WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today received the 2021 Innovating for Impact Congressional Champion Award from the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) for his advocacy on global health innovation and support for infectious disease research at the Department of Defense.
As founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, Wicker has pushed for funding and policies that strengthen the global fight against these diseases. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wicker has also protected investments in malaria research at the Department of Defense to help save millions of lives in the global south and to ensure service member readiness. Senator Wicker also worked on the End Neglected Tropical Disease Act, which was signed into law last year and bolstered the support of treatment, control, and elimination of neglected tropical diseases through the United States Agency for International Development.
“I am honored to be recognized as one of GHTC’s Congressional Champions,” Wicker said. “As our comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, strong investments in public health research and development are a cornerstone of the American economy and a benefit to communities around the world. Putting an end to these infectious diseases will require continued partnership and cooperation between lawmakers, researchers, and the private sector.”
Global health leaders praised Wicker for his efforts.
“Senator Wicker has historically been very focused on public health issues, particularly malaria and other neglected diseases,” said Dr. Kent Kester, a former U.S. Army colonel and former commander at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. “[He] has done this, not loud, not brash, but effective throughout his entire tenure.”
“He has continued to push the malaria agenda and the tropical disease agenda at the Department of Defense,” said Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, a former senior director for global health security and biodefense on the National Security Council. “He has made a major impact in global health.”
“Senator Wicker has led to increased investments in global health research, and millions of lives have already been saved,” said Samantha Helton, a former staffer. “Senator Wicker deserves this award because he has been a tireless champion. He’s a quiet leader, but he’s willing to do the hard work.”