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October 2017

Richard H. Carmona · 2017 Cecilia and Leonard Doak Health Literacy Champion Award

Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS who has devoted his career to public health and wellness, will be awarded the 2017 Cecilia and Leonard Doak Health Literacy Champion Award, Health Literacy Media (HLM) announced.

Dr. Carmona serves as Chief of Health Innovations at Canyon Ranch, and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona. He was President of the Board of Directors of Canyon Ranch Institute, which has recently joined with Health Literacy Media.

In 2002, Dr. Carmona was nominated by the President and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to become the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona was selected because of his extensive experience in public health, clinical sciences, health care management, preparedness, and his commitment to prevention as an effective means to improve public health and reduce health care costs while improving the quality and quantity of life.

As Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona focused on prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy, and global health to include health diplomacy. He issued many landmark Surgeon General reports during his tenure, including the definitive Surgeon General’s Report about the dangers of secondhand smoke. During his tenure, Dr. Carmona also initiated producing a companion “People’s Piece” to each Surgeon General’s report, which focused on delivering an understandable and usable version of the technical reports. More recently, he has written the book “30 Days to a Better Brain,” which provides a clear and understandable pathway to improved brain health.

Dr. Carmona’s extensive leadership background in many disciplines includes medicine, law enforcement, the military, public health, higher education, emergency preparedness, and health care management. He is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health, Professor of Surgery and Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Arizona. He previously served on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ MyVA Advisory Committee to improve the health care experiences of veterans as well as U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security work groups.

HLM will present the award at the 8th Annual Health Literacy Summit Luncheon on October 26th at The Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City.

Health Literacy Media, formerly Health Literacy Missouri, established the Cecilia and Leonard Doak Health Literacy Champion Award to honor individuals and organizations who make outstanding contributions in health literacy and whose work focuses on bridging the gap between the skills of people and the demands of the health care system. The award, named after two first-generation scholars and practitioners of health literacy, is presented to a single individual or organization each year and recognizes those who exhibit the highest standards of excellence, dedication, and accomplishment over a sustained period of time, and who are creative and highly skilled pioneers in the health literacy field. The award recognizes rigorous work and celebrates collaborative efforts to shape a path to good health.

Health Literacy Media (St. Louis, MO)

Contact: Michelle Roberts
Phone: 314.361.9400

17 researchers · Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation selected 17 researchers to receive the prestigious Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research. The purpose of the award is to stimulate innovative and potentially paradigm-shifting research on progressive Multiple Sclerosis, which may otherwise go unfunded in times of fiscal restraint. The award, which is given in two categories— Bridging Award for Physician-Scientists and the Pilot Innovator Award—total almost $4 million in grants over a five-year period. Grant recipients will study topics ranging from mechanisms behind myelination and demyelination, to the use of advanced imaging techniques and processes behind the causes of inflammation.

The award is named in honor of Marilyn Hilton, who endured the disease for decades, yet continued to radiate a positive spirit and demonstrate resolve.

Four of the 17 recipients will receive the Bridging Award for Physician-Scientists, which supports the work of postdoctoral fellows as they transition into faculty positions:

  • Dr. Martina Absinta, National Institutes of Health—to study how to reduce chronic inflammation in MS patients. ($585,000)
  • Dr. Sam Horng, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—to study astrocytic regulation of immune cell activity during central nervous system inflammation. ($395,000)
  • Dr. Michael Kornberg, Johns Hopkins University—to study signaling pathways leading to free radical damage in MS patients. ($620,000)
  • Dr. Jennifer Orthmann-Murphy, Johns Hopkins University—to use advanced imaging techniques to study what role astrocytes cells in the cortex may play in promoting remyelination in MS. ($620,000)

Following is a list of the 13 recipients of the Pilot Innovator Award, aimed at stimulating paradigm-shifting research into progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Young scientists at an early stage of their careers often have the greatest potential for innovation, but often the least resources. The Pilot Innovator Award grants are designed to be small and short, allowing the investigators time and resources to show proof of concept in order to gain enough data to apply for larger grants from the National Institutes for Health or the National MS Society.

Each of the below recipients will receive $120,000 in funding.

