COVID-19 Response finalist: Dr. Diana Bianchi
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COVID-19 Response finalist: Dr. Diana Bianchi

May 6, 2022 | Updated on May 17, 2022
Sydney London

In anticipation of this fall’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® program, we are highlighting one finalist from each award category during Public Service Recognition Week. Today, we are focusing on the COVID-19 Response category, which recognizes a federal employee who made extraordinary contributions under challenging circumstances to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Meet Dr. Diana Bianchi, director at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She was a key player in initiating critical clinical research to understand the medical implications of COVID-19 on underserved populations, including pregnant women, children and people with disabilities.

We asked Dr. Bianchi some questions to get to know her better.

What’s your best career advice?

Follow your curiosity, listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to fail. There is really no such thing as failure, only lessons to be learned.

What’s one fun or surprising thing we should know about you?

When I was in high school, I won a national contest writing lyrics for a Noxzema jingle and can still remember the words!

Who is your favorite public servant?

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), an astronomer hired by the U.S. Coast Survey. She discovered a comet, was a professor at Vassar College and an abolitionist, and an early advocate for women in STEM.

What is your favorite thing about working for the U.S. government?       

Truly, it is the ability to make a difference by funding research that enhances the lives of children, pregnant people and people with disabilities.

What object would you save if your house was on fire?       

I’d save the typewritten copy of my grandmother’s autobiography, “Fifty Years of Joys and Sorrows. It was never published. It was meant for our family, and it makes the prior generations come alive again.

Do you have pets?

My husband and I recently bought a home that came with an outdoor fishpond containing around 50 large goldfish. They all have different markings and different personalities.

What are you reading, watching or listening to?

I can listen to the “Hamilton” soundtrack repeatedly and always find new meaning in the lyrics.

What’s your favorite takeout order or favorite thing to cook?

My father was from Italy. I adapted his recipe for eggplant parmigiana and it is always a crowd pleaser!

Be on the lookout for more profiles of our Sammies finalists during Public Service Recognition Week 2022. To learn more about Diana Bianchi and our other COVID-19 Response honorees, visit our Sammies website.

Sydney London is an intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.

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