Research!America Honors Health Research Advocates

Senator, National Journalist, Nobel Laureates Among Awardees
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WASHINGTON—March 21, 2007—A U.S. Senator, world renowned journalist, former U.S. Surgeon General and two Nobel laureates are among those honored for their exemplary advocacy for research to improve health at Research!America's 11th Annual Advocacy Awards gala. The event took place, yesterday, March 20 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News served as master of ceremonies.

"It is an honor to recognize our 2007 Advocacy Award winners, all of whom have done so much to advance health research broadly," said Mary Woolley, Research!America president. "In recognizing them and their work which includes focuses on mental health, cardiovascular, epilepsy, obesity and stem cell research, we hope also to inspire more advocates to action."

Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch received the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. This pinnacle Research!America award recognizes the Senator's past and continuing work to advance medical and health research, including his ongoing support for growth in the National Institutes of Health and his enduring commitment to ensuring that American scientists can explore the full potential of stem cell research. As an original co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act in current and past sessions of Congress, Hatch is working to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The award benefactor is the Whitehead Charitable Foundation. Edwin C. Whitehead (1919-1992) worked to further biomedical research with the founding of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in 1982 and the founding of Research!America in 1989.

Mike Wallace, CBS News correspondent emeritus was presented with the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Wallace has brought new understanding and hope to sufferers of depression and other mental illnesses by speaking candidly and in great detail about his descents into and recoveries from depression. He has reached millions regarding the promise of psychiatric research and the needs of psychiatric patients, in part through his memoir Between You and Me and in his 2005 farewell interview on "60 Minutes," for which he had been a correspondent since its 1968 premiere.

The award benefactor, Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical Center, is one of the nation's preeminent physicians, health editor for PARADE magazine, a best-selling book author and a Research!America emeritus director.

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership was presented to David Satcher, MD, PhD, director, Center for Excellence on Health Disparities, Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health, Morehouse School of Medicine. Satcher served as Surgeon General of the United States from 1998 through 2002, and founded the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse. Only the second person in history to have held the positions of surgeon general and assistant secretary for health simultaneously, his work transformed the nation's approach to public health because of his insistence that policy be based on solid research. He spearheaded efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and oversaw the release of reports on topics including mental health, suicide prevention and obesity.

Award benefactors Beverly and Raymond R. Sackler, MD, are long-standing Research! America supporters. Raymond Sackler is a Research!America emeritus director.

Susan Axelrod, president and founder of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) received the Gordon and Llura Gund Volunteer Leadership Award. Axelrod launched CURE in 1998 with two other mothers who, like Axelrod, have children struggling with epilepsy. Her efforts have helped CURE raise $5 million and award more than 50 grants for research. Axelrod was instrumental in organizing the CURE-National Institutes of Health conference "Curing Epilepsy-Focus on the Future," which drew international attention, and several workshops and other conferences to help advance epilepsy research.

Award benefactors Llura and Gordon Gund have been innovative supporters of health research for more than 30 years. In March 2006, Gordon Gund was honored with a Research!America volunteer leadership advocacy award for his role in advancing research for retinal degenerative diseases.

The Paul G. Rogers Award for the Organization That Has Distinguished Itself by its Advocacy was presented to the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research for its bold and effective work since 2001 to ensure that the voices of patients, scientists and physicians were heard in the debate over stem cell research and the future of regenerative medicine. Sean Tipton, CAMR president, accepted the award.

The award, underwritten by Hogan & Hartson LLP, is named for The Honorable Paul G. Rogers, a former Congressman, renowned advocate for health and Research!America chair emeritus.

Research!America's new Builders of Science Award recognizes individuals who have helped establish a research facility or build the credentials and reputation of an existing institution. The inaugural Builders of Science Award went to Nobel Laureates Michael Brown, MD and Joseph Goldstein, MD, and Donald W. Seldin, MD, for their collaborative work to build the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center into a top-ranked institution.

Brown and Goldstein, who together received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1985 for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism, are regental professors at the medical center. Seldin is a chair in internal medicine.

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The 2007 Advocacy Awards represent Research!America's 11th year of recognizing the accomplishments of leading advocates for medical and health research.

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Media Contacts

Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 
571-482-2737

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