Senator Blunt, Rep. DeLauro, and developers of child-friendly TB medicines honored with GHTC Innovating for Impact Awards
The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) yesterday honored Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) at its second annual Innovating for Impact Awards. GHTC also recognized the partnership that developed and introduced improved child-friendly tuberculosis (TB) medicines, making these transformative treatments available to children in need worldwide. This event, which celebrates US policymakers and partnerships driving progress in global health innovation, was hosted with support from Johnson & Johnson.
In remarks at the event, Senator Blunt voiced his support for continued US efforts to find treatments and cures for the world’s deadliest diseases. “We’ve seen real crises in the last few years…Ebola in 2014…Zika in 2015—and suddenly the globe gets really small. Suddenly there are no borders or barriers in a global health crisis, and we’ve been reminded too often of that. You just simply can’t separate global health and American health,” said Blunt in accepting his award. Senator Blunt, who is Chairman of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, received a Congressional Champion Award in recognition of his leadership in protecting and expanding funding for agencies engaged in global health research and development (R&D), including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who is ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, was also recognized with a Congressional Champion Award for her leadership in championing medical research funding and in galvanizing action and new funding to respond to the Ebola and Zika epidemics. Caitlin Peruccio, a member of Rep. DeLauro’s staff, accepted the award on behalf of the Congresswoman who was not able to attend due to House leadership elections yesterday evening. “The questions before us are not just about policy, they are about our values…We cannot ignore the suffering of those beyond our border or pretend their fortunes are somehow separate from our own. Global health must be an American priority,” Peruccio said, reading the Congresswoman’s prepared remarks.
GHTC presented the Partnership Award to Dr. Mel Spigelman, president and chief executive officer of TB Alliance, who accepted the award on behalf of the many partners who supported the development and roll out of improved TB medicines designed specifically for children. This partnership, which was led by TB Alliance—with contributions from Australian Aid, Irish Aid, Unitaid, the US Agency for International Development, UK Aid, and other partners—produced new formulations of TB treatments that are appropriately dosed for children, dissolvable in water, and fruit-flavored for palatability. Now available in 86 countries and counting, these affordable medicines have transformed the treatment of TB for children and their families around the world.
“On behalf of TB Alliance and our partners, we are honored to receive this award. We are proud to have had the opportunity to improve the treatment landscape for children, who are perhaps the most vulnerable of those afflicted with TB. Our ultimate goal of ending the TB epidemic will require both new tools and collaborative approaches; we remain dedicated to advancing TB drug research, development and delivery with our partners worldwide, so we can one day realize a world in which every person with TB can be treated with an affordable, safe, short, and effective therapy,” said Dr. Spigelman.
Dr. Spigelman was joined onstage by Cheri Vincent, Chief of the TB Division at the US Agency for International Development, and Dr. Anna Laura Ross, Technical Manager of Strategy at Unitaid, for a short dialogue discussing their organizations’ contributions to develop and bring these child-friendly TB treatments to market.
Attendees also heard from Kojo Nnamdi, host of NPR WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show, who emceed the dinner, and Dr. Alan Tennenberg, Chief Medical Officer of Global Public Health at Johnson & Johnson who spoke about the power of multisector partnerships in advancing global health innovation.
“GHTC is thrilled to honor Senator Blunt, Congresswoman DeLauro, and the developers of child-friendly TB medicines with our Innovating for Impact Awards,” said Jamie Bay Nishi, director of GHTC. “US leadership in global health R&D has helped fuel tremendous progress in generating new cures and vaccines to fight the world’s deadliest diseases, and we’re so delighted to recognize the outstanding work of our honorees who helped make this progress possible.”
Global health R&D is vital to conquering the world’s greatest health challenges and to building a safer, healthier world for all. Now in its second year, the Innovating for Impact Awards celebrates US commitment to global health R&D and honors the multisector partnerships and policymakers helping to transform breakthrough scientific research into lifesaving technologies for unmet global health challenges.