2011 Advocacy Awards
2011 National Health Research Forum
Research!America's 2011 National Health Research Forum preceeded the 2011 Advocacy Awards on the afternoon of March 15. To learn more about the Forum and listen to full audio of the event, click here.
Highlights of Research!America's 2011 Advocacy Awards
Research!America's 15th Annual Advocacy Awards honored five individuals and one organization for their outstanding accomplishments as champions of the medical, health and scientific research that benefits us all.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) (pictured at left) was presented with the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. Introducing Durbin was Susan Whitehead, JD, of the Whitehead Charitable Foundation, who cited Durbin's longtime support of research funding, his push for legislation concerning tobacco control and childhood diseases, and his continued commitment to global health research.
"I must agree with England's David Cameron when he said of his own budget war: ‘No cuts that cost lives,'" Durbin said in his acceptance speech. "As long as politicians like me are around, we're going to make sure our commitments to medical research are kept. We are going to make sure Research!America and other great advocacy groups are able to continue their work."
Dean Kamen (pictured at right), founder of FIRST and of DEKA Research & Development, was honored with the Builders of Science Award for building innovative private-sector research models. In presenting the award, Elizabeth Nabel, MD, president of Brigham and Women's Hospital and a Research!America board member, noted Kamen's array of inventions that now help many people lead longer and healthier lives: a self-contained ambulatory pump, a portable dialysis machine and a robotic arm intended to restore functionality for individuals with upper extremity amputations.
"Without research everything is unthinkable. In this country millions of people watch the Academy Awards, but the people that create our standard of living are celebrating in the shadows," Kamen said. "We won't get support unless we have a people that understand [that] we have to start investing urgently in our next generation and educating kids on who the real heroes of this country are. I think we can do it."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured at left) was honored with the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award, celebrating his widespread influence on public health and prevention research. Bloomberg was introduced by Gordon Gund, CEO of the Gund Investment Corporation and co-founder of Foundation Fighting Blindness, and Ronald J. Daniels, JD, LLM, president of The Johns Hopkins University, a principal partner in support of Research!America's 2011 Advocacy Awards.
"Over the past nine years, we've lowered the rate of smoking in New York City and made foods healthier with less trans-fats and sodium," Bloomberg said. "We do all this by following three key principles. One, we respect science. We base our policies on what the data tell us-the only way to be intellectually honest and make progress. Two, we take application of the law. Three, we focus on primary and preventive care."
The Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award was presented to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, which was represented by Col. Jamie Grimes, MD, MC, USA (pictured at right). The award was presented by Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association and a Research!America board member. Johns cited DVBIC's growth in its 20 years to become one of the leading interdisciplinary centers studying traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
"It is an honor to accept this distinguished award on behalf of DVBIC and the many public partnerships for drawing awareness to TBI," Grimes said. "We have eight centers now, one in Europe, five VA centers and two civilian centers. It's our aim to serve the military through delivery of quality care."
J. Michael Bishop, MD (pictured at left), chancellor emeritus of the University of California, San Francisco, was awarded the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. Bishop's Nobel award in 1989 and his continued advocacy of Congress and other elected officials were noted by his presenter, Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc, corporate host of Research!America's 2011 Advocacy Awards.
"Scientists are obliged to make the case for science to lawmakers. It is not sufficient to argue medical research is transparently important, but politics is the way of the world and of course this has been Research!America's clarion call since its inception," Bishop said. "If I had to do it all over again I would spend more time talking to general audiences and public officials, penning op-eds. I never thought what I do was anything more than my responsibility."
Television journalist Charlie Rose (pictured at right) was awarded the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Victor Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and a Research!America board member, presented Rose with his award, filling in for the award benefactor, Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, of the Rosenfeld Heart Foundation. Dzau cited Rose's work on topics such as stem cell research, the human genome, obesity and brain research, among others.
"The reason that I do science is that people are hungry for information," Rose said. "All I do is find men and women who are changing our lives. I find them not because they have received Nobel prizes but because of the research they have made and that they have solved a problem. The idea of supporting science has made this country better. In the role of advocacy, we can't be victims; we must be powerful voices. Science doesn't know politics but science needs a voice."
Highlights of Research!America's National Health Research Forum
Building America's Economy and Health through Medical Research
Research!America's 2011 National Health Research Forum brought together experts from diverse sectors to discuss the current state of research, its strong value to America's health and economy, and challenges and obstacles facing research enterprise in the future.
Highlights from the first panel:
The Forum featured two panels. The first, moderated by Michael Riley of Bloomberg Government, discussed the importance of research to the U.S. economy, America's stature as the world's R&D leader, federal budget-tightening and the growing importance of public-private partnerships.
