25th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner

Heroes in Health: An Evening to Celebrate Connection, Resilience, and Healthy Aging

The 25th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner featured the following awards:

  • Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging: presented each year to a Democratic member of Congress who is leading the way for policies encouraging medical research, innovation, and care to benefit Americans as they grow older.
  • Distinguished Public Service Award: presented each year to a Republican member of Congress who is leading the way for policies encouraging medical research, innovation, and care to benefit Americans as they grow older.
  • Silver Innovator Awardpresented to an individual who anticipates and embraces the evolution of high quality research aligned with the needs of older patients.
  • Daniel Perry Founder’s Awardpresented to an individual who is helping to change the paradigm of how we view aging and well-being as we age.
  • Perennial Hero Award: presented each year to honor an older individual who is actively contributing to create positive societal change and serves as a role model for people of all ages.

The Alliance proudly honored the following individuals for their contributions to advance the science of human aging:

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging)

As House Democratic Whip since 2011, Congressman Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership. He is charged with mobilizing the party vote on important legislation, shaping House Democrats’ legislative priorities, and delivering the Democratic message. He previously served as House Majority Leader from 2007 to 2011, and House Democratic Whip from 2003 to 2007. Now in his 18th term in Congress, he also became the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland in history on June 4, 2007.

Congressman Hoyer and his wife, the late Judith Pickett Hoyer, have three daughters: Susan, Stefany, and Anne; son-in-law Loren Taylor; grandchildren Judy, James Cleveland, and Alexa; and great-grandchildren Ava, Braedon, Brooklyn, and Savannah.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) (Distinguished Public Service Award)

Building on a background as a public servant, university president, and teacher, United States Senator Roy Blunt was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Senator Blunt serves as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and as the Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. He also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee; the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Blunt serves as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operation, Safety, and Security.

The people of Southwest Missouri overwhelmingly elected Senator Blunt seven times to the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Blunt was elected the Majority Whip earlier in his career than any Member of Congress in eight decades, and he was elected to the Senate leadership during his first year in the Senate. Before serving in Congress, he was a history teacher, a county official, and in 1984 became the first Republican elected as Missouri’s Secretary of State in more than 50 years. Senator Blunt also served four years as the president of Southwest Baptist University, his alma mater, in Bolivar, Missouri. Senator Blunt earned an MA in history from Missouri State University.

Senator Blunt is a member of the Smithsonian Council for American Art and is a Trustee of the State Historical Society of Missouri. Senator Blunt is also a member of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.

The Senator is married to Abigail Blunt and has four children: Matt Blunt, Amy Blunt, Andy Blunt, and Charlie (age 13). Blunt has six grandchildren: Davis Mosby, Ben Blunt, Branch Blunt, Eva Mosby, Allyson Blunt, and Brooks Blunt.

Patricia E. Bath, MD (Silver Innovator Award)

Dr. Patricia Bath is an ophthalmologist, scientist and inventor.

After obtaining her MD from Howard University in 1968 and her ophthalmology credentials from NYU and Columbia in 1974, she joined the faculty of UCLA and Drew University where she taught and directed residency training for 20 years.

Early in her career she was dismayed by finding large numbers of blind persons afflicted by preventable causes. The elderly, children, minorities, and the poor are especially vulnerable who are disproportionally afflicted by preventable blindness.

Dr. Bath is credited with establishing the discipline of Community Ophthalmology which has been adopted by WHO and numerous international programs as a component of blindness prevention. She currently serves as President of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.

In the 1980’s her passion for lasers research led to studies at Harvard, the Paris Rothschild Eye Institute, Loughborough Institute of Technology, and Laser Medical Center of Berlin. As a result of her research she invented a new method for cataract surgery called laserphaco.

Dr. Bath’s career is characterized by many firsts.

She was the first woman ophthalmologist on the faculty of UCLA-Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first woman Chair of an Ophthalmology Residency Program in the U.S., and first woman surgeon elected to the HONORARY MEDICAL Staff of UCLA Medical Center. She was first to demonstrate a new method for cataract surgery known as laserphaco and received 5 U.S. patents for her invention.

In 1999, she was honored at the Smithsonian Museum Lemelson Center and included in the “INNOVATIVE LIVES” Program. She has been celebrated as a laser pioneer by the Optical Society of America and Howard University. In 2001, she was inducted into the AMWA Hall of Fame.

In 2011, she was inducted into the American Academy of Ophthalmology Museum of Vision.

Dr. Bath wishes to pass the torch and inspire school kids to choose careers in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Advocating for STEM, she has developed an educational STEM App for the iPad and iPhone to extend her reach to classrooms throughout America and worldwide.

Dr. Bath retired from clinical practice in 1994 and divides her time between community service, philanthropic activities, and consulting. Consulting activities have ranged from telemedicine, regulatory affairs, intellectual property, and biomedical devices. The common denominator in all her work has been the goal of service to humanity.

Dr. Bath considers her greatest award to be the reward of restoring sight to the blind. She has championed the concept that, “EYESIGHT is a Basic Human Right” and believes that with multidisciplinary translational research that the blind will someday see.

