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29th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards

Heroes in Health: An Evening to Celebrate Generativity, Joy, and Healthy Aging


September 20, 2022
6:00-9:00 PM ET


In-Person & Online

United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037


Sarah Delgado
VP of Development

The Alliance celebrated its commitment to older adults at a hybrid Heroes in Health: An Evening to Celebrate Generativity, Joy, and Healthy Aging.

The Alliance for Aging Research held the 29th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC.

Each year, the Alliance holds the Bipartisan Congressional Awards to honor individuals for their contributions to advance the science of human aging. The Awards also have a deeper purpose: to remind lawmakers of the nation’s bipartisan commitment to advance medical research to improve the lives of millions of Americans.

More Information:
2022 Roundtable Discussion


Each year, the Alliance holds the Bipartisan Congressional Awards to honor individuals and companies making great strides to further aging research and innovation in aging. The Awards also have 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 29th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards 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 Award: presented to an individual or group 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.

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) (Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging)

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) (Distinguished Public Service Award)

As a leader on tax reform, education and job training, and innovative ideas to reinvest in our nation’s distressed communities, United States Senator Tim Scott brings a unique perspective to the United States Senate. Growing up mired in poverty in a single parent household, Tim says that he is living his mother’s American Dream, and through his Opportunity Agenda works every single day to ensure every American family has the opportunity to succeed.

 Senator Scott has served the great state of South Carolina in the U.S. Senate since 2013, and brings with him a mission to positively affect the lives of a billion

people with the message of hope and opportunity. Growing up poor in a single-parent household in North Charleston, South Carolina, Tim watched his single mother work 16-hour days as a nurse’s assistant to keep him and his brother afloat.

As a freshman in high school, Tim nearly failed out, flunking four classes. 

However, the next year, he met his mentor named John Moniz who shared life-changing ideas and the basic principles of business with Tim. Through hard work, education, innovation, and with the discipline his mother gave him, he began the process of turning his life around.

The lessons gleaned from his mentor still guide Tim today: you can think your way out of poverty, and financial independence is a stepping-stone for success. Having a job is a good thing, but creating jobs is a great thing. 

An unbridled optimist, Tim believes that despite our current challenges, our nation’s brightest days are ahead of us. During his time in office, he has been a tireless advocate for creating more opportunities for families living paycheck-to-paycheck and helping children who are mired in poverty have access to quality education. He launched his Opportunity Agenda, a legislative package aimed at achieving these goals, as well as the Senate Opportunity Coalition, a group of Senators committed to helping those in need.

Tim also knows that in order for our nation to prosper, we must get our spending and national debt under control. He has sponsored balanced budget amendments throughout his time in Congress, and will continue working to restore fiscal sanity in Washington.

Prior to public service, Tim built a successful small business of his own. He was first elected to Charleston County Council, to the South Carolina State House, and the U.S. House of Representatives. In January 2013, Tim was sworn in as a United States Senator from South Carolina, and was re-elected in January 2017.

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer (Silver Innovator Award)

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, born on June 4, 1928, may best be known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and television, but as it turns out, that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life. Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to Switzerland at the age of ten to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her entire immediate family. At the age of seventeen she went to then Palestine where she joined the Haganah, the Israeli freedom fighters, was trained to be a sniper and was seriously wounded in a bomb blast. She later moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and in 1956 went to the U.S. where she obtained her Masters Degree (M.A.) in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher’s College.

Her work for Planned Parenthood led her to study human sexuality under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, where she became an Adjunct Associate Professor. Subsequently she taught courses at various institutions of higher learning including Princeton and Yale. She currently is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia’s Teachers College. She continues to lecture worldwide. She is the author of 46 books, including Stay or Go, Roller Coaster Grandma and Crocodile You’re Beautiful. Dr. Ruth also a revised edition of her book The Art of Arousal in 2022 and one of her birthday wishes is to see a copy on “everybody’s nightstand.” The new edition of the book, she told PEOPLE, features more diverse voices and stories than the original 1993 edition. She’s been the executive producer of five documentaries.  She can be found on Twitter @AskDrRuth where she has over 100,000 followers. A one-woman show about her life, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” has played in the Berkshires, Hartford and off-Broadway and continues to tour. And a documentary about her life, Ask Dr. Ruth, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival as well as theaters across the country and is now airing on Hulu. Dr. Westheimer, a widow, has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.

