Aug 28, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senior Director of Public Relations and Communications
Aug. 28, 2022
HOUSTON, TEXAS - Each year, the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) honors those who have made significant contributions to the inheritable blood and bleeding disorders (IBD) community at its annual Awards of Excellence program. Honorees are nominated by their peers for their outstanding dedication and service to the community. After careful deliberation, this year’s winners have been selected and were announced at this year’s Bleeding Disorders Conference (BDC) in Houston, Texas.
The following award recipients were honored at this year’s NHF Awards of Excellence Ceremony:
The John Indence Award: Hemophilia of Michigan, Ypsilanti, MI
The Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan (HFM) is receiving the John Indence award for going above and beyond in their advocacy, fundraising and awareness efforts during Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month in March. HFM has created educational programming and spearheaded outstanding political advocacy on behalf of the IBD community, resulting in 26 legislative meetings with state representatives and greater community awareness in Michigan.
“We are truly honored by the recognition of the work of the HFM staff, and most importantly, the engagement of the Michigan community.” - Sue Lerch, HoM Executive Director
Philanthropist of the Year: Jim Christensen, Omaha, NE
Jim Christensen, who lives with hemophilia A, has revolutionized the affordability of IBD treatment options by introducing the inSOURCErx prescription drug card. His work has significantly lowered the cost of treatment for millions of people and directed the card’s profits to organizations including NHF.
“It really is just an honor to be able to help support this community that means so much to me.” - Jim Christensen
The Ryan White Youth Award: Mikey White
At 15 years old, Mikey White has become not only a phenomenal high school athlete who refuses to let hemophilia B slow him down, but an extraordinary role model for people of all ages — including his younger brother, Westin, who also has hemophilia B. White encourages everyone to believe in themselves and to not let anything keep them from working toward the things they want in life.
“Thank you NHF for allowing Mikey to do his part as a competitive swimmer athlete with hemophilia, who loves to show that a person with hemophilia is incredibly strong — #HemophiliaStrong.” - Maria White, Mikey’s mother
The Lifetime Achievement Award: Randy Curtis, Walnut Creek, CA;
Throughout his career in public health and industrial relations, Randy Curtis has worked tirelessly for the hemophilia community by collecting data and computing factor VIII for a multitude of organizations helping the IBD community. His contributions to the NHF MASAC Pain Group, the Hemophilia Utilization Group Studies, the Patient Reported Outcomes, Burdens and Experiences study, the Cost of Hemophilia Socioeconomic Survey, and many other initiatives are just some of many examples of the way Randy gives back to the community in which he belongs.
“I have always tried to give back to the community, be it through my local chapter, legislative actions, or research. The fact that I love doing it is a bonus.” - Randy Curtis
Advocate of the Year: Briana Reinking, Centennial, CO
As a board member of her local chapter’s Advocacy Committee, member of the Colorado Bleeding Disorders Committee, and a mother of two children with hemophilia, Briana Reinking has propelled the voice of her chapter by helping to pass legislation that would inhibit Step Therapy and by empowering those around her to be advocates for the IBD community.
“I feel lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to protections for myself, my kids, and the entire bleeding disorders community. We couldn’t succeed at any of our advocacy efforts in Colorado without our exceptional chapter staff, courageous advocates, and the incredible support of our local hemophilia treatment center.” - Briana Reinking
The Loras Goedken Outstanding Leadership Award: Walter Justus, Boise, ID
Walter Justus is a shining example of the impact a kind and dedicated leader can have on the people around them. Through his service on his chapter’s board, his advocacy leadership, plus hours put in at summer camps and mentoring others, he has helped NHF’s Idaho Chapter grow into the helping powerhouse it is today.
“Serving the bleeding disorders community for the last 30 years has been a privilege and has given me so many opportunities. Leadership roles on the Chapter Advisory Board, in advocacy, family camp, and in fundraising have meant a great deal to me.” - Walter Justus
Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award: Mariel Laureano, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Mariel Laureano of the APH Chapter has created unity and progress toward a better life for the IBD community. As team captain for the 2022 Unite Walk in Puerto Rico and a guest on Soluciones: un horizante de posibilidades, a radio show broadcast on WIPR 940 AM, Laureano has made tremendous strides in educating people on bleeding disorders.
“I’m more than grateful for being named as Chapter Volunteer of the Year! I also want to thank all NHF members and Dr. Valentino, Michael Craciunoiu , Katie Cooper, Nathan Schaefer, Josie Gamez and Matthew, and from APH our Board Members: Eduardo Rodriguez Rivera, Anabelle, Fabiola, Jorge, Anthony Llanes and our P.R. community for this amazing opportunity.” - Mariel Laureano
Researcher of the Year: Dr. Keith Hoots, Bethesda, MD
Dr. Keith Hoots recently retired as the director of the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. His work has pioneered the creation of longitudinal follow-up of hemophilia cohorts with HIV and hepatitis, gene therapy trials for Hemophilia A and B, clinical trials of new clotting concentrates for Hemophilia A and B and the impact of care and clotting factor product on Hemophilia patient outcomes. His professional developments and commitment to research on blood disorders, prevention and blood safety are honored in this award.
