ARLINGTON, VA – February 16, 2017 – Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, will receive Research!America's Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for his commitment to accelerating cancer research as the driving force behind the White House Cancer Moonshot. The Cancer Moonshot, and now the Biden Cancer Initiative, aim to speed the pace in which effective therapies are made available to patients and improve efforts to prevent and detect cancer at an early stage. The Gund Award is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to increasing the level of advocacy for medical or health research at the local, state or national level.
Biden, who expressed hope in doubling the rate of progress toward ending cancer as we know it, will be honored at the 21st Annual Advocacy Awards at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The awards dinner, to be held March 15, brings more than 400 leaders from government, industry, academia and health advocacy organizations together to recognize top medical and health research advocates who have made an impact in advancing the nation's commitment to research.
"The energy behind the Cancer Moonshot is a result of Joe Biden's unflinching determination to prevent and halt the progression of cancer," said Governor Mike Castle, Research!America Board of Directors Vice Chair. "He's a true visionary who has the capacity to marshal the necessary brainpower and resources to help us make greater strides in cancer research."
Cancer is expected to take the lives of more than 600,000 people in the U.S. this year and an estimated 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed. Biden's son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died from brain cancer in 2015. Under Biden's leadership, the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force facilitated novel, innovative and impactful collaborations among twenty government agencies, departments and White House offices, and over 70 private sector collaborations designed to achieve a decade's worth of progress in five years in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Biden also helped lead the effort to pass the 21st Century Cures Act which provides $1.8 billion over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot's scientific priorities.
"Biden reinvigorated the scientific community with his bold vision for putting cancer research on a faster track, bringing renewed hope for patients and their loved ones," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. "We are honored to recognize his extraordinary achievements and perseverance in the fight against such a complex, deadly disease."
In recognition for his public service, Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, with distinction. The Biden Foundation, announced in February 2017, will build upon Joe Biden's and Dr. Jill Biden's lifelong commitment to protect and advance the rights and opportunities of all people through educational programming and public policy analysis. The Foundation's areas of focus include: The Cancer Initiative, foreign policy, community colleges and military families, protecting children, equality, ending violence against women and strengthening the middle class. Biden will also serve as the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, and lead the Biden Institute based at the University of Delaware, a research and policy center focused on public policy, economic reform and civil rights, among other issues. He has been named chair of the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan museum focused on educating and informing American people about the Constitution.
Other 2017 Research!America Advocacy Award honorees are Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who will receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy; Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH, who is the recipient of the Legacy Award; Kathy Bates, award-winning actress and Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) spokesperson; Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; and The Lupus Foundation of America.
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 15, 2017, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit http://www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.
Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit http://www.researchamerica.org.