Friday, March 15, 2013

CIRM chairman reflects on winning advocacy award from Research!America

Jonathan Thomas is CIRM Chairman

CIRM Chairman Jonathan Thomas receiving the Research!America Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award from Mike Castle, Research!America Board Vice Chair
The news of our winning the highly coveted Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award may have been a tad overshadowed by the news that a new Pope had been elected, but that doesn’t in any way diminish the importance of the recognition, nor our pride in receiving it.

The award was given by Research!America, one of the most prestigious awards in public health. It honors individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing the US’s commitment to health and medical research.

We picked up the prize at an inspiring awards ceremony in Washington D.C. on Wednesday evening. We were in impressive company as the event was attended by Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, FDA Commissioner Dr. Peggy Hamburg and a host of Senators and Congressmen.

But for me the highlight of the evening was having a chance to sit down with the widow and daughter of Paul Rogers and letting them know how much it meant for us to be honored in his name. Rogers was a congressman from Florida who was known by his congressional colleagues as “Mr. Health” because of his leading role in passing dozens of measures promoting health care and the environment.

Our friend and long-time supporter, patient advocate Don Reed, nominated us for the award saying: “CIRM is more than a shining symbol of hope—it is a working tool to turn dreams of health into reality.”

We keep those words in mind every day, as we work to try to speed up the development of new treatments and cures, and as we try to live up to the honor bestowed on us by Research!America.

J.T.

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