“I am honored to receive the Researcher of the Year Award from NHF. I have been closely affiliated with NHF for over four decades and view this honor as generous recognition of recent global efforts in supporting research focused on bleeding disorders.” - Dr. Keith Hoots
Physician of the Year: Dr. Kimo Stine, Little Rock, AR
For decades, Dr. Kimo Stine has acted as a champion of wellbeing and health progress for generations of families with hemophilia. His impact on personal care and encouragement of trial participation means everything to the people he serves, both in Arkansas and through his twinning program with Kosovo.
“There are so many great physicians and teams in this country; I am overwhelmed to be considered one among them.” - Dr. Kimo Stine
The Val Bias and Todd Smith Innovation in Camp Award: Camp Bold Eagle (Hemophilia of Michigan), Muskegon, MI
Every summer, including during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hemophilia of Michigan’s Camp Bold Eagle serves as a haven of fun, connection, and education for children ages 6 through 13 with hereditary bleeding disorders. Camp Bold Eagle is commended for providing an exceptional opportunity for kids with bleeding disorders to connect with and learn about their community while, above all else, being kids.
“In the midst of COVID-19, we brought kids, counselors, and staff together virtually for the month of July to demonstrate that camp is the people — not the place. We are grateful to NHF for recognizing our commitment to innovation and camp through this wonderful award.” - Sue Lerch, HoM Executive Director
Social Worker of the Year: Connie Thibodeuax, New Orleans, LA
Social work is a key part of bleeding disorder care, and Connie Thibodeaux goes above and beyond to optimize her role and help fellow social workers better serve people in the bleeding disorders community. Thanks to her, Thibodeaux’s community has access to educational resources on bleeding disorders tailored to local needs.
“I have learned and continue to learn so much from my peers in this community and am grateful for all the continued education opportunities afforded by the hemophilia community and the National Hemophilia Foundation.” - Connie Thibodeaux
Genetic Counselor of the Year: Jamie McCreery, Milwaukee, WI
Jamie McCreery has opened the world of genetic counseling to people across the country, assisting those around her in understanding testing options; responsible test utilization; and the role genetics play in hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and other rare bleeding disorders. She is set apart by her expertise and remarkably patient-centric approach.
“I am so pleased that I was able to spend my last work experience [prior to retirement] in the specialty of hematology genetics and have the privilege of working with so many amazing, dedicated, and talented genetic counselors and hematology specialists who are the true leaders in the field.” - Jamie McCreery
Physical Therapist of the Year: Anita Wood, PT, New Orleans, LA
For Anita Wood, patient advocacy is the name of the game. Wood utilizes her position as a physical therapist to uplift and empower her patients, often accompanying them during orthopedic appointments, and to educate fellow PTs on treating those with an IBD.
“I believe in being a true advocate for her patients, always encouraging them in their efforts to achieve their goals.” - Anita Wood
Nurse of the Year: Brenda Nielsen, BSN, RN, Chapel Hill, NC
Brenda Nielsen’s 30 years of service to the IBD community have been marked by a wide and inimitable range of accomplishments, including being the nurse coordinator at the University of North Carolina Hemophilia Treatment Center; founding the first camp for people with bleeding disorders in North Carolina, and spearheading the passage of House Bill 823. This legacy has manifested itself in the quality of life experienced by her patients and the growing awareness of bleeding disorders among her colleagues and future health care professionals.
“Brenda is an amazing nurse who is more than deserving of this award. Because of her commitment and care, her patients have been able to thrive throughout their lives.” - NHF Nursing Working Group
Mary M. Gooley Humanitarian of the Year: Esmeralda Vazquez, Chicago, IL
Within the IBD community, Esmeralda Vazquez’s name is synonymous with health equity and patient-centric care. Through her championing of subject matter expert voices (particularly those of BIPOC community members) and her work embedding patient input within the research process, Vazquez has dedicated her life to ensuring that everyone’s voice matters within the IBD community’s paths.
“Winning the Humanitarian award means that the NHF has demonstrated an honest desire to ensure that individuals with bleeding disorders are seen as subject matter experts. This award is not just for me, but for all of those who often fight barriers as they navigate the complexities of our healthcare system. Everyone deserves equitable access to care.” - Esmeralda Vazquez
The Ziggy Douglas Innovation in Youth Programming Award: Pacific Northwest Bleeding Disorders, Corvallis, OR
Pacific Northwest Bleeding Disorders (PNWBD) has rebuilt youth programming for the IBD community in Oregon. With the help of the Hemophilia Center at Oregon Health and Science University, PNWBD introduced the PEAK teen program and the YETI Conference, both of which have encouraged connection and agency between young IBD community members and became leading standards in youth IBD programming across the country.
“Ziggy Douglas’ spirit and enthusiasm lives on in all that we do for teens.” - Madonna McGuire Smith, Executive Director, PNWBD
For nearly 75 years, The National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) has championed research, education, and advocacy for inheritable blood disorders. NHF is dedicated to finding better treatments, preventative measures, and cures for inheritable blood disorders. Founded by patients in 1948, NHF’s impactful programs and initiatives are made possible through the support of a nationwide network of chapters, as well as individuals, partners, and a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learn more at hemophilia.org.