University of Minnesota

Mary Jane Jesse, MD

1918 — 2001

Dr. Jesse was a central figure in American cardiology from the mid-1970s, while leading the NHLBI Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases and its Task Force on High Blood Pressure Education and serving as President of the American Heart Association. Her preventive efforts and researches were focused on pediatric hypertension and atherosclerosis in childhood. Her career in brief:

  • AB from Nazareth College in Louisville, KY.
  • MD from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons 1959.
  • Professor of pediatric cardiology at University of Miami Medical School in the 1970s.
  • Director, Division of Heart and Vascular Disease, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute , 1976-79.
  • National leader in pediatric cardiology.
  • NHLBI task force on High Blood Pressure Education Program
  • Research area: Clinical implications of atherosclerosis in childhood, pulmonary mechanics in congenital heart disease, regulation of ventilation in the newborn.
  • President of the American Heart Association, 1982-83.

Jesse had a varied experience in the 15 years after college and before medical school, working for a newspaper, managing a symphony orchestra, as an accounting executive and radio show hostess. She was highly supportive of prevention researches in her NIH period, while demanding of highest quality research. (HB)


American Heart Association archive.