Posted on October 7, 2020

NEHI Celebrates Health Innovators at Annual Awards

On October 6, NEHI celebrated three remarkable leaders who champion innovation in their work to improve the quality of care and ensure that those who need care have access to it.

NEHI Celebrates Health Innovators at Annual Awards

This year's 2020 Innovators in Health Awards, held virtually for the first time, continued NEHI’s proud tradition of recognizing individuals who have inspired the community with their vision and achievements.
Following a heartfelt introduction by her father, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University, our first honoree, Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, FACOGdescribed the collaborative approach she took to expand life-saving access to Hepatitis C treatments for Louisiana's Medicaid population and individuals incarcerated in the state system. Working with multiple stakeholders, Dr. Gee went on to lead the first subscription model that enabled Louisiana to afford life-saving care.
Our next awardee was introduced by friend and colleague, Michael Carson, President & CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Myechia Minter-Jordan MD, MBA with her contributions to improving health, especially for Black and Brown individuals, both in her role as the CEO of the Dimock Community Health Center and, currently, in her role at DentaQuest, where she is pursuing tele-dentistry and value based payment models, along with other pathways to ensure that dental care is an integral part of access to health care. A founding member of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, and a member of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Health Inequality Task Force, Dr. Minter-Jordan is a true leader in increasing access to care for vulnerable communities.
Our last honoree was introduced by Jonathan Fleming, Senior Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of NEHI’s Board of Directors, and close friend of the late Henri Termeer. NEHI honored John Maraganore, PhD as NEHI's 2020 Henri A. Termeer Memorial Innovator in Health. Dr. Maraganore concluded the awards with a message of hope for the future of innovation in improving patients’ lives. Dr. Maraganore's extraordinary work and leadership developing the first RNAi therapies that target the cause of disease, blocking disease causing proteins, promise solutions for rare and common diseases alike, and more immediately, may offer therapies for COVID-19. His persistence, creativity, and patient focus embody what Henri Termeer stood for.

Post Awards Panel Discussion: Racial Inequity in Health Care and Health Outcomes

COVID-19 has unmasked and magnified long-standing underlying health disparities, many of which are based on race.  Given the expertise and dedication of its awardees, NEHI was grateful to be able to host a panel discussion on the role of innovation in the promotion of health equity.
Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD, President & CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, was an outstanding panel moderator. She has dedicated her career to broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. She emphasized that we must ensure that innovations address the needs of the individuals they are intended to benefit.
Our honorees discussed innovations on the horizon that give them confidence in their ability to reduce health disparities. They highlighted the role that issues of trust and understanding of science play and the necessary steps to overcoming this problem when promoting access to such innovations, especially within Black and Brown communities.
We are deeply grateful for the robust discussion we were able to have, and, more for the work our honorees are doing to promote innovations that make a difference for those who have inadequate access to care and treatment.
Full Panel Recording.


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