Audrey Sheppard's Story
Audrey Sheppard founded and leads the boutique firm Audrey Sheppard Women’s Health Consulting, which advises organizations as they address unmet needs in women's health. Based in Washington, DC, the firm commands the attention of national advocacy, Congressional and other key opinion leaders to recognize overlooked health conditions and diseases and the innovative drugs and medical devices designed to diagnose and treat them.
She joined the newly created FDA Office of Women’s Health as Deputy Director in 1994 as a Presidential appointee, and headed it from 1996 - 1999. There she formed an award-winning national campaign called ‘Women’s Health: Take Time to Care,’ where FDA partnered with 80 health professional and advocacy groups and the chain drugstores, about using medicines safely. The program, raising women’s awareness that if women fail to take care of themselves the well-being of their whole family will suffer, has grown to provide health and disease information to tens of millions of women and their families and has won countless awards.
At FDA, Sheppard participated in the agency’s deliberations on significant approvals affecting women, oversaw an annual intramural scientific research program and was a frequent public speaker to consumer and industry groups.
Upon leaving FDA, she founded her firm. Products on which she has worked include the female condom; a low dose contraceptive patch; diagnostics for heart disease and ovarian cancer; and a revolutionary breast implant following cancer surgery which uses CO2 for faster patient controlled tissue expansion. She spearheaded the advocacy effort supporting approval of the first drug for female sexual dysfunction.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Sheppard worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Political and Communications Consultant. She was the Political Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 1981, soon after Democrats lost the U.S. Senate majority, through 1986, when they recaptured it. Early in the Clinton Administration, as a Presidential appointee, she was Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Protocol and Public Engagement. Next, she became a Special Assistant in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, recommending individuals to the President for full time positions, Boards and Commissions.
Passionate about both women’s empowerment and Democratic candidate success, she has designed political/candidate skills training and often taught for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee, National Women’s Political Caucus, International Institute for Women’s Political Leadership and the National Democratic Institute.
Sheppard was Board President of Sewall Belmont House and Museum on Capitol Hill, an historic house telling the story of women’s suffrage and fight for equal rights. In 2016 President Obama by Executive Order made it the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. Her hallmark as President was fostering closer relationships with Congress, building the Board and spearheading a $2 million appropriation to restore the House and its unique collection of art and artifacts.
Sheppard has recently and enthusiastically joined the Advisory Board of the Women in Public Service project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. She is a stepmother, grandmother and widow who resides in Northwest Washington.