"Personal stories and sitting down a constituent who is struggling or has benefited from treatment with a Member are one of the best ways to encourage medical research and action from Congress. Basic research is needed in order for all research, from a government perspective, to move forward. The PR needs shoring up, in terms of what NIH has done and what it does—also FDA. But you can't just sell the message to politicians—you also need to sell it to consumers, who in turn as voters also sell to politicians." — The Honorable Mike Castle, former member of the House of Representatives, Research!America board member
"Are we losing our leadership? I don't think we have a good metric for that. Dr. [Francis] Collins and I feel an urgent sense of missed opportunity. Recovery funds were available and it wasn't hard to make good funding choices, but even then there were great projects that didn't get funded." — Carolyn Clancy, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
"We don't want to overly direct research; some major discoveries that have made huge differences were never intended. We need to be asking important inquisitive questions ... I'm worried that there's more of a shift toward applied research—and I'm an applied researcher—but we need to continue to support simple inquisitive research and stay focused on ultimately impacting better care." — Victor Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs at Duke University, Research!America board member
"We need to work for a society where people live longer, healthier lives with lower healthcare costs. Research can play a role in this, but we need to be real and not over-promise. We need to recognize that just because something works in a lab, it may not work in society - we need to bridge that implementation gap. We need to look at ways for government and the private sector to work together. We need to lead and build on past examples of government and private partnerships working together. The private sector can play a very vibrant role in research. We need to both prevent illness and deliver better care and promote research that does just that." — Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"We have difficult times ahead of us and it essentially poses a Sputnik question - if you have a Sputnik moment, does it stimulate? The mortality rates over the last eight years for breast and prostate cancer are down 8%, heart disease and stroke down 20%, HIV down 29%. That's not a coincidence. It's investment that has made those things possible. If we don't continue to make the investment, we don't lose claim to who made the cure but the ability to make the next cure a possibility." — Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, Research!America board member
Highlights from the second panel:
The second panel, moderated by Clive Crook, senior editor of The Atlantic, addressed gaps in the research enterprise and potential causes and solutions, areas that are underfunded and the global research ecosystem, including collaboration and competition.
"We need FDA to have the highest levels of regulatory science if we're going to keep up. The pharmaceutical industry spent $67.4 billion of private money on R&D last year, or $105,000 per employee. But it's part of an important ecosystem that's all interrelated—[government] agencies and private industry. Part of it is recognizing that each part of the ecosystem can stand alone, but it's important that industry, government agencies and academia recognize where efficiencies can be created from collaboration." — John Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America)
"The economy of health is a critical focus, but I want to say, what's the nature of medical research? Let's be clear that a society will be judged in how that society reaches out to those in need—maybe for economics, maybe for health. We shouldn't lose sight of that. The economics case for medical research is very strong but so is the humanitarian case." — Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health
"We have an exciting moment in time and we need to grab it. Agencies are increasingly on the same page. As a nation this is the potential Sputnik moment if we grab it. What are the things we need to support? Full harnessing of technology and ensuring preeminence of our country and supporting high value jobs and growing our economy. We need to look at opportunities in science and figure out how we can support that at the basic levels and beyond." — Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
"I'm living decisions that were made by the generation ahead of me. I was born around the time of Sputnik and I received excellent math and science education influenced by the Sputnik moment. Was the response to Sputnik to create a thriving biomedical scientific field? No, it was an unintended consequence. I want to draw attention to unintended consequences that established U.S. biomedical research. I'm very concerned about today and the current landscape and what we are doing to shape the next generation." — David Page, MD, director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
"The public didn't recognize FDA as a scientific agency but as a regulatory agency, and it is a science agency. Its decisions have to be innovative and informed. The patient community and advocacy community now recognize FDA as important to patient safety." — Ellen Sigal, PhD, founder of Friends of Cancer Research, Research!America board member
The Honorable Mike Castle
Carolyn Clancy, MD
Francis Collins, MD, PhD
Victor Dzau, MD
Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH
Margaret Hamburg, MD
David Page, MD
Ellen Sigal, PhD
Highlights of Research!America's Annual Meeting of Members
The Annual Meeting of Members took place on March 15, 2011, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., with a quorum of members represented. In additional to receiving annual reports from Research!America's officers, seven new Directors were elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors and three current Directors were re-elected for a three-year term. In addition to electing Directors, the membership of Research!America approved amended bylaws to ensure that Research!America meets contemporary standards of governance. The amendments to the bylaws resulted from a year-long review of governance practices conducted by a Board-appointed Governance Task Force. The annual meeting closed with Board Chair John Edward Porter paying tribute to Reseach!America president and CEO Mary Woolley for reaching her 20th anniversary of leading the organization.