The American Society of Hematology (ASH) recognized Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Kathy Giusti, Founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, with awards for their outstanding support and advocacy for biomedical research and the practice of hematology at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Senator Mikulski was presented with the 2014 ASH Public Service Award, an award recognizing unparalleled leadership by an elected public official on issues of importance to hematology research and/or practice, to honor her significant efforts to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal discretionary spending, Senator Mikulski has distinguished herself as a congressional champion and vocal supporter of biomedical research. First elected to the Senate in 1986, Senator Mikulski has spent her career advocating for sustained biomedical research funding that helps fuel research discoveries that save lives and improve the quality of American health care. She was a strong force behind the bi-partisan effort to double the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003 and has most recently urged Congress to restore federal funding to pre-sequestration levels to ensure the continuation of biomedical research.
Kathy Giusti will receive received the 2014 ASH Outstanding Service Award, an honor recognizing effective, “behind-the-scenes” leadership in areas relevant to the mission of the Society, for her efforts to raise public awareness and increase research for multiple myeloma. After she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998, Ms. Giusti and her sister founded the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). At the time, little research was being done in the area of multiple myeloma and no effective treatments existed; the life expectancy for newly diagnosed patients was just three years. Through the MMRF, Ms. Giusti focused on identifying barriers slowing drug development and developed patient-centered, collaborative models to overcome those obstacles, leveraging her Harvard Business School training and previous leadership role at a large pharmaceutical company. Since its founding by Ms. Giusti more than 15 years ago, the MMRF has become the world’s top private funder of multiple myeloma research and a valuable resource for patients.
“Individuals like Senator Mikulski and Kathy Giusti are invaluable to the hematology field,” said ASH President Linda J. Burns, MD, of the University of Minnesota. “Their passion for advancing research opportunities is truly inspirational, especially in the midst of today’s challenging research landscape. ASH is grateful for their significant efforts and commitment to improve the care of patients with blood disorders.” ■