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April 03, 2021

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD

For Immediate Release

2 April 2021 | Washington, DC

National Minority Quality Forum Announces 2021 Booker T. Washington Award Recipients

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) announced its 2021 Booker T. Washington Award recipients:

  • BIO President Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath

  • Outstanding Non-Profit Award: Healthcare Ready

  • Outstanding Corporate Citizen: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

The Booker T. Washington Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of wellness in emerging populations and is presented by NMQF.

“The National Minority Quality Forum has had the honor of working with Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, Healthcare Ready, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals—and we have seen the impact of their work. From breaking barriers as the first woman and African American to lead BIO; to advising on healthcare supply chain preparedness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; to developing a novel treatment for COVID-19 and working to make it accessible to all, they have been equally committed to educating our communities on a variety of health issues. For all these reasons, we are honored that they are accepting the 2021 Booker T. Washington Award,” said NMQF’s President and CEO Dr. Gary Puckrein.

“One of today’s leading social justice issues is greater and equitable access for all to the tremendous advances being made in science and medicine,” BIO President Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath said. “Leaders in this effort stand on the shoulders of transformative advocates like Booker T. Washington, and I am deeply honored to accept this award as we strive to improve the health and welfare of Black Americans, vulnerable populations, and people everywhere.”

Booker T. Washington started the National Negro Health Week (NNHW) in 1915. From 1921 to 1953, NNHW was a program supported by the Public Health Service. By partnering with Congress and the White House, NMQF started National Minority Health Month in 1998 as a successor of NNHW.

“COVID-19 has shined a light on the staggering systemic health and social inequities that persist in minority communities throughout America today,” said Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D., Executive Director of Healthcare Ready. “Healthcare Ready employs an equity mindset to respond to and support the recovery of communities during a crisis while breaking down the painful disparities and creating a more equitable path forward. It is an honor to receive the Booker T. Washington award as we strive to live up to its’ reputation of a monumental civil rights leader who was dedicated to creating a nation where we are all educated, safeguarded and resilient in the face of future challenges.”

“On behalf of the entire Regeneron team who has worked relentlessly over the past 18 months to discover, develop and manufacture a brand-new medicine for COVID-19, we are honored to accept the Booker T. Washington award,” said Leonard Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Regeneron. “We know our science only achieves its full potential when all patients have fair and equitable access to our treatments. We share NMQF’s commitment to making this happen, and we’ll continue working in partnership to overcome the public health disparities that have unfortunately, in many cases, been exacerbated by this pandemic.”

Past Booker T. Washington Award honorees include U.S. Surgeons General Vivek Murthy, Jerome Adams, and Regina Benjamin; the American Medical Association; and the American Hospital Association. Nominations are received from advisors and stakeholders and then chosen by NMQF leadership.

The Booker T. Washington Award ceremony will take place during NMQF’s 2021 Leadership Summit on Health Disparities and Spring Health Braintrust, which will be held virtually this year April 26-28. To register or learn more, visit:

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About the National Minority Quality Forum
The National Minority Quality Forum assists health care providers, professionals, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities. This assistance is based on providing the evidence in the form of science, research, and analysis that will lead to the effective organization and management of system resources to improve the quality and safety of health care for the entire population of the U.S., including minorities. For more information, please visit

About Biotechnology Innovation Organization
BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.

About Healthcare Ready
Healthcare Ready (formerly Rx Response) helps to strengthen healthcare supply chains through collaboration with public health and private sectors by addressing pressing issues before, during, and after disasters. As the convener of industry and government, they safeguard patient health by providing solutions to critical problems. And, provides best practices for healthcare preparedness and response.

 About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Regeneron is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, they have a unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine which has led to nine FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in their laboratories.

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