Physicians for Human Rights Virtual Celebration

Watch: The 2021 Physicians for Human Rights Spring Event

Since 2015, PHR has held an annual event to honor the brave individuals working at the intersection of medicine, science, and human rights to protect and defend the health, dignity, and fundamental freedoms of all people around the world. 

This year, our virtual celebration was dedicated to the medical, public health, and scientific experts; philanthropists; and advocates working to bring evidence- and rights-based solutions to the global COVID-19 response, and the thousands of health professionals – doctors, nurses, and first responders – risking their lives to provide medical care to those in need.


The Physicians for Human Rights 2021 Awards were presented to the following honorees:

Honoree: Richard Horton, FRCP, FMedSci, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, renowned global health expert, and PHR board member.

We presented the 2021 Physicians for Human Rights Award to Dr. Richard Horton for his extraordinary leadership and advocacy on global health issues and as a leading scientific and human rights voice at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As editor-in-chief of the Lancet, Dr. Horton led the charge in telling the story of COVID-19; a new virus that was rapidly killing millions and extremely difficult to contain. Dr. Horton made it his mission to encourage nations to mobilize more quickly, and since then, Dr. Horton has become one of the sharpest critics of the public-health response to the pandemic in Britain, the United States, and other nations whose governments failed to trust public health experts and science. 

Presenter: Dr. Anthony Fauci was appointed Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984 and has advised seven U.S. Presidents on national and global epidemics, including HIV/Aids, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. Dr. Fauci has become the leading scientific expert and outspoken national advocate on the U.S. government’s response to the global pandemic. 


Honoree: Uğur Şahin, MD and Özlem Türeci, MD, Co-Founders of BioNTech

Dr. Uğur Şahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci are physicians, immunologists and cancer researchers whose mRNA research led to creating the first COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Pfizer. Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci developed the Pfizer vaccine in an unprecedented eleven-month timeframe, enabling many across the globe to defend themselves against COVID-19 quickly. 

Presenter: Dr. Ashish Jha, PHR board member and Dean of Brown’s School of Public Health. Dr, Jha is recognized globally as a pandemic preparedness expert and is leading the charge against COVID-19 through a national and international analysis of key issues in an effort to advise state and federal policy makers.


Honoree: Ricardo Cigarroa, MD

Dr. Ricardo Cigarroa is a cardiologist in Laredo, TX. Affectionately called the “Dr. Fauci of South Texas” Dr. Cigarroa has worked to protect his community from the COVID-19 pandemic, by turning his practice into a COVID clinic, making house calls and accepting all patients who needed care. Dr. Cigarroa has also been an advocate and leading voice in Laredo by educating community members in both English and Spanish on how to prevent COVID-19 infection and holding political leaders accountable for properly protecting Texans during the state’s second wave earlier this year. 

Presenter: Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, head of pediatric transplant surgery at the University of Texas Health Center and Chair of the Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees will present the award to his brother. As a third-generation physician, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa served President George W Bush on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, and later, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a commissioner for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.


Honoree: Nichole Quick, MD

Dr. Nichole Quick is the former Chief Health Officer for Orange County, California with over a decade of governmental public health leadership. In response to her COVID-19 mask mandate, Dr. Quick was met with death threats and protests at her home. Under pressure from both county supervisors and the public, Quick resigned in June 2020, the third high-level Orange County health official to do so during the pandemic. 

Presenter: Anna Werner, award winning National Consumer Investigative Correspondent at CBS News. Most recently, Anna won an award for her “Medical Price Roulette” series, which explored the medical price transparency between doctors, hospitals, health insurance companies, and the human cost of the opaque system. Her reporting is featured across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, including the “CBS Evening News,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “48 Hours” and CBSN.


Special Guest Appearances

Meryl Streep, actor; Ken Jeong, actor and comedian; and Jacob Soboroff, NBC News and MSNBC

Musical Performances by Yo-Yo Ma and Dr. Lisa Wong & Enchi Chang, Longwood Symphony Orchestra


Gala Co-Chairs:

  • Deborah D. Ascheim, MD and Tom Ascheim 
  • Ashley Garrett and Alan Jones 
  • Dana C. Stone, LMSW, OT and Andy Stone 
  • Kerry J. Sulkowicz, MD 

Gala Committee:* 

Gala Committee in formation as of 5/1/2021

  • Kristin and Peter Auerbach 
  • Marion J. Bergman, MD, MPA and Stanley M. Bergman 
  • Bradley A. Connor, M.D., AGA-F, FIDSA, FACP, FRCPS (Glas)
  • Sherrye and David Dantzker, MD 
  • Kathleen M. Foley, MD and Charles T. Foley 
  • Lauren Halpern, Dropbox 
  • Kelly Huntley Kern
  • Ali Khan, MD, MPP, FACP 
  • Cynthia and Robert S. Lawrence, MD 
  • Kristin and Austin Ratner, MD 
  • Gail Saltz, MD
  • Donna Shelley, MD, MPH 
  • Gerson Smoger, JD, PhD 

2021 Gala Sponsors 

Defender

  • Marion J. Bergman, MD, MPA and Stanley M. Bergman
  • Ashley Garrett and Alan K. Jones 
  • Dana C. Stone, LMSW, OT and Andy Stone 

Protector

  • Bradley A. Connor, M.D., AGA-F, FIDSA, FACP, FRCPS (Glas)
  • Michele Heisler, MD, MPA and Jamie Tappenden, PhD
  • Cynthia and Robert S. Lawrence, MD 
  • Gerson Smoger, JD, PhD
  • Elizabeth Strickler and Mark Gallogly
  • Kerry J. Sulkowicz, MD 
  • Lois Whitman, JD, MS  

Advocate

  • Deborah D. Ascheim, MD and Tom Ascheim 
  • Kristin and Peter Auerbach
  • Sherrye and David Dantzker, MD 
  • The Diebold Nixdorf Foundation
  • Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
  • Kathleen M. Foley, MD and Charles T. Foley 
  • Kelly Huntley Kern
  • Kristin and Austin Ratner, MD
  • Ropes & Gray, LLP
  • Gail Saltz, MD and Leonard Saltz, MD
  • Donna Shelley, MD, MPH and Larry Shelley