2012 Advocacy Awards

Highlights of Research!America's 2012 AdvocacyAwards

Research!America's16th Annual Advocacy Awards honored five individuals and one organization fortheir outstanding accomplishments as champions of the medical, health andscientific research that benefits us all.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)Sen. Barbara A.Mikulski (D-MD) (pictured at left) was presentedwith the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. Introducing Mikulskiwere Hazel Sive, PhD, of theWhitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and The Honorable Kweise Mfume,a Research!America Board member. Sive lauded Mikulski's long-standingleadership in research, public health and prevention, and regulatory science,among other things. Mfume talked about Mikulski's commitment to public sectorresearch as a way to advance private sector innovation, thus setting the stagefor business and job growth.

"I remember whenBernadine Healy was recovering from her own dreaded brain cancer, I called herup and we had a chat. I said, ‘Did you read TheNew York Times? Breast cancer rates, because of the change in hormone therapy,has gone down 15%.' I said, ‘You know Bernadine, because of the way we workedtogether, we worked to save lives a million at a time.' Wow," Mikulski said inher acceptance speech. "So, I tell you that story because, you see, I could gothrough numbers and statistics. But for me, it's always about the human. And Iknow each and every one of you ... it's always about the people."

Donald A. B. Lindberg, MDDonald A. B.Lindberg, MD, director of theNational Library of Medicine (pictured at right), was honored with the Geoffrey Beene Builders ofScience Award for building innovative private-sector research models. Inpresenting the award, Mara Hutton of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation notedLindberg's leadership at the forefront of health and computers and his effortto make information resources available to all through the World Wide Web,especially those in rural, remote, minority and underserved communities.

"I do take great pleasurein the moment in which we pay some attention to studies of information per sethat [are] the basis of the practice of medicine, basis of learning, basis of remembering.It's worthwhile to invest in research in those areas because they benefit all ofus," Lindberg said. "And I think the focus that this organization has oncontinuing-that is to say, long-term-basic research support is tremendouslyimportant. Nothing could be better for the country, and I think for probably forthe world as well."

Mary Jane MarchisottoThe Paul G.Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award was presented to the FoodAllergy Initiative, which was represented by Mary Jane Marchisotto, FAI's executive director (pictured at left). The award waspresented by The Honorable Michael N. Castle, a former U.S. representativeand a Research!America board member. Castle cited FAI's successful advocacy forfood allergies, both in terms of research funding and patient safety.

"We need moremoney to conduct the groundbreaking research to get us to the cure, to get usto the finish line," Marchisotto said. "This evening marks an incrediblemilestone for FAI and for the food allergic community. Your award recognizesnot only what we have done, it also validates that food allergies are a majorpublic health issue that needs to be resolved. And while we are very, veryproud of our considerable accomplishments, we are even more energized by theinitiatives that we are working on today."

Scott JohnsonScott Johnson, president and founder of the Myelin RepairFoundation (pictured at right), was honored with the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award. Johnsonwas introduced by Shari McCoy, MSc,vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson (the corporate host of the 2012 AdvocacyAwards), who lauded Johnson's efforts to bring research into the hands ofpatients more quickly. She also noted the numerous plaudits Johnson and theMyelin Repair Foundation have recently received.

"We are on amission to demonstrate that medical research can be accelerated. To go from thebench to bedside, as is the common term, we can do that in a much more rapid timeframe.To me, leadership-this leadership award is important to us-leadership is about thinkingdifferently and executing," Johnson said. "Because doing the same thing aseveryone else is the definition of following. And so everything about what wedo at the Myelin Repair Foundation is different."

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (h.c.)Margaret Foti,PhD, MD (h.c.), CEO of theAmerican Association for Cancer Research (pictured at left), was awarded the Raymond and BeverlySackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. In introducing Foti, John Stewart, president and CEO ofPurdue Pharma, talked about her leadership of AACR as it increased the breadthof its scientific programs and helped shaped funding and policy decisions asthey related to medical research.

"It's really agreat blessing to be able to work in the cancer field and to know that, in somesmall way, my work is helping people. We must never forget our patients. Ourpatients are waiting, and they're depending on us to do better," Foti saidduring her acceptance speech. "And they bring us their suffering, and theybring us the need to move forward. We must bring them this amazing scientific discoverythat is happening. We must bring all of that to their bedsides as rapidly aspossible."

Sanjay Gupta, MDCNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD,(pictured at right) was awarded the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. The award'snamesake, Isadore Rosenfeld, MD,praised Gupta's use of his medical training to make a range of science andhealth topics more accessible to the general public.

"Ithink we can, in a sense, use media to broaden the peer review process. I thinkthat this is a very exciting part: broaden that peer review process so thateveryone really has a voice. It can also create a more inclusive, contributing communityfor scientists and researchers all over the world," Gupta said during hisacceptance speech. "You never know where the next great development, the nextgreat research is going to come from; I think media can help give a voice tolots of people, lots of labs, lots of contributors-right in this room andanywhere around the world. And I think they can make all of that happen muchfaster."

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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers