2001 Excellence in Women's Health Awards Luncehon

May 10, 2001

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Excellence Awards Recognize Advocates for Women's Health

Kicking off the Jacobs Institute's annual Excellence in Women's Health Awards luncheon May 10, Allen Schaffer, MD, noted, "Each of these recipients is a pioneer and an advocate for better health care for all Americans." Dr. Schaffer serves on the Jacobs Institute Board and is senior vice president and chief medical officer of CIGNA Healthcare, which sponsored the luncheon at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Luella Klein, MD, director of Women's Health Issues for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Charles Howard Candler Professor at Emory University School of Medicine, presented an Excellence Award to Angela Diaz, MD. Since 1989, Dr. Diaz has been director of the Adolescent Health Center and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is a tenured professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine who has conducted research and published articles on family planning, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health services, Medicaid managed care, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse, adolescent health, health care for immigrants, and other topics. Among her many accomplishments, she helped develop a card describing minors' rights to confidential reproductive health care in New York that is being replicated in several other states.

Dr. Klein noted, "Dr. Diaz works for a better future for young girls because it means a better future for all of us. I am proud to honor Angela Diaz as a role model, a women's health activist, an agent of change, and a courageous and gifted doctor."

Accepting the award, Dr. Diaz said, "Thank you for appreciating the kind of work we love to do." She explained, "The health care system is designed by adults for adults, and when it doesn't work for adolescents, we call them noncompliant and difficult to reach. Adolescents are the best health care consumers if you design programs to meet their needs."

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Luella Klein, MD & Angela Diaz, MD

Ruth Merkatz, PhD, RN, director/team leader of Women's Health Care for Pfizer, Inc and member of the Jacobs Institute's Board of Governors presented an Excellence Award to Frank E. Speizer, MD, founder of the Nurses Health Study, an ongoing comprehensive effort established in 1976. The award recognizes the significant contributions of the study, its investigators, and its many thousands of participants. Dr. Merkatz pointed out the Nurses Health Study has provided important information on such topics as hormone replacement therapy, calcium, and exercise. Findings are "improving the health of women throughout the world," said Dr. Merkatz, and she praised Dr. Speizer as "a skilled researcher and extraordinary man who is saving women's lives"

Results from the Nurses Health Study so far have already served as the basis for 265 papers and will soon be compiled into a book for consumers and others. Dr. Speizer is codirector of the Channing Laboratory, Edward H. Kass Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and professor of Environmental Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. He remarked, "I humbly accept this award on behalf of the researchers but really for the 121,000 women who have given their time, their trust, and literally parts of themselves to further research. They have told us more about women's lifestyles and health than we could possibly have gathered any other way."

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Ruth Merkatz, PhD (Event Chair) and Frank E. Speizer, MD

The Warren H. Pearse Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by its namesake to Allan Rosenfield, MD, dean of the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, DeLamar Professor of Public Health, and professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University. Dr. Rosenfield is best known for his efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates, particularly in developing countries. Presenting the award, Dr. Pearse said, "Dr. Rosenfield does not just teach, just write, or just provide care: he does it all, and in a world-class fashion."

Dr. Pearse continued, "Dr. Rosenfield is not resting on his laurels but continues to carry out programs and speak eloquently on maternal mortality. He is a physician who believes deeply in what he does."

Accepting the award, Dr. Rosenfield recalled that when he practiced obstetrics and gynecology overseas and when he returned to practice in the United States in the 1970s, "I thought ACOG and Warren Pearse were one in the same. I am particularly honored to receive an award in his name."


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Warren Pearse, MD & Allan Rosenfield, MD

The Jacobs Institute offers special thanks to CIGNA Healthcare and the other organizations and individuals who supported the 2001 Excellence in Women's Health Awards.


Healthy Women, Healthy Lives. A Guide to Preventing Disease, from the Landmark Nurses' Health Study, edited by Susan E. Hankinson, ScD, Graham A. Colditz, MD, JoAnn E. Manson, MD, and Frank E. Speizer, MD, is available in bookstores, by calling 800-223-2348, or by going to the publisher's web site at www.simonsays.com.