"The VIDA Award recognizes exceptional leaders for their commitment to securing the best health outcomes for all," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. The Awards presentation was an evening that brought together the nation's health leadership including elected and appointed officials, health association CEOs, ambassadors, and the CEOs of Hispanic community-based organizations.
In presenting the VIDA Award to Senator Inouye, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, remarked that Senator Inouye was "an American patriot" whose "record of meaningful and bipartisan work has profoundly improved the well-being of the nation." Senator Inouye told the audience that discrimination was a part of his life from serving in a segregated army to finding in Congress the Members dining room was segregated. "I will never accept discrimination," Senator Inouye told the audience and thanked the Alliance for its work to bring health care to all.
The history of change in America was on the mind of Ambassador Margaret M. Heckler, former U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services, as she presented the VIDA Award to Dr. Lauro Cavazos, former U.S. Secretary of Education and the first Hispanic member of a President's Cabinet. Ambassador Heckler recalled Dr. Cavazos' history of education that "began in a small schoolhouse on King Ranch in Texas but took him to the Dean's Office at Tufts University School of Medicine, the Presidency of Texas Tech University, and eventually the Cabinet." Dr. Cavazos in accepting his award recalled that history and that "his father worked seven days a week on the ranch" and his mother "could not write her name but they both always believed in education and told him he must be educated." Dr. Cavazos said he sees "great hope for the future in the students today, but the key is that parents must be involved in their child's education."
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) joined the evening's celebrations in presenting the VIDA award to Larry Hausner, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Collins reflected on the economic and personal toll that diabetes takes on the American people and thanked both the Alliance and the American Diabetes Association for their work to change the future trajectory of diabetes in America. Larry Hausner in accepting the VIDA Award did so "on behalf of all at the American Diabetes Association" and reaffirmed his belief that "we will not change the course of diabetes unless all communities are a part of the advocacy and benefit from the research and services to stop diabetes."
The final award of the evening was presented by former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Antonia Novello to Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE), Brooklyn's oldest Hispanic community-based organization. "From one Puerto Rican to another" Dr. Novello recognized Elizabeth for "leading the way for the rights of all to live in communities that foster health and to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink." Elizabeth Yeampierre on behalf of all at UPROSE thanked the Alliance and accepted the award remarking that "Hispanic communities are living with the legacy of toxic environments" and that "without clean air to breathe our children cannot go to school and no one can have the health that they deserve."
The VIDA (Vision, Innovation, Dedication, and Advocacy) Award honors excellence and is the most prestigious award in the field of Hispanic health. The VIDA awards event is a time to honor those individuals who have dedicated themselves to secure the best health outcomes for all and for all leaders to rededicate ourselves to the mission ahead.
A summary of the accomplishments of the 2011 VIDA Award recipients is attached.
About the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation's foremost source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States. The Alliance represents thousands of Hispanic health providers across the nation providing services to more than 15 million each year, making a daily difference in the lives of Hispanic communities and families. For more information, visit www.hispanichealth.org or call the Alliance's Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline at 1-866-783-2645.
RECIPIENTS OF THE 2011 VIDA AWARDS
SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE
Senator Daniel K. Inouye has profoundly improved the health and well-being of the nation and is one of the country's leading voices for community health. is the most senior member of the Senate, President Pro-Tempore of the U.S. Senate, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Commerce Committee and Committee on Indian Affairs. In 1959, he was elected as Hawaii's first Congressman and in 1962 was elected to the U.S. Senate, now serving his ninth consecutive Senate term.
Senator Inouye's is a career of honor. In 1941, he was at the Pearl Harbor attack as a medical volunteer. In 1943, when the U.S. Army dropped its ban on Japanese-Americans, he curtailed his premedical studies and joined the Army's Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the Army. He earned the nation's highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor.
Senator Inouye has guided the nation through difficult national challenges as a member of the Watergate Committee and in 1987 as Chairman of the Iran-Contra Committee. He continues to make his mark as a respected legislator able to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact meaningful legislation. He has championed community health, mental health services, nursing, and access to care for the uninsured and underinsured.
A hallmark of Senator Inouye's career is his commitment to justice. He is an effective advocate for improved quality of life for military families, recognition of the sovereignty of Native Hawaiians, recognition of Filipino veterans of World War II, redress for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the rights of all to be safe from bigotry and hatred. It is this sense of justice and his commitment to all people that has defined his life as an American patriot.
