2019 Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner

Heroes in Health: An Evening to Celebrate Engagement, Compassion, and Healthy Aging

Each year, the Alliance holds a Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner to honor individuals and companies making great strides to further aging research and innovation in aging. The Alliance dinner also has a deeper purpose: to remind lawmakers of the nation’s bipartisan commitment to advance medical research to improve the lives of millions of Americans.

The 2019 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 Award: presented 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.

 

Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) (Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging)

James E. Clyburn is the Majority Whip is the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives.  He previously served in the post from 2007 to 2011 and served as Assistant Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2019.

When he came to Congress in 1993 to represent South Carolina’s sixth congressional district, Congressman Clyburn was elected co-president of his freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was subsequently elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Vice Chair, and later Chair, of the House Democratic Caucus.

As a national leader, he has championed rural and economic development and many of his initiatives have become law.  His 10-20-30 federal funding formula was included in four sections of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Congressman Clyburn is also a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs.  His efforts have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities.  His legislation created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park, and established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

Congressman Clyburn’s humble beginnings in Sumter, South Carolina as the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister and an independent, civic-minded beautician grounded him securely in family, faith and public service. His memoir, Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, was published in 2015, and has been described ‎as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service.

Jim and Emily England Clyburn met in jail during the Civil Rights Movement and have been married since June 1961. They are the proud parents of three daughters; Mignon Clyburn, Jennifer Reed, and Angela Hannibal and four grandchildren.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Distinguished Public Service Award)

Iowans have placed their trust in Chuck Grassley to serve as one of Iowa’s U.S. Senators since 1981. By every measure, Senator Grassley works tirelessly to earn that trust.

With uncommon tenacity, Senator Grassley brings grit and integrity to the nation’s capital where he has developed a reputation for independence and relentless oversight to make the government work for the people it serves, not the other way around.

He authored the historic “Congressional Accountability Act” that required workplace laws to be applied to Congress and secured amendments to the “Affordable Care Act” to make the sweeping health care overhaul apply to members of Congress.

Senator Grassley was sworn in as Senate president pro tempore for the 116th Congress which places him third in the presidential line of succession. He leverages his seniority in the United States to build bipartisan coalitions and advance a conservative agenda to improve opportunity and prosperity for more Americans. As he takes up the reins to chair the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Grassley expects to continue vigorous congressional oversight of the executive branch to make sure the federal government does its job. He will also build upon his longstanding record to work across the aisle to solve problems. Specifically, Chairman Grassley has announced his list of priorities includes improving the lives of Americans through better trade, health care and tax policies.

During his four-year chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley shepherded an historic 85 federal judges through the Senate’s advice and consent authority for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, including two Supreme Court Justices. His signature legislative achievement as chairman of the Judiciary Committee was landmark, bipartisan criminal justice reform called the First Step Act. It passed the Senate 87-12 and was signed into law in December 2018.

In all his work, Senator Grassley puts the needs of Iowans first.

Known for his reputation for hard work and constituent service, Senator Grassley holds the longest consecutive voting streak in Senate history. Senator Grassley hasn’t missed a vote since 1993, when he was in Iowa helping constituents respond to the devastating flooding.

He places a high priority on constituent services, helping Iowans to cut red tape and navigate federal services, from Social Security to veterans’ benefits.

Senator Grassley has conducted at least one meeting in each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year since his public service began in the U.S. Senate. He says “dialogue is the essence of representative government” and that’s why he keeps his commitment to keep in touch with Iowans by every means available. He responds to every phone call, letter, and email from Iowans, and communicates extensively via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, website) to connect directly with constituents. Senator Grassley also prioritizes accessibility with journalists as another vital means to communicate and hold himself and government accountable to Iowans.

Countless congressional hearings, policy debates and constituent feedback shape Senator Grassley’s expansive legislative expertise for Iowa’s benefit. For policies impacting health care, taxes, trade, transportation, agriculture, renewable energy, criminal justice, elder justice, foster care, illegal drugs, human trafficking, the federal budget, patent reform, education, national security and the federal judiciary, Chuck Grassley works to make a difference for Iowans.

