Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Otis Bowen Feb. 26, 1918 -- May 4, 2013 Former Indiana Governor Was a Crusader against Aids

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Otis Bowen Feb. 26, 1918 -- May 4, 2013 Former Indiana Governor Was a Crusader against Aids

Article excerpt

Otis Bowen, a small-town doctor who served two terms as governor of Indiana and later led efforts to respond to the AIDS crisis as the first physician to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, died last Saturday at a nursing home in Donaldson, Ind. He was 95.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced the death in a statement. The cause was not disclosed.

In December 1985, Mr. Bowen replaced Margaret Heckler as President Ronald Reagan's secretary of health and human services. The low-key Mr. Bowen, a Republican, was known for working with members of both parties and often said his medical experience allowed him "to approach emergencies and problems with a certain amount of calmness and common sense."

He believed his greatest accomplishment at HHS was engineering the first major expansion of Medicare, a 1988 bill providing coverage to the elderly for catastrophic illnesses. The provision was repealed by Congress a year later.

He may have had more long-term success in confronting one of the most serious health problems of the 1980s, the fast-growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Along with his deputy, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who died in February, Mr. Bowen led public education efforts about HIV/AIDS and sent pamphlets about how to avoid contracting the virus to more than 100 million households nationwide.

A comment by Mr. Bowen at a news conference in 1987 became an oft- repeated statement in the medical struggle against HIV/AIDS: "Remember, when a person has sex, they're not just having it with that partner, they're having it with everybody that partner had it with for the past 10 years."

Otis Ray Bowen was born Feb. 26, 1918, near Rochester, Ind. His father was a teacher.

After receiving a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Indiana University in 1939, Mr. Bowen graduated from the university's medical school in 1942. …

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