The Heinz Awards Review - Summer 2010

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The Heinz Awards pay tribute to the memory of Senator H. John Heinz III by celebrating those who embrace, as he did, the joyous American belief that individuals have both the power and responsibility to change the world for the better.

As a reminder of the virtues of hard work, determination, excellence and a broad vision for the future, the Heinz Family Foundation annually recognizes a special group of individuals for their outstanding contributions.



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teresa heinz
chairman

jeffrey r. lewis
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kim o'dell
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carole smith
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heinz awards review


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sidney b. felsen
photography

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Jane Lubchenco

The ongoing Gulf oil spill clean-up has enlisted the assistance of multiple Heinz Awards recipients. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the leading scientific resource for agencies executing the clean-up and as its administrator, Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., oversees its activities. NOAA has been on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon spill since the leak began in late April. Lubchenco (8th Environment Heinz Award) oversees the constant monitoring of severe weather patterns affecting the region and clean-up efforts, as well as coordinating biological response services to federal, state and local government agencies. For NOAA updates, click here.

Paul AnastasOne issue that heated up early in the clean-up phase was the safety of the dispersant used by BP. Paul Anastas, Ph.D., assistant administrator for research and development at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), headed the testing of the chemical sprayed by the oil company on the Gulf waters. In a briefing to reporters following the June 30 release of his report, Anastas (12th Environment Heinz Award) said the first round of testing revealed the chemicals were no more toxic than alternatives. He emphasized that much more testing was taking place, and said the EPA was closely monitoring all products used in the clean-up. Since the spill, EPA has provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and is monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns. For more details, click here.

Beverly WrightBeverly Wright, Ph.D., has also taken an active role in the clean-up by helping train workers on the proper use of safety equipment to ensure their health is not compromised while remediating the waters and shoreline. As founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University, Dr. Wright (15th Special Focus on the Environment Heinz Award) has long been devoted to the safety of citizens in the Louisiana region, and was on the forefront of teaching safety procedures to workers during the Hurricane Katrina efforts. In July, Dr. Wright served as moderator at a panel discussion hosted by her agency on the challenges faced by oil spill workers, Louisiana fishers, community leaders, and local government officials. The panel featured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and others.

Earlier this spring, Dr. Wright was invited to participate in a panel sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, an agency of the National Institutes of Health, on the spill's impact to the Louisiana community. Her report is available at this site.

Paul FarmerPaul Farmer, M.D., continues his crucial work providing medical care to the thousands of Haitians injured in the earthquake, through his organization, Partners In Health. The group recently released its six-month report detailing aid efforts since the January disaster. It treated more 3,000 victims at its established medical facilities in the first month, and treated nearly 150,000 Haitians at its spontaneous clinics established in temporary settlements throughout the region.

Dr. Farmer, 9th Human Condition Heinz Award, had for years been working on providing Haitians with essential medical needs, making his organization well-positioned to act quickly when the earthquake hit. PIH established a Stand With Haiti fund in March to help provide immediate resources and establish a strategic vision for future rebuilding. That fund has collected $85 million so far. To view the six-month report, click here.

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The Heinz Awards celebrate and honor the memory and spirit of U.S. Senator John Heinz. Last year, 10 individuals were honored for their work in just one area, the environment. This year, Chairman Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Awards Board of Directors will take this focus even further by focusing on global change.

The scale of human enterprise has been such that the Earth is at a crucial point. Scientists refer to the cumulative effects of human activities and natural processes on the Earth as global change. The risks of failing to address global change are too great to accept. Therefore, the 16th annual Heinz Awards will honor people who are addressing global change in unique and innovative ways. Their work represents a wide range of expertise and offers innovative thinking, solutions and policies to deal with this web of issues. Look for our announcement this fall of the individuals whose work has met this challenge.

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James Hansen

In honor of his long service raising awareness of global climate change issues, James Hansen, Ph.D., shares the prestigious 2010 Blue Planet Prize, an international environmental award considered to be Japan's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Dr. Hansen (7th Environment Heinz Award) is director at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where he has worked since 1967, and is adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. To read a PDF of the prize announcement, click here.

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Donald Berwick

President Obama has appointed Donald M. Berwick, M.D., as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs health programs insuring nearly one-third of all Americans. It is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. A pediatrician and health policy expert, Dr. Berwick (13th Public Policy Heinz Award), left his positions as president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., an agency he co-founded, and professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. To read the White House press release, click here.

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Ann Hamilton

Visual artist Ann Hamilton (14th Arts and Humanities Heinz Award), whose contributions to contemporary art span three decades, has collaborated with composer and sound designer Shahrokh Yadegari for an installation that examines our collective need for social contact. The exhibit, titled Stylus, is on view through January at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis.

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John Holdren

John Holdren, Ph.D., has always had an insatiable curiosity about the world surrounding him, which could have been one of the reasons President Obama selected him as his chief science advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In his current role, he is expected to offer a wealth of information on issues relating to science and technology, as well as render learned opinions about topics outside of his expertise. With the unveiling of the Ask the President's Science Advisor website, now anyone can have access to the brilliant mind that informs the leader of the free world. Since its launch in May, Dr. Holdren (7th Public Policy Heinz Award), has fielded questions about his early mentors and the general state of scientific integrity.

Updates

Dorothy Height

Two distinguished Heinz Awards recipients passed away this year: civil rights trailblazer Dorothy Height and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and gerontologist Robert Butler, M.D.

Dr. Height, who received The Chairman's Medal, bestowed occasionally by the Heinz Awards to honor lifetime achievement, died in Washington in April. Her career in civil rights spanned more than 80 years, as she was a voice for both African-Americans and women. She was 98.

Dr. Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women from 1957 to 1997, overseeing a range of programs on issues like voting rights, poverty and AIDS. A longtime executive of the Y.W.C.A., she presided over the national integration of its facilities in the 1940s. In 1971, along with Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan and others, she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus.

Robert ButlerDr. Butler will long be remembered as one of the nation's preeminent researchers and advocates on behalf of the elderly. At the time of his July death, he was serving as president and CEO of the International Longevity Center USA, an organization he co-founded and where he continued his long history of public service as an advocate for the medial and social needs and rights of the elderly. In 1975, Dr. Butler (10th Human Condition Heinz Award), became the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health, where he remained until 1982. He left to found the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, the first department of geriatrics in a U.S. medical school. He was 83.


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