No matter which political party controls Congress or the White House, Senator Grassley conducts robust oversight of the federal bureaucracy and expects answers from the executive branch. He says transparency is an effective and crucial tool for holding government accountable.

Senator Grassley has been referred to as the patron saint of whistleblowers for his efforts to strengthen protections to help those who come forward to report wrongdoing. The Grassley amendments to the “False Claims Act” have been used effectively to recover more than $56 billion to the U.S. Treasury. His IRS whistleblower reforms have restored more than $3 billion to federal coffers. His guardianship of good government extends beyond dollars and cents. His work to support whistleblowers who shine light on waste, fraud and abuse has helped to expose misconduct and clean up wrongdoing at the FBI, the Secret Service, the Pentagon, the U.S. Marshals Service, the IRS, Veterans Affairs and more. Senator Grassley is co-chairman and co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus that advocates for enforcement and expansion of whistleblower protection laws.

A lifelong family farmer, Senator Grassley brings a reality check to the policymaking tables when it comes to American agriculture. From the farm bill, to trade, taxes, energy, health care, bankruptcy and the federal regulatory regime, Senator Grassley is a fierce advocate for farmers and families who live and work in Rural America.

Iowa’s energy and economic landscape have benefited tremendously from federal renewable energy policies that Senator Grassley has worked to secure into law. Due in large measure to his advocacy and leadership, Iowa’s alternative energy portfolio has triggered tremendous investment in corn-based ethanol and next generation cellulosic ethanol, soy-diesel, wind energy and more.

Clean energy drives economic growth, job creation, broadens the tax base, adds value to crops and farmland and attracts new investment to Iowa for business and industry seeking affordable, clean energy. Iowa now produces more than one-third of its electricity from wind. That puts Iowa first in the nation to achieve this clean energy milestone.

Senator Grassley’s work as a good government watchdog benefits from a no-nonsense commitment to truth and transparency for the taxpaying public. He champions the public’s right to know and pushes for stronger Freedom of Information laws and supports independent inspectors general and legislation to allow cameras in federal courtrooms.

When he gets a whiff of potential wrongdoing, Senator Grassley sinks in his teeth and digs in his heels to get answers. For example, his work to ensure federal health programs effectively serve taxpayers, patients and providers includes his oversight of overpayments for widely prescribed pharmaceuticals including EpiPen, Dilaudid and Prilosec. Working to keep the spotlight shining on the misclassification of prescription drugs is fueled by the egregious overcharges on the taxpayers’ dime and his efforts to recoup reimbursement to taxpayers. From 2006 to 2016, taxpayers may have overpaid $1.27 billion for EpiPen alone. Many Iowans often share personal stories of financial hardship from sticker shock when they fill their prescription medicines. Senator Grassley is working to restore competition to help drive down prices with bipartisan legislation that would stop brand name pharmaceutical companies from engaging in deceptive agreements that prevent or delay lower-cost generics from entering the market.

Senator Grassley’s creed of ethics and accountability gives Iowans strong and effective leadership. He works to ensure the laws passed by Congress are faithfully executed and our system of checks and balances is functioning as the Founders intended. Senator Grassley keeps close tabs on the enforcement of immigration laws enacted to uphold U.S. sovereignty, ensure border security and protect the safety of Americans. Following the death of Iowan Sarah Root, who was killed by a drunk driver living illegally in the country, Senator Grassley introduced legislation to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for violators of U.S. immigration laws that result in the death of or serious injury to a U.S. citizen.

Using his key committee assignments to benefit Iowans, Senator Grassley works to lessen excessive regulatory and tax burdens that make it harder for families to get ahead and stay ahead. Our nation’s founders established a constitutional framework for economic freedom, innovation and opportunity to limit government’s role in society. His work on the Senate Budget and Finance committees is driven by an acute understanding that Washington can’t spend, tax and borrow America’s way to prosperity.

