Public Release: 

Research!America to honor Sen. Lamar Alexander for championing research and innovation

Sen. Alexander to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award


ARLINGTON, Va.--February 1, 2017--Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has been selected to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for his longstanding commitment to improving the lives of Americans, and more recently, leading passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in the U.S. Senate. He will be honored at Research!America's Advocacy Awards Dinner on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

"Senator Alexander's leadership in driving investments in scientific research and implementing strategic policies that support public and private sector innovation will undoubtedly save lives and strengthen our economy," said Research!America Chair the Honorable John Edward Porter. "We salute his determination to ensure our nation's research ecosystem is equipped to meet the many health challenges before us."

Sen. Alexander has served as Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee since 2007, and in that capacity has shepherded legislation crucial to the discovery, development and delivery of new medical advances, including the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. As a member of both the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Alexander played a critical role in securing a $2 billion increase in the budget of the National Institutes of Health in FY16 and in ensuring annual increases in the National Science Foundation budget.

"Last year, Congress passed into law 21st Century Cures, a bill that Senate Majority Leader McConnell called, 'the most important legislation of the year.' It will help us take advantage of the breathtaking advances in biomedical research and bring those innovations to doctors' offices and patients' medicine cabinets across the nation. It will help make better health possible for virtually every American, and I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work in committee this Congress on behalf of American families," said Senator Alexander.

Sen. Alexander has a long track record of championing scientific and medical research and advancing key public health priorities. As governor of Tennessee, Sen. Alexander supported scientific research in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and in recognition of his efforts a new species was named after him. Since his election to the Senate in 2003, Sen. Alexander has worked to advance science and technology.

He has sponsored several major pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening our nation's scientific enterprise, including the original America COMPETES Act, which implemented the recommendations of the landmark report "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," and authorized increased funding for the National Science Foundation and other science agencies. Sen. Alexander has also played a pivotal role in children's health. He wrote the original PREEMIE Act to increase research on prematurity and strategies for helping children born prematurely, and helped secure passage of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) to promote proper testing of medicines for use in children.

Research!America's 2017 Advocacy Awards dinner honors outstanding individuals and organizations in advocacy for medical, health, and scientific research. The Whitehead Award, named in honor of Research!America founder, Edwin C. "Jack" Whitehead, recognizes exemplary leaders, particularly those in public office, who have demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing medical and health research as a national priority and who galvanize others in support of science.

Other 2017 Research!America Advocacy Award honorees are Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH, who will receive the Legacy Award; Kathy Bates, award-winning actress and Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) spokesperson; Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; and The Lupus Foundation of America.


About Research!America's Advocacy Awards Dinner

The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established in 1996 by the Board of Directors to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health and scientific research. Recognized individuals and organizations are those whose extraordinary leadership efforts have been effective in advancing our nation's commitment to medical, health and other scientific research. This year the awards event will take place on March 15, 2017, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit

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