The Heinz Awards Review - Fall 2009

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The Heinz Awards pay tribute to the memory of 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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Paul Farmer

To a sold-out lecture hall on the University of San Diego campus, Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., said that unless the conditions that create poor health in poverty-stricken countries are remediated, treating the sick will have limited success. Long-term success will come from building homes, providing clean water sources and supplying adequate food, all measures his organization supports along with governments and other agencies, for some of the world's poorest people.

As the keynote speaker at the college's 20th Annual Social Issues Conference last month, he argued that sustainable infrastructure initiatives such as these are crucial before there can be significant advancements in health care to underserved populations. More than 700 students, professors and interested guests attended.

Dr. Farmer, 9th Human Condition Heinz Award, is a medical anthropologist and physician. He is the founding director of Partners In Health (PIH), an international organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of the sick and those living in poverty.

He detailed his humanitarian works in Haiti, where he has worked for 27 years, and also talked briefly of treating patients in Rwanda. Dr. Farmer was appointed the United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti and made his first visit to the small nation in that capacity in September. He works closely with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who serves as UN Special Envoy to Haiti.

Dr. Farmer recalled visiting Haiti for the first time during the summer between graduating from college and starting medical school. He worked with six young Haitians conducting a basic health survey in the villages. Some time later, after returning to the United States, he learned that three of his co-workers had died from preventable infectious diseases.

"It was a terrible experience - It is what set me on this path," he said.

Dr. Farmer spoke of building alliances with Haitian communities to establish hospitals and deliver services both there and in villages. He showed slides of patients with HIV-AIDS comparing their conditions prior to treatment and three months after treatment, with shocking effect. Patients who were malnourished and skeletal with hollow expressions were plump and smiling after just three months.

"As soon as people get better, they want jobs," he said, illustrating the need for investing in infrastructure and education. PIH employs 11,000 people globally, many as community health workers who have never had jobs before.

His full lecture can be watched here.

gallery A photography exhibition of the global works of Partners In Health was on display on the campus in conjunction with Dr. Farmer's lecture. The traveling exhibition, On the Same Map, featured the work of five photographers who chronicled the global works of PIH. Click here to view a small gallery of these images on the Heinz Awards Facebook public page.

Bernard Amadei

The works of Bernard Amadei, Ph.D., have been recognized in multiple ways this year. Most recently he was honored with an endowed chair at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he is a long-time civil engineering professor. As founder of the humanitarian non-profit Engineers Without Borders U.S.A., Dr. Amadei, 13th Environmental Heinz Award, serves as a mentor to hundreds of students who have joined him on multiple visits to developing countries to solve quality of life problems, such as obtaining clean water, with simple engineering solutions.

A $5 million gift endowed the Mortenson Chair in Global Engineering, with Dr. Amadei named as its first recipient. The gift also establishes the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at the university, which will support a number of activities including student apprenticeships, scholarships and research assistantships.

In other news, Dr. Amadei was named a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the organization's highest honor, and formally inducted in October.

Jacques D'Amboise

Ballet dancer Jacques d'Amboise stepped onto a new stage recently when he discussed his role as caretaker for his wife during her final days. d'Amboise, founder of National Dance Institute and 7th Arts and Humanities Heinz Award recipient, spoke about compassionate end-of-life care at a symposium sponsored by Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group based in Denver. He was among several speakers who addressed the audience of physicians, nurses, social workers, attorneys and end-of-life choice advocates who are attempting to change the national dialogue on issues surrounding death. d'Amboise's wife, Carolyn George, passed away at home in February of a degenerative muscular disease, surrounded by her loved ones. The two-day conference, titled Dignity and Choices, was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Brenda Krause Eheart

When Brenda Krause Eheart, Ph.D., envisioned a brighter path for foster children 15 years ago, little did she know her model would also enrich the lives of senior citizens. Now, her formula is being cited as inspiration for others.

As founder of Generations of Hope and Hope Meadows, an intergenerational community in Rantoul, Ill., Dr. Eheart teamed children who needed support and direction with adoptive parents. She provided these new families with the necessary financial and community support to help them succeed. She also offered homes to senior citizens for reduced rent providing they volunteer to assist the children in a variety of ways.

Now that the concept of Hope Meadows has been replicated by others in cities across the country, Dr. Eheart, 14th Human Condition Heinz Award, is being recognized with a 2010 Inspire Award by AARP The Magazine. The magazine honors individuals who are using their "energy, creativity and passion to make the world a better place."

Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada received the 2010 Brock International Prize in Education from the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The Brock Prize recognizes an individual who has made a specific innovation or contribution to the science and art of education, resulting in a significant impact on the practice or understanding of the field of education and provides long-term benefits to all humanity through change and improvement in education at any level. It is awarded annually and includes a cash prize of $40,000.

Mr. Canada, 1st Human Condition Heinz Award, was recognized for his role as president and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), an ambitious social service program that provides cradle through college care for 15,000 children in a 97-block zone in New York's Harlem neighborhood. President Barack Obama has declared HCZ a model program and has called for the creation of similar zones throughout the country.

Click here to view the recent 60 Minutes segment on Mr. Canada and HCZ.

Dean Kamen

Inventor and physicist Dean Kamen received the prestigious Stevens Honor Award in recognition of his long career and accomplishments. It was presented at an awards ceremony last month. Sponsored by the Edwin A. Stevens Society of the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., the award honors "notable achievement in any field of endeavor."

One of his earliest inventions was an automatic ambulatory insulin pump that administers medication to treat a number of medical conditions. That led to his invention of the first wearable pump for diabetics.

Mr. Kamen, 5th Technology, the Economy and Employment Heinz Award, founded DEKA Research and Development Corp. and along with his engineering team, has developed a broad array of technologies. He has said that his founding of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is one of his proudest achievements. That organization is dedicated to motivating the next generation of scientists and engineers to understand, use and enjoy science and technology. In 2009, its flagship program, the FIRST Robotics Competition, was expected to reach more than 42,000 high-school students.

John Holdren

President Barack Obama has enlisted the efforts of John Holdren, Ph.D., in an effort to improve science and mathematics education for American children. As White House science advisor, Dr. Holdren, 7th Public Policy Heinz Award, will oversee the campaign, called Educate to Innovate. It is designed to ignite an interest in math and science in school children to reverse test scores that show American youth lag behind other countries.

"The president has made it very clear it is a big priority," Dr. Holdren said. He said the initiatives are financed mostly by participating companies and foundations and are meant to complement the Race to the Top program of the Department of Education which is distributing over $4 billion in stimulus funding on innovative programs throughout the country.

Dave Eggers

The National Book Foundation has awarded Dave Eggers the Literarian Award for outstanding service to the American literary community. The group awards individuals "whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America."

Mr. Eggers' multiple contributions to literature include his own fiction and non-fiction writing careers, his co-founding of McSweeney's publishing company and the editing of several periodicals under that imprint and his founding of the 826 National youth writing and tutoring labs, of which there are eight now open across the country.

This year he published two books that spent time on best-seller's lists, Zeitoun, about the Katrina hurricane and Max at Sea, an adaptation of Maurice Sendak's children's book, Where the Wild Things Are. Mr. Eggers, 13th Arts and Humanities Heinz Award, has also branched into film by co-writing the screenplays Away We Go and Where the Wild Things Are, which both made it to the screen this year.


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