NEHI Celebrates Health Innovators at Annual Awards
This year's 2020 Innovators in Health Awards, held virtually for the first time, continued NEHI’s proud tradition of recognizing individuals who have inspired the community with their vision and achievements.
Following a heartfelt introduction by her father, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University, our first honoree, Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, FACOG described the collaborative approach she took to find a way to expand life-saving access to Hepatitis C treatments to Louisiana's Medicaid population and all people who are incarcerated in the state of Louisiana. Working with multiple stakeholders, Dr. Gee went on to lead the first subscription model that enabled Louisiana to afford life-saving care.
Our next awardee was introduced by friend and colleague, Michael Carson, President & CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Myechia Minter-Jordan MD, MBA inspired the audience with her dedication and commitment to contributing to innovation that is needed in the community, specifically Black and Brown communities. A founding member of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, and a member of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Health Inequality Task Force, Dr. Minter-Jordan is a true leader in increasing access to care for vulnerable communities.
Our last honoree was introduced by Jonathan Fleming, Senior Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of NEHI’s Board of Directors, and dear friend of the late Henri Termeer.John Maraganore, PhD was honored as NEHI's 2020 Henri A. Termeer Memorial Innovator in Health. He closed the awards with a message of hope for the future of innovation in improving patients’ lives. Dr. Maraganore's extraordinary work and leadership developing the first RNAi therapies that target the cause of disease, blocking disease causing proteins, promise solutions not for rare and common diseases alike. His persistence, creativity, and patient focus embody what Henri Termeer stood for.
Post Awards Panel Discussion: Racial Inequity in Health Care and Health Outcomes
COVID-19 has unmasked and magnified long-standing underlying health disparities, many of which are based on race. Given the expertise and dedication of its awardees, NEHI was grateful to be able to host a panel discussion on the role of innovation in promoting health equity.
Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD, President & CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, was an outstanding panel moderator. She has dedicated her career to broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefits from cutting-edge innovation and gave additional meaning and depth to the discussion. Innovation is essential to reducing health disparities, but we must ensure that innovations address the needs of the individuals they are intended to benefit
Our honorees discussed innovations on the horizon that give them great confidence in their ability to reduce health disparities based on race, what role that issues of trust and understanding of science come into play when promoting access to such innovations, especially within Black and Brown communities, and the necessary steps to overcoming this problem in heath care and expanding innovations that can have a meaningful and practical impact on Black and Brown communities.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO THIS YEAR'S SPONSORS!
For more information about this year’s Innovators in Health awards, visit www.innovatorsinhealthawards.net.