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November 29, 2017

Esteemed leaders from across the US government, industry, and the global health and medical research communities gathered at the Newseum in Washington, DC yesterday for GHTC’s Innovating for Impact Awards to celebrate US commitment to global health research and development (R&D) and honor Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) for their congressional leadership on this issue. GHTC also recognized the partnership that developed the dapivirine microbicide ring—a woman-centered HIV prevention tool—for its efforts to advance this groundbreaking new technology.

GHTC honored Congressman Cole with a Congressional Champion Award, recognizing his leadership— as Chairman of the House, Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee—in championing key US agencies engaged in global health R&D, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). In his acceptance remarks, Congressman Cole emphasized the importance of US leadership in this field: “We have capacities and capabilities that quite honestly no one else in the world has….Others will help, others want to help, but they have to have us in this area to lead because we have the resources, the talent, and the technological expertise.” He noted the value of global health research from both a practical and humanitarian perspective. “You represent a cause that fundamentally is absolutely the right thing for this country to be doing…but it’s also the smart thing to do….Disease is an awfully expensive thing, and I see the payback for this,” he said.

View video honoring Congressman Tom Cole

GHTC also honored Senator Coons with a Congressional Champion Award for his longstanding commitment to US global health initiatives and championing the role of R&D and innovation in furthering their impact. “Whether it’s eradicating malaria, whether it’s sustaining our progress against HIV/AIDS…whether it’s making real progress in understanding the core causes of disease here and then exporting that, I’m convinced that investments in R&D will be returned and repaid many, many times over,” Senator Coons emphasized in accepting his award. He stressed that “by investing proactively in R&D…we will continue to push back on disease and advance the boundaries of human kindness, of human health, and of human prosperity.”

View video honoring Senator Chris Coons.

Dr. Zeda Rosenberg
, founder and chief executive officer of the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), accepted the Partnership Award on behalf of the many industry, government, and nonprofit partners who supported the development of the dapivirine microbicide ring—a monthly vaginal microbicide ring that delivers antiretroviral drugs. As the first long-acting HIV prevention product designed specifically for women, the dapivirine ring is poised to be the next breakthrough tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“It was a partnership from start to finish,” Dr. Rosenberg said in discussing how these various organizations came together to develop a tool to serve the needs of women at high risk of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Rosenberg emphasized the value of these multisector partnerships in bringing critically needed health technologies to market. “The HIV/AIDS epidemic is such a challenge that the only way we will be able to control this epidemic long-term is through partnership,” she underscored.

View video honoring the dapivirine microbicide ring.

Dr. Rosenberg was joined onstage by David Stanton, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health at USAID, and Jami Taylor, Senior Director of Global Public Health Systems Policy and Partnerships at Johnson & Johnson, for a short dialogue discussing the role of the US government, Johnson & Johnson, IPM, and other partners in advancing development of the dapivirine ring.

Attendees also heard from Jamie Bay Nishi, director of GHTC, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who welcomed attendees to the event via video. Dr. Tom Friedan, former Director of the CDC and current President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, also spoke about the power of multisector partnerships in advancing R&D and what actions are needed to tackle emerging global health threats.

Among the distinguished guests in attendance were: Dr. Rima Khabbaz, Director of the Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at CDC; Dr. Rebecca Martin, Director for the Center for Global Health at CDC; Dr. Roger Glass, Director of the NIH Fogarty International Center; Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH; Mary Fogarty McAndrew, daughter of John E. Fogarty for whom the Fogarty International Center is named; David Milestone, Acting Director of the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact (CII) at USAID; and numerous other nonprofit, private sector, and government leaders.

The Innovating for Impact Awards were created by GHTC to mark both the organization’s 10th anniversary and honor the multisector partnerships and policymakers helping transform breakthrough scientific research into lifesaving drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and other health tools for unmet global health challenges.

This year’s award selection committee included Holly Wong [chair], Vice President of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services; Carolyn Reynolds, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at PATH; Wendy Taylor, former Director of CII; Gavin Yamey, Director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke University; and GHTC Director Jamie Bay Nishi.