HADASSAH RECEIVES ADVOCACY AWARD FROM GENETICS POLICY INSTITUTE AT ANNUAL CONFERENCE AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
(New York, NY -- June 11, 2006) -- Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, received the 2006 annual National Advocacy Award presented by the Genetics Policy Institute at its annual policy institute awards dinner held last night at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. Hadassah was awarded the prestigious honor for its continued work in advocating for favorable stem cell legislation and funding at both the federal and state level, since August, 2001 when the Administration placed federal funding limitations on stem cell research. In Spring, 2005, Hadassah mobilized its grassroots membership to participate in SOS: State of Stem Cell, an effort that saw Hadassah delegations visit legislators in all 50 state capitals.
In accepting the award, National President June Walker expressed gratitude from Hadassah, which “with the 300,000 women in every state and every age group is ‘the every woman’s organization,’ and stem cell research is an issue that touches everyone…. The most recent poll I’ve seen shows that nearly three quarters of Americans support stem cell research. If our experience at Hadassah is any indication, we can easily transform this support into a groundswell, “ she said, adding “The past few years have been frustrating politically in terms of gaining federal support for our research. You all, like me, were ready years ago to see the President’s stem cell policy overturned and we wait every day for Congress to act.”
Walker explained that Hadassah originally became involved in stem cell advocacy because “We think that it is important to bring the Jewish perspective to this debate. As Jewish women who are committed to the Jewish imperative of tikkun olam – repairing the world – we think it is essential to make clear that religious voices are not monolithic. Every major stream in Judaism supports stem cell research. This is in part because of the Jewish religious obligation to save lives.”
The award was presented within the framework of the Genetics Policy Institute’s second, annual "Stem Cell Policy and Advocacy Summit: Empowering the Pro-Cures Coalition," this year hosted by the center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University and co-chaired by Bernard Siegel, J.D., executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, and Christopher Thomas Scott, Ph.D., executive director of the Stanford Program in Stem Cells and Society.
According to Siegel, “The National Advocacy Award goes to the organization that has made the greatest impact in promoting awareness of the lifesaving cause of stem cell research. Hadassah has earned the gratitude of patients around the world for its effective leadership on this issue. GPI is pleased to provide Hadassah recognition at this annual summit meeting of the "Pro-Cures" community.”
In presenting the award, Siegel told Walker: "Scientists know about you [Hadassah], you are making such an incredible impact."