Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Journalist Advocate: Bob Woodruff

Bob Woodruff, known to most of the world as the ABC News reporter who suffered a devastating injury in Iraq, is also an active advocate for research into head and brain injuries. He and his wife, fellow journalist Lee Woodruff, founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation dedicated to helping heal the physical and psychological wounds of war.

Woodruff grew up in middle America and earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. He is fluent in German and Mandarin besides of course, his native English. His break as a journalist actually came because of a chance happening: he was in Beijing teaching law in1989 when the Tianenmen Square incident happened. CBS News hired him as an on-screen interpreter during the incident. This marked the turning point in his career and he decided to become a full time journalist eventually joining Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC's World News Tonight.

Most people are aware of the injuries he suffered while covering the Iraqi war in 2006. His miraculous recovery led by several teams of physicians at Germany and subsequently Bethesda
has received much media attention.

Earlier this year, Research!America honored Bob Woodruff with their Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Accepting his award Woodruff said,
“War has brought civilian and military medicine together. I wouldn’t havesurvived my injury if it had happened five years earlier because of [the research put into practice by] the medics, doctors and nurses who treated me.”
During his long stay in hospital he leaned on his family and especially his wife, Lee. Lee and Bob wrote candidly about their experiences in the bestselling book, In an Instant.

Bob used his platform as a well-known and respected journalist to not only recount his own experiences, but also to start his foundation. He recognized that his recovery was aided in large part by path-breaking research into brain trauma and injury. He also recognized that sometimes
mental and psychological trauma gets less attention than physical trauma. Thus, his foundation works to promote research on all three fronts -physical, mental and psychological.

This Mental Health Month, we salute Bob and Lee Woodruff for their continuing advocacy for research to improve health.

Research!America President Mary Woolley, Isadore Rosenfeld, MD and Bob Woodruff at the Research!America Advocacy Awards dinner, 2009.

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