Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) says she has witnessed the power of medical research to transform lives. In remarks at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner, she described how advances in research dramatically improved the quality of life of a young diabetes patient. “There’s no investment that promises greater returns for Americans than our investments in biomedical research,” she said. Sen. Collins received the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for her leadership in advancing medical research, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes research, at the dinner held Wednesday, March 14 in Washington, D.C.
Research!America Chair Emeritus The Honorable John Edward Porter, recipient of the Legacy Award, noted that science is too often ignored by the public and policymakers. “What worries me most today is that we have learned how to make progress with evidence-based decision-making and yet many of our fellow citizens reject this,” he said. The award has been renamed in his honor.
Dr. Peter Hotez, who was honored with the Research!America Advocacy Award for Sustained National Leadership, discussed challenges with creating a sense of urgency about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “We now estimate that there are 12 million Americans living in extreme poverty infected with NTDs and this has been one of the hardest advocacy efforts of all - making people care about the poor and disenfranchised right here at home.”
Other honorees included Shari and Garen Staglin, who received the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for their efforts in brain disorder research advocacy. Dr. Atul Gawande, bestselling author and professor at Harvard Medical School, received the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for raising public awareness about the standard of health care. The Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award was presented to The EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases. Emil Kakkis, founder and board member of the Foundation, and Max Schill, patient advocate, accepted the award on the Foundation’s behalf. Dr. Roger Glass received the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for his leadership as director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health.
For videos, photos and a special insert from the 2018 Advocacy Awards Dinner, click here.