
Rutgers and Wesleyan universities. In 1975, he helped found the
National Association of Black Journalists.
Throughout his career, Strait excelled at reporting challenging
stories. He co-anchored, wrote, and produced the critically acclaimed “Black
in White America,” a documentary on race. In addition, Strait investigated
the syphilis experiments on African-American men in Tuskegee, Ala.,
producing “The Deadly Deception” which aired on the PBS broadcast
His achievements have earned him the highest honors in journalism,
including the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award for
a 10-part series on health care in the Soviet Union; two Alfred
I. DuPont Awards: a ground-breaking series on women’s health and
the first look at HIV among African Americans; a Gold Medal Award
from the National Association of Black Journalists; and a Blakesley
Award from the American Heart Association.
A native of Boston, Mass., Strait graduated from Boston University
with a B.A. degree in biology, and completed an M.S. program in
Biochemical Genetics at Atlanta University. He is married and has
The NCMHD (http://www.ncmhd.nih.gov)
is a component of the NIH. The NCMHD promotes minority health and
leads, coordinates, supports and assesses the NIH effort to eliminate
health disparities. The NCMHD programs focus on expanding the nation’s
ability to conduct research and to build a diverse, culturally-competent
research workforce to eliminate health disparities.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.