2016 Advocacy Awards Dinner

The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards Program was established in 1996 by the Board of Directors to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research. We recognize individuals and organizations whose leadership efforts have been notably effective in advancing our nation's commitment to research. A list of our past Advocacy Award winners is available here. To learn more about supporting the Advocacy Awards, contact Thayer Surette at tsurette@researchamerica.org


Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
Grand Reception- 6:15 p.m.
Dinner- 7:00 p.m

The 2016 Advocacy Award honorees are:

   Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) have been selected to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for their steadfast commitment to increasing investments in research to advance innovative studies focused on preventing and eradicating diseases that take a tremendous toll on families and our economy. 



Harold Varmus, M.D., Lewis Thomas University professor, Weill Cornell Medicine and Nobel Laureate, will be recognized with the Legacy Award. His research has focused on the genetic basis of cancer, and his work has transformed cancer research. Dr. Varmus has served as the director of the National Cancer Institute, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and director of the National Institutes of Health.


John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic, will receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for his leadership to ensure the Mayo Clinic remains a trusted resource for patients amid a rapidly changing health care environment, and increasing the personalization and immediacy of healthcare for all people. Dr. Noseworthy has focused his career on advancing research to meet the needs of individual patients, and has enhanced the Mayo Clinic’s ability to conduct research and provide evidence-based care.


Trish and George Vradenburg, co-founders, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2), will be recognized with the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award. UsA2 works to significantly increase funding of Alzheimer’s research, including at the NIH. Mr. and Mrs. Vradenburg are tireless in their commitment to transforming  how our society talks about and perceives individuals with Alzheimer’s. They actively engage public, private, patient and government partners in the effort to expedite the path to effective treatments and ultimately achieve a cure. 


Robert Langer, Sc.D., David H. Koch Institute professor, MIT, will be honored with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. Dr. Langer is one of four living individuals to have received both the United States National Medal of Science and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He is a passionate advocate for basic research and its role in solving real world problems, even as his research has advanced the practice of medicine and changed the quality of people’s lives.


The ALS Association will receive the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. As the preeminent ALS organization, the Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became the world’s largest global social media phenomenon, with more than 17 million videos to Facebook; watched by 440 million people a total of 10 billion times. It is now an annual event to raise awareness and funds to find treatments and a cure for ALS.


Lisa Paulsen and The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) will be honored with the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Ms. Paulsen is the president and CEO of EIF, the collective philanthropy for the television and film businesses. Ms. Paulsen and EIF co-founded Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), through which more than $360 million has been pledged to support collaborative cancer research.  


To see the list of our Honorary Chairs, click here.

To view event details for our past Advocacy Awards dinners, please click here

2016 Advocacy Award Sponsors

Dinner Host



Presenting Partner



Program Partners






Patron Sponsor











AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association 
Alzheimer's Association
Battelle Memorial Institute 
CEO Initiative on Alzheimer's Disease (CEOi)
FaegreBD Consulting
Northeast Ohio Medical University


Mary Woolley


Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
American Heart Association
March of Dimes
Spectrum Science Communications
Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine


Media Contacts

Suzanne Ffolkes
VP Communications

Anna Briseño
Communications Manager

Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor