Joan Breslin Pitkin

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Joan Breslin Pitkin was a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly for 24 years. Pitkin was born in New York City in 1932. Pitkin received her college education at the University of Vermont.


Joan Pitkin served as an elected Delegate to the Maryland state legislature, Maryland General Assembly, in Annapolis, Maryland, from 1979 to 2003. She represented District 23, Prince George's County.

Significant accomplishments[edit]

During her twenty four years in office, Delegate Pitkin made cancer prevention measures a prime concern and became a nationally recognized health care advocate for introducing landmark health care proposals which have become models for and set standards for the country. Her bills were often passed without the backing of leadership or powerful lobbyists. For example; her work resulted in Maryland being one of two states in the nation to require full disclosure in breast cancer treatment alternatives and in legally instituting the two-step mastectomy choice.


Delegate Pitkin often worked with the Maryland Commission for Women and groups such as The Maryland Women's Health Coalition to help them develop their annual legislative agendas. Through membership on the Maryland Women's Health Promotion Council, the state Cancer Council and as a member of the Women's Caucus, Legislative Committee, Pitkin assisted both professional and citizen groups in the development of their legislative programs and priorities. In the 2000 session, as vice chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources, Pitkin, along with several other members, negotiated with state and county health departments; hospital representatives; community health centers and provider groups; scientists; researchers and other academics; constituent members of the Cancer, Heart and Lung associations; and many others in a collaborative effort to determine how the Cigarette Restitution Fund from the Global Tobacco Settlement would be distributed, now and in the future.

Officer/board membership in professional/business/trade organizations[edit]

Governor's Advisory Council on Recycling; Member, FDA Working Group on Breast Implant Educational Materials; Member, Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Advisory Committee, State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Member, Maryland State Cancer Council; Maryland Representative, Commerce and Communications Committee, National Council of State Legislatures; Advisory Committee on Telework, National Environmental Policy Institute; Member, Maryland Women's Health Promotion Council; Member, State Council on Management and Productivity; Member, U.S. 301 Transportation Task Force; Member, U.S. 301 Implementation Policy Oversight Committee

Officer/board membership in civic/nonprofit organizations[edit]

Member, Girl Scouts of the USA Washington Capital Area Advisory Committee; Board of Directors (past), Bowie Health Center; S.O.C. (Some Others Care) Mentoring Organization; Honorary Advisory Board, Bowie Regional Arts Vision Association; Past Board, C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates Board), Prince George's County; Member, Bowie Responsible Growth Coalition; Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt Democratic Club; Den Bowie Democratic Club


Joan Breslin Pitkin won Maryland's Top 100 Women award in 2001, 2003 and 2005, the maximum number of times, which brings her into the Circle of Excellence. The Circle of Excellence is awarded for sustained achievement. The judges are extremely selective at this stage and seek a demonstration that the nominees are still actively involved and proactive in all key areas.

1983-2002: 100% Voting Record Award for Legislative Leadership, The League of Conservation Voters; 1996: Community Service Award, Washington Psychiatric Society; 1991: Legislative Honor Roll, Mental Health Association; 1992: Outstanding Leadership in Cancer Control and Prevention, Maryland Chapter of the American Cancer Society; 1991: Legislative Leadership Award, American Lung Association; 1998: Woman of the Year, Maryland Business and Professional Women's Clubs; 1998: Good Guy Award, Maryland Group Against Smokers' Pollution; 1999: Children's Champion Award, Maryland Foster Care Review Boards