2018 Advocacy Awards Dinner

purchase tickets for the 2018 Advocacy Awards Dinner on Wednesday, March 14.

Research!America’s 22nd annual Advocacy Awards Dinner honors outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research while gathering together the most esteemed leaders in health and medical research, advocacy, industry, media and government for an inspirational evening filled with conversation and excitement. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C., at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. Click here to reserve your seat now. 

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Research!America Advocacy Award honorees:

Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy

U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will be receiving the award for her leadership in increasing federal funding for research, particularly Alzheimer’s disease research. Working to support caregivers and increase federal funding for research are among Senator Collins’ top priorities as the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force. Senator Collins was first elected in 1996 and ranks 15th in Senate seniority. She is the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and the Aging Committee, and she is a member of the Senate Health Committee. She is also the founder and co-chair of both the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force and Senate Diabetes Caucus. Since the diabetes caucus was founded, funding for diabetes research has more than tripled from $319 million to more than $1 billion in 2017. 

Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie

The Honorable John Edward Porter has served as a member of the Research!America board since 2001, 12 of those years as chair and now chair emeritus. Porter was U.S. Congressman from the 10th district in Illinois for 21 years, serving on the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations and chairing the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which allocates funding for the NIH and other health-related federal agencies. He was instrumental in doubling the funding for the NIH over five years. In 2014, the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, a state of the art facility at the NIH, was dedicated in his name. Porter is also the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Academy’s highest honor. He is a senior advisor in the international law firm Hogan Lovells LLP.  

Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion

Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH, surgeon, writer, and public health researcher and advocate, dramatically raised the profile of health systems research, and has promoted evidence-based research to improve health care delivery throughout his career. Dr. Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, publishing influential essays on the science and practice of medicine, from people’s individual experiences to the effects of national policy. He is Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is also Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation working to save lives and reduce suffering for people everywhere through simple, scalable solutions that improve the delivery of care. Dr. Gawande is Chairman of the non-profit organization Lifebox, which is bringing the Safe Surgery Checklist, shown to cut post-operative deaths in half, to low-income countries around the world.

Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

Roger I. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for international research at the NIH. In these roles, Glass oversees an extensive portfolio of grants and awards that support training of global health researchers and facilitates NIH’s research and training partnerships abroad. Dr. Glass's research expertise is in the prevention of gastroenteritis from rotaviruses, noroviruses and cholera. He has maintained field studies in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Russia, Vietnam, China and elsewhere, and created a team of epidemiologists and virologists that spearheaded global efforts to research and introduce rotavirus vaccine worldwide. Dr. Glass is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Charles C. Shepard Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for his 30-year career as a leader in scientific research, and the 2015 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award for his novel scientific research in the prevention of gastroenteritis from rotaviruses and noroviruses.

Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award

Shari and Garen Staglin, founders of the Staglin Family Vineyard, will receive the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for their commitment to accelerating cures for brain disorders through scientific research. Shari and Garen have actively given back to the community and supported charitable causes for 45 years. Their focus on brain health research is the result of their son Brandon’s diagnosis of schizophrenia in 1990. Brandon is now director of marketing and communications at One Mind Institute and his sister Shannon is president at the Staglin Family Vineyard. The Staglins founded One Mind, One Mind Institute and Bring Change2Mind to address brain disorders and stigma. For the last 23 years their annual Music Festival for Brain Health, along with their other advocacy efforts, have raised over $280 million for brain health research. 

Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award

The EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases has been selected to receive the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award. Rare diseases affect more than 30 million Americans, and there are fewer than 500 approved treatments for the 7,000 rare diseases that exist. The EveryLife Foundation was founded in 2009 to improve the regulatory process for drug development, from clinical trials to approval, by working with patient organizations, industry, academic scientists, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the NIH to spur insightful scientific analysis and dialogue, expand grassroots support, and ultimately bring about key policy changes. The Foundation played a pivotal role in securing passage of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in 2016. 

Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership 

Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., will receive the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his far-reaching work in the areas of neglected tropical disease (NTD) research and vaccine development. Dr. Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology. He serves as the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, where he leads a unique product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and SARS/MERS, diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative, he co-founded a Global Network for NTDs to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people. Hotez was among the first to predict Zika’s emergence in the U.S. and is recognized as an authority on vaccines. He is an outspoken leader of national efforts to educate the public about vaccines amid growing misconceptions about them, and he has appeared on BBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Hotez is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

To see a list of the Honorary Chairs, click here

For more information about past Advocacy Awards, click here. 

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities and tickets, download a pledge form and reserve your space at www.researchamerica.org/sponsorship. Or contact Thayer Surette at tsurette@researchamerica.org.

2018 Advocacy Award Sponsors

corporate host

future innovators sponsor:

Program Partners







AAAS- American Association for the Advancement of Science



Alzheimer’s Association

American Association for Cancer Research

American Cancer Society

American Heart Association


Baylor College of Medicine

Children’s National

Charles Craft and Mary Hendrix

Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Northwestern University

Rockefeller University

Society for Neuroscience

Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute


Washington University in St. Louis

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

You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter