Dr. Verdine “Dee” J. Frederick was a nurse at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and later director of the Institution’s Employee Assistance Program.
In 1974, Frederick began working as a nurse at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. In her first years on the job, she dispensed allergy and immunization shots, treated job-related accidents for employees, provided basic aid for visitors, and taught Heimlich maneuver and CPR training for museum and cafeteria workers. In this role, she also led a campaign to help employees identify whether or not they struggled with high blood pressure.
Over the next two decades, Frederick launched counseling programs for employees that made the Smithsonian a better, more welcoming place to work. Beginning in 1981, she ran a program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, for employees struggling with alcohol use. She also led HIV and AIDS awareness programs and founded an HIV/AIDS support group at the Institution in 1988. In this role, Frederick arranged private screenings and advocated for accommodations for employees affected by the disease.
Frederick earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from The George Washington University. Prior to arriving at the Smithsonian, Frederick worked as a head nurse at The George Washington University Hospital.
- “Tribute for Dr. Verdine ‘Dee’ J. (Pelesky) Frederick,” obituary, 2020
- “AIDS Support Group Lends Insights to EAP Counselors/Group Members” Focus on Federal Employee Health and Assistance Programs, Volume 7, Issue 2, March/April 1996
- “Q & A with Verdine Frederick,” Smithsonian Torch, October 1978
- Verdine Frederick featured in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Newsletter, August 1992