Chuck Grassley’s extraordinary work ethic is hardwired for public service and his determination to protect the blessings of freedom for all Americans to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

John F. Tisdale, M.D. (Silver Innovator Award)

John F. Tisdale, M.D. is a Senior Investigator of the Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

John Tisdale received his M.D. degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he also received his B.A. in Chemistry. He completed an internal medicine and chief residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and then trained in hematology in the Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where he served as a postdoctoral fellow. He joined the Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch of NHLBI in 1998 and is now the Chief of the Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch. In 2011 the College of Charleston recognized Dr. Tisdale with the Alumni of the Year Award and the Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine. He was recently elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and is a member of the American Society of Hematology. Dr. Tisdale’s research and clinical work center on sickle cell disease. His group focuses on developing curative strategies for sickle cell disease through transplantation of allogeneic or genetically modified autologous bone marrow stem cells.

VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. (Daniel Perry Founder's Award)

Dr. Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. His mission as the “Nation’s Doctor,” is to advance the health of the American people. Dr. Adams’ motto as Surgeon General is “better health through better partnerships.” He is committed to strengthening relationships with all members of the health community, and forging new partnerships with members from the business, faith, education and public safety and national security communities.

As the Surgeon General, Dr. Adams holds the rank of Vice Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.  In this capacity, he oversees the operations of approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 800 locations around the world, promoting, protecting, and advancing the health and safety of our nation.

During his tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Adams has created several initiatives to tackle our nation’s most pressing health issues, including: the opioid epidemic, oral health, and the links between community health and both economic prosperity and national security. In response to the opioid epidemic, Dr. Adams issued the first Surgeon General’s Advisory in thirteen years, urging more Americas to carry naloxone, an FDA-approved medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Dr. Adams also released Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids, and a digital postcard calling for a cultural shift in the way Americans think about, talk about, and respond to the opioid crisis. His Surgeon General’s postcard recommends actions that can prevent and treat opioid misuse, and promote recovery. Additionally, Dr. Adams is focused on building a culture of health and prevention in all sectors. As part of those efforts, Dr. Adams has commissioned a Surgeon General’s Report to explore the connection between private sector investments and public policies leading to healthier communities and advancing business and community prosperity.

Dr. Adams received bachelor’s degrees in both biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.

He has been a leader in numerous professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists.  Dr. Adams is also the former Health Commissioner of Indiana, where he led the State’s responses to Ebola, Zika, and to the largest ever HIV outbreak in the United States related to injection drug use.

Dr. Adams has pledged to lead with science, and facilitate locally led solutions to the nation’s most difficult health problems. He also feels his toughest, but most important job, is being a father to two teenage boys, Caden and Eli, daughter, Millie, and dog Bella.

Beverlye Hyman Fead (Perennial Hero Award)

Beverlye Hyman Fead is an author, artist, activist, and inspirational speaker. Aging in High Heels is her online blog filled with inspirational content about aging with acceptance, humor and style.

Beverlye was diagnosed with metastasized Stage IV Uteral Stromal Sarcoma in 2002 and given two months to live. Because of a successful experimental treatment she has been able to live a full and powerful life for 17 years. Beverlye has written 3 award-winning books; I Can Do This: Living With Cancer, Nana, What’s Cancer?, and Aging in High Heels. During this time she also produced an award-winning short documentary, Stage IV, Living With Cancer.

In 2015 Beverlye spoke in Washington DC from a patient perspective on cancer and aging. In 2016 she became an advocate for aging research for The Global Health-Span Policy Institute (GHPI) in Washington. In 2017, she gave a TEDx Talk, “It’s About Time We Rethink Aging” in Upper West Side, New York.

Having lost her grandmother, mother, and both sisters to cancer, and because of her great fortune, Beverlye has devoted a great deal of time to cancer and aging on every level. Her passion now, is not only speaking about cancer and aging, but sharing her knowledge about wellness and the steps to live within a health-span. Beverlye’s strives to deliver the message that just when you think life is ending, to look for the endless possibilities that come about because of your age.

While she spends a great deal of time speaking at assisted living homes, exchanging ideas with people facing similar challenges, her joy is spending time with her family. She has been married to Bob Fead for 28 years. Between them they have four children: Jim and Leslie Weisberg Hyman, Terry Hamermesh , Laurel and Michael Fead, and five grandchildren: Tessa, Alex, Gideon, Max and Jackson.