Good Health and Cure for All21 SEPTEMBER 2017
Xiong’An International Health Forum Salutes to Life!
–SWHF Grants one Impact in Global Health Award and two Rising Star Awards to Special Contributors in Health Sector
“Today, we are going to grant two Rising Star Awards and one Impact in Global Health Award to three outstanding scientists who have made special contributions to life sciences. There are many more scientists like them who are dedicated to fighting diseases, saving lives, and improving health for the people around the world,” said Haoxi Zhang, host of the SWHF Award Ceremony at the first Xiong’An International Health Forum (XIHF), and Secretary General of XIHF Organizing Committee and of the Shenzhen World Health Foundation (SWHF) on November 13th.
Looking back at human history, we have cured many challenging diseases, raised the average life expectancy, and improved living standards, all of which can be attributed to new technologies and the continuous, selfless efforts of scientists, corporations, and physicians. At the start of the award ceremony, all participants shared a touching story of Dr. Pindaros Roy Vagelos.
Dr. Vagelos is a physician, scientist, and philanthropist, as well as a visionary in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. He was the former President of Fortune 500-listed Merck & Co. Now he is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Vagelos has made profound contribution to the Chinese people by helping prevent millions from contacting hepatitis B, a disease that ravaged China from the 1970s to the 1990s. As President of Merck & Co., he made a decision to transfer the most advanced production technology of recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine to China at the lowest possible price. And 500 million newborns in China at least have been vaccinated against hepatitis B since then.
Dr. Vagelos also helped West Africa to rid of river blindness, benefiting 55 million people. More recently, he donated USD 250 million to cover the tuition of students around the globe who are pursuing a career in life sciences.
Kathy Edersheim, President of Impactrics and Chairman of SWHF Award Committee, introduced the awards and their selection criteria.
SWHF announced that one of the Rising Star Awards went to Ms. Fathmath Jeehan Saleem, one of the top scientists in the fight against thalassemia (a genetic defect common in Maldives) and “guardian” of thalassemia patients in Maldives since 1992. The award was presented to her by Michael Møller, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Director-General of United Nations Office at Geneva.
SWHF is honored to award the second Rising Star Award to Mr. Robert Marten who has contributed countless professional resources to private companies in public-private partnerships in innovative projects. This award was presented by Professor Poh Poh Wong to Dr. Yanzhong Huang, Professor at Seton Hall University and Adjunct Senior Fellow of Council on Foreign Relations, who accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Marten.
SWHF is honored to award the first Impact in Global Health Award to Dr. James Wesley Turpin, who has been tirelessly combatting diseases in the Santiago-Tijuana region, to recognize his dedication and contribution to global health. This award was presented by SWHF Executive Chairman Guohui Gao to Dr. Sean Kivlehan, Director of International Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who accepted it on Dr. Turpin’s behalf.
Dr. James Wesley Turpin found his calling in 1961, when he crossed the border to a place several miles away from his lovely home on the Coronado Island. He worked with Maria Mesa as volunteers to run a clinic named Casa de Todos which served the poorest in Tijuana.
Moved by her humanity, he cared for those who had been neglected by the society and devoted all his life to inspiring millions of people across the world to change their lives.
Fifty years ago, while still being a young family physician, he launched Project Concern International (PCI) to fight disease and poverty among the world’s most vulnerable groups, turning a vision of compassion into reality. Dr. Turpin’s goal has always been to work directly with the impoverished and help them lead a self-sufficient life. “I am best at what I do,” said Dr. Turpin.
Dr. Turpin deserves this award. People say that when his work is not needed any more and there are enough people who joined the humanitarian efforts, one of his greatest achievements will be realized and he can move to the next place where he is needed the most. This is precisely the goal of the PCI. Just as Dr. Turpin said, “Every day is day of harvests and we are getting closer and closer to the day that we are not needed.”
Joint Efforts Needed to Overcome More Diseases and Build a Healthier Tomorrow
Without universal health, there would be no universal prosperity. Although we only presented three awards that night, there are indeed many more scientists who have made breakthroughs and contributions in life sciences, including those attending the World Health Forum. The success and lessons of the global health initiatives owe to their collective wisdom and effort.
“It is the mission of all life scientists to build a healthier world tomorrow. We are indebted to the scientists who dedicate themselves to making breakthroughs at the frontline of life sciences. We believe that with our joint efforts, we will overcome more diseases, be healthier, enjoy a higher quality of life, and be able to prevent diseases and manage health more effectively”, concluded ZHANG Haoxi, Secretary-General of XIHF Organizing Committee.