2017 Advocacy Awards Dinner

Register Now for the 2017 Advocacy Awards Dinner on Wednesday, March 15. 

Research!America’s 21st annual Advocacy Awards will honor outstanding advocates for research whose contributions to health and medicine have saved lives and improved quality of life for patients worldwide. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. For more information on the 2017 Advocacy Awards Dinner, click here

To reserve your seat now, click here. If you are interested in sponsorship, contact Thayer Surette, tsurette@researchamerica.org

The 2017 Advocacy Award honorees are:

Joseph Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, will receive Research!America’s Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for his commitment to accelerating cancer research as the driving force behind the White House Cancer Moonshot. The Cancer Moonshot, and now the Biden Cancer Initiative, aim to speed the pace in which effective therapies are made available to patients and improve efforts to prevent and detect cancer at an early stage. Under Biden’s leadership, the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force facilitated novel, innovative and impactful collaborations among twenty government agencies, departments and White House offices, and over 70 private sector collaborations designed to achieve a decade’s worth of progress in five years in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Biden also helped lead the effort to pass the 21st Century Cures Act which provides $1.8 billion over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot’s scientific priorities. In recognition for his public service, Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, with distinction.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has been selected to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for his longstanding commitment to improving the lives of Americans. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, he shepherded legislation crucial to the discovery, development and delivery of new medical advances, including the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. Sen. Alexander also played a critical role in securing a $2 billion increase in the budget of the National Institutes of Health in FY16 and in ensuring annual increases in the National Science Foundation budget as a member of both the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., who will receive the Legacy Award, is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. Since his appointment as NIAID director in 1984, Dr. Fauci has overseen an extensive research portfolio devoted to preventing, diagnosing, and treating infectious and immune-mediated diseases.  Dr. Fauci also is chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, where he has made numerous important discoveries related to HIV/AIDS and is one of the most-cited scientists in the field.  Dr. Fauci serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as Ebola and pandemic influenza.

Kathy Bates, award-winning actress and Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) spokesperson, will receive Research!America’s Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for raising the visibility of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases and advocating tirelessly on behalf of the patient community. The Rosenfeld Award is presented to individuals who have worked to effectively deliver medical or other health-related research advocacy messages to the public. Ms. Bates is a spokesperson of the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), an internationally recognized non-profit fighting lymphedema and lymphatic disease through education, research and advocacy. Kathy Bates has publicly shared her fight with lymphedema, a chronic progressive lymphatic disease that results in disfiguring swelling in one or more parts of the body. An estimated 10 million Americans and 150 million people worldwide suffer from lymphatic diseases. Ms. Bates has brought lymphedema and lymphatic diseases into the spotlight in the media, including the first-ever profile of a patient receiving lymphedema treatment, which aired on CBS Sunday Morning.

Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been selected to receive the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his powerful advocacy efforts for cancer research, serving as Chairman of Stand up to Cancer’s (SU2C) Scientific Advisory Committee since the organization’s inception in 2008. His research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing.  His landmark achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977. This work provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells.  The discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information is important in understanding the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases. This discovery, which fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of the structure of genes, earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. 

Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine, is selected to receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award, for his leadership and determination in building an outstanding scientific research organization as president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) from 1997 to 2010. His leadership further elevated FHCRC into a premier research center working to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. In 2010, Dr. Leland H. Hartwell joined the Arizona State University (ASU) where he has appointments in the Schools of Education, Biomedical Engineering, and Sustainability. He leads a team that teaches Sustainability Science for all pre-service K-8 Teachers, and aspires to provide continuing education, internationally, for in-service teachers. In addition, Dr. Hartwell leads the HoneyBee program at ASU overseeing a series of small clinical trials using wearable devices to monitor physiological parameters in clinical patients for a variety of diseases.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has been selected to receive the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease affecting an estimated 1.5 million Americans. LFA was founded in 1977 when a group of more than two dozen independent local lupus organizations came together to provide national leadership for lupus research, patient and professional education, and public awareness. Since then, the Foundation has grown to become the nation’s leading nonprofit voluntary health agency dedicated solely to lupus by providing national, state, and local programs through a nationwide network of chapters and support groups. LFA provides grants to researchers working on promising studies that could save and improve lives. Investigators who have received funding from LFA have made contributions towards achieving many of the most important advances in research on lupus including the development of one of the first diagnostic tests specifically for lupus and discoveries in specific risk factors and biomarkers.

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

For a list of our Honorary Chairs, click here

2017 Advocacy Award Sponsors

 Corporate Host




Program Partners

            Ann Lurie







AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association)
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alzheimer’s Association
American Association for Cancer Research
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
Arizona State University
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Eli Lilly and Company
Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Mary Hendrix and Chuck Craft
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Northeast Ohio Medical University
University of California San Francisco
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Network/ Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation
Van Andel Research Institute
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medicine
Mary Woolley

Research!America's 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

Media Contacts

Suzanne Ffolkes
VP Communications

Anna Briseño
Senior Manager of Communications

Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor