Research!America To Honor Leaders in Medical and Health Research Advocacy
Robin Roberts, Michael Milken, Dr. Kenneth Olden, David Van Andel, Dr. George Vande Woude and the Society for Neuroscience to Receive 2015 Research!America Advocacy Awards
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—September 29, 2014—Research!America’s 19th annual Advocacy Awards will honor distinguished research advocates who are trailblazers in advancing medical progress to improve the health and economic security of our nation. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.
The 2015 Advocacy Award winners are ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts; Michael Milken, founder of the Milken Institute and FasterCures; Dr. Kenneth Olden, Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. EPA; David Van Andel, Chairman and CEO, and Dr. George Vande Woude, Founding Scientific Director, Van Andel Research Institute; and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
“These exceptional leaders have advanced scientific discovery and innovation through their determination to improve the health of individuals worldwide,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “Their work has paved the way for others who are committed to ensuring that we save lives and sustain our nation’s global competitiveness with robust support for research.” Continue reading →
Excerpt of a blog post by Dr. Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
The Research!America awards dinner is like a lot of DC galas, complete with members of Congress, celebrities, and speeches to honor those who have contributed to a cause. For Research!America, the cause is biomedical research and this year, as in each of the past 25 years, there were honors bestowed on advocates for cancer and rare diseases. Kathy Giusti, diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998, spoke passionately about the lack of research on this blood cancer and her singular fight to create a registry and clinical trials, leading to new treatments that have extended her own life and the lives of many others well beyond all predictions. The parents of Sam Berns, an icon for the rare disease progeria, spoke of their son’s commitment to find a cure for this disorder in which children age rapidly and die early. Sam died last month at age 17, but during his brief life, and partly through his efforts working with the world’s foremost genetics labs, the genetic cause was found and new treatments were developed that will almost certainly extend life for others with this rare mutation (see Sam’s inspirational Ted talk ).
For me, what made this event different from previous years was the recognition of advocates for people with mental illness. The actress Glenn Close was recognized for co-founding BringChange2Mind, a campaign to reduce negative attitudes toward those with mental illness. In her eloquent remarks accepting the award, Glenn introduced her sister, Jessie Close, and her nephew, Calen Pick, who each battle serious mental illness. Jessie has struggled with bipolar disorder and Calen with schizophrenia.
When Glenn invited Jessie and Calen to make a few remarks, the evening really became historic. Together, they described a journey undertaken with Deborah Levy and her colleagues at McLean Hospital and elsewhere over the past 3 years. The research team found that Calen and Jessie shared a rare genomic copy number variant resulting in extra copies of the gene for glycine decarboxylase. This gene encodes the enzyme that degrades glycine, a key modulator of the NMDA receptor, which has been implicated in psychosis. Having extra copies of this gene, it seemed possible that Jessie and Calen would be deficient in glycine, with less activity of the NMDA receptor.
Read the full post here.
Do you know a stellar research advocate? Nominate them for the 2014 Research!America Advocacy Awards
Every year, Research!America honors outstanding biomedical and health research advocates from a variety of fields. We are currently accepting nominations for our 25th Anniversary Advocacy Awards. Through these awards, Research!America recognizes individuals and organizations whose leadership efforts have been notably effective in advancing our nation’s commitment to research. The nomination process is simple and the deadline is May 15.
There are multiple categories, including individual and organization awards. Past winners include CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, patient advocate John Crowley, Chair and CEO, Amicus Therapeutics, Bob Woodruff, the March of Dimes and the late C. Everett Koop. You can read about the 2013 Advocacy Awards on our blog and view information about other past award winners on our website. The 2014 Advocacy Awards will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 12, 2014.
Now available online, Research!America’s Annual Report, “Reasons for Research,” recounts the progress made in research advocacy by Research!America and its members representing academia, industry, scientific societies, patient groups and foundations. In addition to highlighting the 2012 Advocacy Awardees and Garfield Economic Impact Awardees, the report details Research!America initiatives such as the ongoing Save Research campaign and the Your Candidates–Your Health national voter education initiative. The annual report also includes polling data, statements from speakers at the National Health Research Forum — including the heads of the federal health agencies — and other Research!America activities in collaboration with members and partners.
The theme for this year’s report, Reasons for Research, is reflected in a new webpage on Research!America’s website. Here you can read testimonials of patients and young scientists highlighting their reasons for research. Without continued advocacy and support for biomedical and health research, these young scientists may not be able to pursue their passion: investigating cures and treatments for patients like those featured on this webpage.
Research!America will honor extraordinary leaders in biomedical and health research advocacy at the 17th Annual Advocacy Awards tonight, March 13, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. This year’s Advocacy Award Winners are: Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA); Diane Rehm, author and host of WAMU 88.5 and NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show”; John F. Crowley, patient advocate, inspirational entrepreneur, and chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc.; John Mendelsohn, MD, director, Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and former president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Mark Rosenberg, MD, president and CEO, The Task Force for Global Health; and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
“The leadership demonstrated by this year’s award recipients has inspired others to push boundaries to improve the health of Americans and maintain our competitive edge in science and innovation,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “As advocates, they have contributed significantly to making biomedical and health research a higher national priority.”
Follow Research!America on Twitter (@researchamerica) and visit our Facebook page to get more information about tonight’s event. Look for photos of the Awards Dinner on our Flickr account and video clips on our YouTube page in the coming days.
For more information about the honorees, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards and read our latest press release. You can also follow news updates from our honorees. Read Senator Burr’s blog and news from Senator Casey; visit The Diane Rehm Show’s Facebook page; don’t miss the Crowley family’s website and Amicus Therapeutics news; keep up with news about Mendelsohn and the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy; Rosenberg and the Task Force for Global Health’s online news room is full of great information; and don’t miss CIRM’s blog.