Phyllis Greenberger

b. 1932

Phyllis Greenberger is President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, a national non-profit organization founded in 1990 to improve the health of women through research, education, and advocacy. Twenty years ago, most medical research focused on young, healthy, white men; the conventional thinking was that women were just “little men.” Today, thanks to the efforts of Phyllis and her organization, scientists recognize that women are different from men in many ways, and that research into drugs, diagnostic tools, and treatment must be tailored to their needs. The mother of three adult sons, Phyllis is married to journalist Robert Greenberger.

Scope and Content Note

Phyllis describes her childhood, family background, religious upbringing, and her journey as a social worker and advocate for women's health research. Greenberger discusses growing up in Brooklyn, New York, her Jewish heritage, and her non-religious but culturally important connection to Judaism. She shares insights into her education, career choices, and her involvement in advocating for women's health issues within the medical and research fields. Phyllis looks back at the evolution of her career from social worker to policy expert, the founding of the Society, and the ongoing difficulties women encounter in the field of medical research and funding. She also addresses the challenges of combining family and professional life and offers advice to young women who are starting their careers. Greenberger emphasizes the need for gender-specific research and highlights her organization's efforts to address the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials. The interview concludes with discussions on work-life balance, gender roles, and Greenberger's future aspirations for funding research and supporting women's health initiatives.


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How to cite this page

Oral History of Phyllis Greenberger. Interviewed by Deborah Ross. 14 March 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 19, 2024) <>.

Oral History of Phyllis Greenberger by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at