LFA Receives Research!America’s 2017 Advocacy Award for Lupus Programs

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by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Left to right: Former Vice President Joe Biden; LFA President and CEO Sandra C. Raymond; LFA Medical Director Susan Manzi, MD; Pippy Rogers; Allie Gutshall, and Kweisi Mfume. Photo credit: LFA

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has received the 2017 Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award from Research!America for advancing research, education, support and advocacy programs for lupus.

The Rogers Award series recognizes public or private organizations that advocate for medical or health research at the national, state or local level.

LFA received its prize at the 2017 Advocacy Awards Dinner, which also honored former Vice President Joe Biden for his commitment to accelerating cancer research. Research!America’s 21st annual ceremony, which attracted more than 400 government officials, healthcare industry leaders and academics, took place March 15 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

“The Lupus Foundation of America provides answers, support and hope to those coping with this unpredictable and devastating disease,” Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, said in a press release. “They work tirelessly to marshal resources in support of patients and their families. We applaud their commitment to addressing challenges in lupus research and treatment.”

Left to right: Former Vice President Joe Biden; LFA President and CEO Sandra C. Raymond; LFA Medical Director Susan Manzi, MD; Pippy Rogers; Allie Gutshall, and Kweisi Mfume. Photo credit: LFA

Susan Manzi, MD, MPH, medical director of LFA, accepted the award and spoke alongside Allie Gutshall, who was diagnosed with lupus in January 2013.

Lupus immobilized Gutshall, but she was able to regain her independence through medication and treatment — neither of which would have been available without recent research advances in the field. Nutshell is now in remission and wanted to share her story of perseverance.

“My purpose is now to advocate for others who can’t advocate for themselves,” she told guests at the event.

Manzi said LFA was honored to receive the award, which recognizes the Washington-based organization’s efforts led to elevate lupus on the nation’s healthcare agenda.

“For all people impacted by lupus, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of scientific investigation and rallying stakeholders to channel resources toward research until we reach our vision of a life free of lupus,” Manzi said.

The dinner also honored Nobel Laureate Leland H. Hartwell, PhD, who received the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for his leadership as president and director of the Cancer Research Center, and actress Kathy Bates, a spokeswoman for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.

Bates, who has lymphedema, received the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for raising the visibility of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases, and for advocating on behalf of the patient community.