THE HONORABLE LAURO F. CAVAZOS
Lauro F. Cavazos, Ph.D., MA has blazed the trail for many today in public service and the fields of education and health. He was the first Hispanic to serve in the United States Cabinet.
A sixth-generation Texan, he was born on the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, where his father was the foreman. The spirit to blaze trails is part of Dr. Cavazos' lineage. Through his maternal ancestry, he is a descendant of Texas Revolution heroine Francisca Alvarez, the "Angel of Goliad."
He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in zoology from Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. in physiology from Iowa State University. From 1975 to 1980, he served as Dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine. From 1980 to 1988, he served as President of Texas Tech University. He was both the first alumnus and the first Hispanic to serve as Texas Tech President.
Dr. Cavazos was nominated by President Reagan in August 1988 as U.S. Secretary of Education and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He was asked by President George H. W. Bush to continue as Secretary after the 1988 Presidential elections. As secretary he spearheaded initiatives to expand educational opportunities for those most in need and provided leadership to encourage parental and community participation in education.
He resigned as Secretary of Education in December of 1990 and joined the Faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine where he has served as Chair of the Department of Community Health and the Director of Graduate Programs in Public Health. He fostered numerous innovative programs, including a track in community health that placed medical students in community health settings as part of their training. His commitment to community health included service on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.
From the school house on King Ranch to the U.S. Cabinet and leadership of community and public health, Dr. Cavazos' is an example of public service and a life well led.
Larry Hausner, MBA is Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association, the nation's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing and curing diabetes. He joined the Association in 2007 and brought a renewed commitment to programs to both improve the quality of life for those living with diabetes and for those at risk of getting this disease.
As part of his focus on mission, Hausner has supported reorganization of efforts in Hispanic communities under an umbrella that focuses on the whole family - por tu familia or "for your family" in English. The Association effort builds on the strengths of family, incorporates community partners, and highlights cultural components including food and dance as part of an overall effort to manage and prevent diabetes.
In his leadership of the American Diabetes Association, Mr. Hausner has focused policy efforts on the consequences and costs of diabetes nationally as well as for individuals, families, and communities. He has been a forceful advocate for access arguing that diabetes can only be managed and controlled with ongoing and regular access to a range of health services. He has also partnered with national health organizations to bring attention to the co-morbidity of diabetes with heart, kidney, and eye disease and mental health issues.
Before joining the American Diabetes Association, Hausner served as Chief Operating Officer for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and as Chief of Staff of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. His career in national voluntary health organizations has been marked by a commitment to mission. It is this commitment to mission that, under Mr. Hausner's leadership, has brought renewed focus at the American Diabetes Association to the duty of national voluntary organizations to meet the needs of all communities and ensure the best health outcomes for call.
ELIZABETH C. YEAMPIERRE
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre, JD is Executive Director of the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE), Brooklyn's oldest Hispanic community-based organization. A Puerto Rican civil rights attorney born and raised in New York City, Elizabeth has made environmental health issues a central part of the mission of UPROSE.
Her advocacy has been not only effective, but innovative. When vehicle emissions were identified as a source of asthma in the community, UPROSE purchased hybrid vans to use as community shared-ride transportation. Those same hybrid vehicles were used for "toxic tours" to show legislators first-hand the environmental risks in Sunset Park. UPROSE also partnered with a local business to retrofit 12 vehicles and demonstrate how green business could also be good business.
Elizabeth was a partner in the Alliance's Health, Environment and Action Network (HEAN) using innovative mobile technology to monitor pollution in the community and display results generated by youth "Eco-Teams" on Google Earth maps. Most recently UPROSE has led an urban forestry initiative that has doubled the open space in Sunset Park and residents developed a greenway-blueway design for Sunset Park's waterfront that has been adopted by city officials.
As Chair of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Ms. Yeampierre is part of the leadership responsible for getting New York State's first Brownfield legislation and NYC's Solid Waste Management Plan passed. Her efforts most recently resulted in $36 million in Brownfield remediation funds for Sunset Park, the largest Brownfield grant in the history of the State of New York. Because of her commitment and advocacy, Sunset Park is leading the way for the rights of all to live in communities that foster health and have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.