Gary Puckrein, Ph.D. (Daniel Perry Founder’s Award)

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF)—formerly the National Minority Health Month Foundation—a not-for-profit organization that he founded in 1998.  NMQF addresses the critical need for strengthening preventable illness in minority populations through prevention, early detection, and control of disease complications. In April 2001, the National Minority Health Month Foundation launched National Minority Health Month in response to Healthy People 2010, the national health-promotion and disease-prevention initiative.

NMQF has received support from a wide variety of organizations, including federal agencies, pharmaceutical companies, payers, and trade associations. With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NMQF undertook the Zip Code Analysis Project, developing a comprehensive database that links vital statistics and other elements—including demographic, environmental, claims, prescription, laboratory, hospital, and clinic data—in a centralized data warehouse, organized around zip codes. The Zip Code Analysis Project has enabled NMQF to develop the Health Assessment Tool, which measures and forecasts health status in small geographic areas, evaluates the impact of specific interventions, monitors changes in health outcomes, and undertakes risk assessments (health-care utilization and its financial implications).  NMQF uses the Health Assessment Tool to stratify communities by geographic and health-status referents and to provide the health-disparities movement with a common set of indicators to measure and report on progress toward the elimination of disparities in health care and health status.

Dr. Puckrein graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University, where he received his master’s degree (1974) and doctorate (1978). Between 1974 and 1992, he taught and lectured at Roger Williams College, Brown University, Connecticut College, and Rutgers University, where he was a tenured member of the faculty. Dr. Puckrein has received many awards and honors, including being named a visiting scholar and fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and a visiting fellow at Princeton University. He was publisher of American Visions, the country’s leading African American art and cultural magazine, which he launched during his tenure at the Smithsonian Institution and Rutgers University. Dr. Puckrein also created and launched Minority Health Today, which served the needs of clinicians practicing in minority communities.

Janet Woodcock, M.D. (Perennial Hero Award)

Janet Woodcock is the FDA’s Principal Deputy Commissioner. In this role she works closely with the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to develop and implement key public health initiatives and helps oversee the agency’s day-to-day functions.

She served as the Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs from Jan. 20, 2021 until Feb. 17, 2022.

Dr. Woodcock began her FDA career in 1986 at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). At CBER, she served as Director of the Division of Biological Investigational New Drugs and as Acting Deputy Director. She later became Director of CBER’s Office of Therapeutics Research and Review, which oversaw the approval of the first biotechnology-based treatments for multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis during her tenure.

In 1994, Dr. Woodcock was named Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), leading the Center’s work that is the world’s gold standard for drug approval and safety. There she conceived and implemented many of the FDA’s drug initiatives, including introducing the concept of risk management as a new approach to drug safety; modernizing drug manufacturing and regulation through the Pharmaceutical Quality for the 21st Century Initiative; advancing medical discoveries from the laboratory to consumers more efficiently under the Critical Path Initiative; launching the Safety First and Safe Use initiatives designed to improve drug safety management within and outside the FDA, respectively; developing the Sentinel Network for drug safety and spearheading CDER efforts on patient-focused drug development.

In 2004, Dr. Woodcock became the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer. Later she took on other executive leadership positions in the Commissioner’s Office, including Deputy Commissioner for Operations and Chief Operating Officer.

In 2007, Dr. Woodcock returned as Director of CDER until she was asked to be the therapeutics lead for “Operation Warp Speed” in early 2020. This entailed supporting the development, evaluation, and availability of treatments such as monoclonal antibodies and antiviral drugs for patients with COVID-19.

Dr. Woodcock holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), and a Doctor of Medicine from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago). She also completed further training and a fellowship in rheumatology, as well as held teaching appointments at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of California in San Francisco. She is board certified in internal medicine.

Dr. Woodcock has been bestowed numerous honors over her distinguished public health career, most notably: the Nathan Davis award from the American Medical Association in 1999; the Roger W. Jones Award for executive leadership from American University in 2000; the VIDA award from the Society for Hispanic Health and the first Leadership Award in Personalized Medicine from the Coalition for Personalized Medicine in 2005; the Garry Neil prize for Innovation in Drug Development in 2009; a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices; the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award in 2017 from the National Consumers League; and the 2019 Biotechnology Heritage Award from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Science History Institute.


The Alliance thanks and recognizes the generous sponsors of the 29th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards:

Award Underwriters

AdvaMed logo.
Lilly logo.
Johnson and Johnson logo.
The Claude Pepper Foundation, Inc. logo.

Gold Sponsors

Biogen logo.
GSK Logo

Silver Sponsors

Acadia logo.
Bristol Myers Squibb Logo

Bronze Sponsors

AbbVie Inc.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Lundbeck LLC
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.
Penn Quarter Partners
Prevent Blindness
Mr. George Vradenburg

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