  • Dr. Drew Adams, Case Western Reserve University, to study the unifying mechanisms all remyelinating molecules have in common and to share findings with the field of MS research.
  • Dr. Pavan Bhargava, Johns Hopkins University, to identify new biomarkers of inflammation and neurodegeneration using the plasma of patients with MS.
  • Dr. Myriam Chaumeil, University of California, San Francisco, to develop an innovative neuroimaging method that will detect oxidative stress in patients with MS.
  • Dr. Alessandro Didonna, University of California, San Francisco, to study misfolded tau aggregates found in the brains of MS patients.
  • Dr. Valentina Fossati, New York Stem Cell Foundation, Inc., to study the properties of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in MS.
  • Dr. Ari Green, University of California, San Francisco, to support a retinal method study of innate immune activation in MS, with a goal of advancing targeted therapeutic approaches.
  • Dr. Susie Huang, Massachusetts General Hospital, to develop imaging markers of axonal damage and myelin integrity in MS patients using ultra-high gradient MRI techniques.
  • Dr. Ethan Hughes, The University of Colorado, to study mechanisms regulating MS-related myelin injury and repair in cortical lesions.
  • Dr. Eve Kelland, University of Southern California, to study the potential of angiotensin 1-7 to promote oligodendrocyte progenitor cell remyelination.
  • Dr. Hyun Kyoung Lee, Baylor College of Medicine, study how targeting the Wnt receptor complex may increase myelin repair in MS patients.
  • Dr. Laura Piccio, Washington University, to identify biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid that may predict MS disease progression and responses to therapy.
  • Dr. Seth Smith, Vanderbuilt University Medical Center, to apply advanced imaging to the study of the cervical spinal cord in patients with MS.
  • Dr. Michael Sy, The University of California, Irvine, to study whether lower GlcNAc levels promote the progression of MS by preventing oligodendrocyte formation and reducing remyelination.

Launched in 2014 with a Request for Proposal for biomarkers for progressive MS, the Hilton Foundation made six grants in 2015 totaling $4.5 million over four years through the Marilyn Hilton Award. Selections for the award recipients were made by the Hilton Foundation based on the recommendations from a scientific advisory committee composed of leading researchers from the MS field. The 2015 grant recipients included Dr. Peter Calabresi, Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Anne Cross, Washington University in St. Louis; Dr. Bill Rooney, Oregon Health & Science University; Dr. Eitan Akirav, Winthrop University Hospital; Dr. Fred Gage, Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and Dr. Katerina Akassoglou, Gladstone Institutes.

For more information about the award, please visit the Marilyn Hilton Award Page. For more information about the Hilton Foundation’s MS program, visit the website or contact Elizabeth Cheung.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)

Contact: Julia Friedman
Phone: 818.851.3754

Susan Sprigg · Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's WE Lead program

Interact for Health Research Officer Susan Sprigg has been chosen to participate in the 12th class of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's WE Lead program. The 10-month leadership program is designed to develop top-preforming, talented woman and help them further develop their leadership skills.  

Interact for Health (Cincinnati, OH)


Kelly Firesheets · Cincinnati Business Courier's 40 Under 40 for 2017

In addition, Senior Program Officer Kelly Firesheets has been chosen as one of the Cincinnati Business Courier's 40 Under 40 for 2017. This annual awards program recognizes young professionals in Greater Cincinnati, Ohio who have reached major milestones in their careers and also made significant contributions to the community. Ms. Firesheets and the other winners were honored at an awards luncheon September 19, 2017.

Interact for Health (Cincinnati, OH)


Reshma Khan · 2017 Leadership in Diversity Award

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina was thrilled to award Dr. Reshma Khan, Founder and Executive Director of The Shifa Free Clinic, a program of the Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA, the 2017 Leadership in Diversity Award.

Established in 2011, this award honors an individual or organization that has played an important role around leadership and diversity, and is willing to take a stand on important issues that affect those with less resources in South Carolina.

Fueled with a passion to serve the uninsured at the same level as those who have insurance, in 2012 Dr. Reshma Khan dedicated all of her efforts on a volunteer basis to start up and develop the Shifa Free Clinic. Since then, the Shifa Free Clinic has experienced tremendous growth, and currently serves a range of multispecialty needs including primary care, advanced gyn, vision care, vaccine, mental health, pediatric services, and an onsite dispensary for free medications for the uninsured, indigent, and immigrant populations regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. The Shifa Free Clinic also serves as a portal of goodness offering outreach programs addressing hunger prevention and food pantry/delivery, back-to-school giveaways, a clothes closet, and educational programs for the community, which includes graduating medical and nurse practitioner students.

Dr. Khan’s passion for the community extends far beyond The Shifa Free Clinic. She serves as an active participant in multiple interfaith programs in Charleston, an inspirational speaker, on the Board of Trustees at the Central Mosque of Charleston, and helped work to initiate and establish a Muslim Student Association at the College of Charleston.

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)

Contact: Langley Shealy
Phone: 803.254.0230, x19