‘Oscar’ Nods Announced
NIH’ers Among 2021 Sammies Finalists
Five employees of NIH are among 29 finalists for the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies), the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service recently announced. The partnership called the 29 nominees “exceptional federal employees who have helped make the nation healthier, safer and more prosperous.”
Also known as the “Oscars of federal service,” the Sammies are the premier awards program recognizing America’s best in government. This year, the partnership added a Covid-19 Response medal to recognize the extraordinary federal workers who played a leading role in responding to the pandemic and saving lives.
NIH’ers were nominated in two categories, including the newly added pandemic bracket. The Covid-19 Response Category recognizes outstanding efforts to support Americans’ health, safety and economic security during the pandemic.
NIH finalists in that category include NIAID/Vaccine Research Center fellow Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett and VRC deputy director Dr. Barney Graham, who were cited for conducting groundbreaking research that led to the development of highly effective vaccines in record time that are protecting hundreds of millions of people from contracting the deadly coronavirus that swept across the globe in 2020 and 2021.
Also contending in the pandemic category are NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons and NIMHD director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, who developed and implemented federal programs—RADx-UP and the Community Engagement Alliance Against Covid-19 Disparities—to increase testing as well as participation in Covid-19 treatment and vaccine trials in underserved communities across the country.
The Science and Environment Category recognizes significant accomplishment in fields such as medicine, economics, energy, information technology, space, meteorology and resource conservation.
NIH’s nominee, NCI senior investigator and Pediatric Oncology Branch chief Dr. Brigitte Widemann and team, developed a breakthrough medical treatment for children with inoperable tumors that cause disabling pain, disfigurement, blindness and motor dysfunction.
“For each of the unprecedented challenges we have faced in the last year, dedicated public servants have worked behind the scenes to move our country forward, heal our nation and strengthen our democracy,” said Max Stier, partnership president and CEO. “The 2021 Service to America Medals finalists have shown tremendous commitment to the public good, and they, like all public servants, deserve our support and recognition.”
Finalists contend in six other categories, in addition to the Covid-19 award. Winners will be announced in the fall.
All 29 finalists are also eligible for the Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award. Members of the public can vote online for the federal employee they believe has made the most significant contributions in public service. Go to https://servicetoamericamedals.org/peoples-choice-award/ by Friday, July 2 to vote. The People’s Choice winner will be announced in the summer.
Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 500 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. Details about the program and the 2021 finalists are available at servicetoamericamedals.org.