Research!America to Honor Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson

Sen. Capito and Rep. Johnson to Receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30) have each been selected to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for their extraordinary contributions to strengthening our nation’s research capabilities and impact. They will be honored at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards, to be held virtually on April 14, 2021. The event marks the 25th anniversary of the Research!America advocacy awards.

“Senator Capito and Representative Johnson have each played critical roles in advancing life-saving science and public health,” said Research!America Chair, the Honorable Michael N. Castle. “Their leadership and commitment have never been more important as our nation combats COVID-19 and confronts other challenges to the health, security and prosperity of the American people.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations (Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee) and the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Senator Capito has made strong funding for the NIH a top priority and is proud that since FY16 the Committee has increased funding for NIH by $12.85 billion or nearly 43 percent. Senator Capito is a champion of Alzheimer’s disease research, having introduced multiple pieces of legislation to combat the disorder. She is also a nationally recognized and impactful champion for greater efforts to fight childhood cancers. Senator Capito has been instrumental in heightening the nation’s response to the opioid epidemic and championing effective strategies for reducing the toll of this ongoing crisis. She has been a consistent champion of the top quality research that can be done at academic institutions like those in West Virginia.

“I am honored to receive the Whitehead Award from Research!America, especially at a time when cutting-edge research is so important not just to saving lives but to improving the quality of life for all Americans,” said Capito. “Even as we make progress in defeating COVID-19, threats like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and the opioid crisis are taking lives. Research is critical to patients in West Virginia and across the nation.”

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is the first woman and first African American to Chair the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, a committee on which she has served since being elected to Congress in 1992. The first nurse to serve in Congress, Representative Johnson has played a singularly forceful role in fostering our nation’s scientific capacity, promoting high quality, broadly accessible STEM education and creating a thriving environment for early career researchers. Emblematic of her vision and commitment, Congresswoman Johnson has introduced legislation to increase access to high-quality STEM education for underserved populations, combat sexual harassment in scientific fields, support early career researchers, advance biological engineering research and development, and reauthorize the landmark America COMPETES Act.

“I am pleased to accept the Whitehead Award. Our nation’s scientific capacity is a defining strength and must continue to be a top priority going forward. In doing so, we must also bolster and diversify the STEM workforce, shore up our STEM infrastructure, and build out STEM investment to accelerate scientific and technological progress. Further, the value of science hinges on its application: evidence-based policymaking should not be an option – but rather a given – as the U.S. confronts the challenges and capitalizes on the opportunities before us.”

Research!America’s 2021 Advocacy Awards program honors outstanding individuals and organizations in advocacy for medical, health, and scientific research. The Whitehead Award, named in honor of Research!America founder Edwin C. “Jack” Whitehead, recognizes exemplary leaders, particularly those in public office, who have demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing medical and health research as a national priority and who galvanize others in support of science. The Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy is generously supported by the Whitehead Charitable Foundation and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

“Senator Capito and Congresswoman Johnson are true champions for science and the profoundly important role it plays in protecting and advancing the health of Americans and populations across the globe. Our nation is truly fortunate for their leadership, resolve and dedication to science and health” said Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley.

Other 2021 Research!America Advocacy Award honorees are Katalin Karikó, PhD, Senior Vice President, BioNTech; Drew Weissman, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Moderna; Moncef Slaoui, PhD Chief Scientific Advisor, Operation Warp Speed; the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center; the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities; Anne Schuchat, MD, Principal Deputy Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Michelle Williams, SM, ScD, Dean of Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School.

In addition to recognizing 2021 awardees, Research!America will honor the 2020 awardees whom we were unable to recognize in March 2020 due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a full list of 2020 awardees, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.

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Media Contacts

Terri Schwartzbeck
Director of Communications 
571-482-2719

We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America