Dilip V. Jeste, MD (Daniel Perry Founder's Award)

Dilip V. Jeste, MD is the Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care, Estelle and Edgar Levi Memorial Chair in Aging, Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at University of California San Diego, and Co-Director of the UC San Diego-IBM Center on Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living. He obtained his medical education in Pune, and psychiatry training in Mumbai, India. In the U.S., he completed psychiatry residency at Cornell, and Neurology residency at George Washington University. He was a research fellow, and later, Chief of the Units on Movement Disorders and Dementias at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) before joining UC San Diego. He started a Geriatric Psychiatry program from scratch at UC San Diego; today it is one of the largest Geriatric Psychiatry Divisions in the world. Dr. Jeste has been Principal Investigator on a number of research and training grants. His main areas of research include schizophrenia, neuropsychiatric interventions, and successful aging. He has published 12 books, 650+ articles in peer-reviewed journals and 150+ invited book chapters. He is Past President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the West Coast College of Biological Psychiatry, and Founding President of International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology. Dr. Jeste is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and was a member of the NIMH Advisory Council and the NIH Council of Councils. He is Past Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry; under his leadership the Journal grew from a modest-impact quarterly to a monthly with the highest Impact Factor among all the Geriatric Psychiatry journals internationally. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the International Psychogeriatrics. He was listed in “The Best Doctors in America” and in the Institute of Scientific Information list of the “world’s most cited authors”–comprising fewer than 0.5% percent of all publishing researchers of the previous two decades. Dr. Jeste has received many awards including NIMH’s MERIT Award; Commendation for Dedicated Service from the Veterans Affairs; Asian Heritage Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, and Research; and awards from Society of Biological Psychiatry; APA; Institute of Living; American College of International Physicians; National Alliance on Mental Illness; National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders; American College of Psychiatrists; International Psychogeriatric Association; Universities of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Maryland, and Cornell. He has also received Honorary Fellowship, the highest honor it bestows, from UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists; and Honorary Professorship from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru. He has been a TEDMED speaker. His work has been cited in Time, The Atlantic, New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The London Times, Public Radio International, NPR, and various other national and international media outlets.

Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 115th Congress. From 2007 to 2011, Pelosi served as Speaker of the House, the first woman to do so in American history. As the Democratic Leader, Pelosi is fighting for bigger paychecks and better infrastructure for America’s middle class families. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.

For 30 years, Leader Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress. She has led House Democrats for more than 12 years and previously served as House Democratic Whip.

Under the leadership of Pelosi, the 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein. President Barack Obama called Speaker Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” and the Christian Science Monitor wrote: “…make no mistake: Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House Speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.”

Working in partnership with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi led House passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 to create and save millions of American jobs, provide relief for American families, and provide a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans. With the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi continues to focus on the need to create jobs in America and prevent them from being shipped overseas.

Speaker Pelosi achieved passage of historic health insurance reform legislation in the House which establishes a Patients’ Bill of Rights and will provide insurance for tens of millions more Americans while lowering health care costs over the long term. The new law provides patients with affordable insurance choices, curbs abuses by the insurance industry, strengthens Medicare, and reduces the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years.

In the 111th Congress, Speaker Pelosi also led the Congress in passing strong Wall Street reforms to rein in big banks and protect consumers as well as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which expands educational opportunities and reforms the financial aid system to save billions of taxpayers’ dollars. Additional key legislation passed into law included the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore the ability of women and all workers to access our judicial system to fight pay discrimination; legislation to provide health care for 11 million American children; national service legislation; and hate crimes legislation. In late 2010, Pelosi led the Congress in passing child nutrition and food safety legislation as well as repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Pelosi has made energy security her flagship issue, enacting comprehensive energy legislation in 2007 that raised vehicle fuel efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and making an historic commitment to American home grown biofuels. In 2009, under her leadership, the House passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act – a comprehensive bill to create clean energy jobs, combat climate change, and transition America to a clean energy economy. The legislation was blocked by Republicans in the United States Senate, but sent a strong signal to the world about the United States’ commitment to fighting the climate crisis.

A leader on the environment at home and abroad, Pelosi secured passage of the “Pelosi amendment” in 1989, now a global tool to assess the potential environmental impacts of development. In San Francisco, Pelosi was the architect of legislation to create the Presidio Trust and transform the former military post into an urban national park.

In continuing to push for accountability and transparency in government, under Speaker Pelosi, the House passed the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of the Congress, including the creation of an independent ethics panel, and increased accountability and transparency in House operations, including earmark reforms. As Speaker, Pelosi led the fight to pass the DISCLOSE Act in the House, which fights a corporate takeover of U.S. elections and ensures additional disclosure; she continues to fight for this legislation today.

Additional key accomplishments signed into law under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi include: an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years; the largest college aid expansion since the GI bill; a new GI education bill for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and increased services for veterans, caregivers, and the Veterans Administration.

Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., served as Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, also served as Mayor of Baltimore. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five grown children and nine grandchildren.