American Red Cross president Bernadine Healy has announced she will resign her position at the end of the year, the Associated Press reports.
Asked at a news conference on Friday why she was leaving after only two years in the job, Dr. Healy, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and one of only two physicians to have headed the Red Cross, told reporters, "The board felt I was out ahead of them making policy. They didn't have any more confidence in me."
Healy said the policy in question had to do with the national organization's response to the decision of the International Red Cross to exclude the Israeli branch from membership. She also admitted that there were differences over how to spend the almost $500 million the Red Cross has raised to help the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"I strongly oppose commingling of the [September 11] moneys with any other Red Cross disaster funds," Healy said. "Reasonable people can differ."
In the weeks following the September 11 attacks, Healy and the Red Cross were criticized for refusing to cooperate with the New York State attorney general's efforts to systematically track the money dispensed to families of the victims from various relief funds. The Red Cross also has been criticized for encouraging blood donations well in excess of what was needed to treat victims, causing critics to fear that some of the over-collected blood would expire before it could be used.