Ruth Lillian Kirschstein (12 October 1926 – 6 October 2009) was an American pathologist and science administrator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Kirschstein served as director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, deputy director of NIH in the 1990s, and acting director of the NIH in 1993 and 2000-2002.She was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine.
In 2002, Congress renamed the NIH graduate student fellowship program to the Ruth L.
Kirschstein National Research Service Award in honor of Kirschstein's work at the NIH.Although she had trained as a classical pianist, she pursued medicine, graduating in 1947 from Long Island University and earning a Doctor of Medicine medical degree from Tulane University in 1951.
She interned in medicine and surgery at Kings County hospital and completed medical residencies in pathology at Providence Hospital in Detroit, Tulane University Hospital, and the Clinical Center at the NIH.