Research!America to Honor Senator Susan Collins For Her Leadership in Advancing Research and Innovation

Senator Collins to Receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy at Awards Dinner March 14
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has been selected to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy 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. She will be honored at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

“Through her outstanding commitment to advancing research to benefit patients and their loved ones, Senator Collins has made a significant impact in strengthening our nation’s research enterprise,” said Research!America Chair Michael Castle. “Her determination to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s disease for the millions of Americans impacted by this dreadful illness is truly an inspiration for those dedicated to improving the treatment and prevention of deadly and disabling conditions.”

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. Senator Collins worked with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to introduce the National Clinical Care Commission Care Act to establish a national commission of health care experts to advance diabetes care and prevention. The bill was signed into law in 2017. In 2011, Senator Collins authored another law, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN).  NAPA convened a panel of experts, who determined that $2 billion per year in research funding is needed to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by the year 2025. As a result of her advocacy, the proposed Senate funding bill for FY18 provides a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, the largest in history. The proposed funding would bring the total for Alzheimer’s research to $1.8 billion – well within reach of the $2 billion goal.

“If we are to improve the health of Americans and the quality of their lives, we must continue to invest in areas like biomedical research,” said Senator Collins. “Research!America is dedicated to informing the public of the benefits of medical research and empowering members of the research community.  As the founder and Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force and the Senate Diabetes Caucus, I will continue to fight for increased funding to combat debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and so many other diseases that affect the lives of every American family. I am deeply honored to receive this award.”

Research!America’s 2018 Advocacy Awards dinner 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.

Other 2018 Advocacy Award recipients are the Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America Chair Emeritus, who will receive the Legacy Award; Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon, writer, and public health researcher and advocate; Dr. Roger I. Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for international research at the National Institutes of Health; Shari and Garen Staglin, Co-Founders, One Mind and Founders, Staglin Family Vineyard; Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine; and The EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases. 

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About 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. Recognized individuals and organizations are those whose extraordinary leadership efforts have been effective in advancing our nation’s commitment to medical, health and other scientific research. This year the awards event will take place on March 14, 2018, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.

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