Advocacy for research and innovation is central to ensuring progress in the fight against disease and disability. Honorees at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 16 in Washington, D.C., emphasized that point as they were recognized for their achievements in medical, health and scientific research.
“The gratification of what we’ve been able to do in health research has been incredible,” said Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). “Hopefully with your advocacy and my colleagues, we’ll step up once again and do things that allow this to become the norm rather than the exception,” he said, referring to the $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in FY16. Senator Blunt and Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) received the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. Chairman Cole talked about the importance of spending more money solving disease, rather than treating and managing it. Policymakers can work together in support of the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even “in a very divided” and polarized time, he said.
Harold Varmus, M.D., Lewis Thomas professor, Weill Cornell Medicine, received the Legacy Award. He stressed the need to promote and preserve science, “because it represents the best of what we have been-- and must continue to be-- as a nation.”
Other honorees included Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, who accepted the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion on behalf of the organization, which harnesses the collective power of Hollywood to raise awareness and funds for critical health, educational and social issues. The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership, was given to Robert Langer, Sc.D., David H. Koch Institute professor, MIT. Trish and George Vradenburg, co-founders of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2), received the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award.
Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association, and Lorri Carey, a patient advocate accepted the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award on behalf of The ALS Association. John Noseworthy, M.D., was honored with the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award. Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, accepted the award on Dr. Noseworthy’s behalf.
Research!America Board Chair The Honorable John Edward Porter commended Sen. Blunt and Rep. Cole for their “shared commitment” to improving human health. He also reminded attendees about the importance of voting in this year’s election, noting that the next president will appoint the heads of the federal health agencies.
Nominations for the 2017 Advocacy Awards are now being accepted through May 20, visit www.researchamerica.org/nominations and nominate an outstanding advocate for medical and health research.
For a special insert of the 2016 Advocacy Awards dinner and honorees, click here.