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Arthritis Foundation Bestows Highest National Awards

ATLANTA, Dec. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Arthritis Foundation bestowed its highest nationwide honors to several deserving recipients during its national meeting on Dec. 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The honorees are as follows:

Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service

L. Brunson White was honored with the Arthritis Foundation's highest nationwide volunteer award, the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service. This annual award recognizes a volunteer who has provided leadership and direction to the Arthritis Foundation, given their time and talent generously to help others, and challenged other Foundation volunteers to be their best. A resident of Birmingham, Ala., White has served the Arthritis Foundation in various volunteer capacities for more than 15 years, including national board chair from 2007 to 2008.

Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research

George C. Tsokos MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the rheumatology division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was named the 2012 winner of the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research for his contributions toward the understanding of systemic lupus erythematosus. His discoveries have revolutionized the understanding of the disease and identified novel treatment targets and disease biomarkers to improve the lives of patients. The Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize recognizes researchers whose contributions during the previous five years have represented a significant advancement in the understanding, treatment or prevention of arthritis.

Arthritis Foundation Award for Innovative Philanthropy

Patricia L. Pratt is the recipient of the 2012 Arthritis Foundation Award for Innovative Philanthropy for her extraordinary contribution to innovation and transformation of the Foundation's mission and services. Since the 1990s, Pratt has been committed to supporting research and programs benefiting those with arthritis. In 2011, after more than 30 years of modest but diligent savings, she made a $1 million gift in honor of her late mother who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.

Clifford M. Clarke Award for Outstanding Leadership

Essil Washington, controller, Arthritis Foundation National Office,was presented the Clifford M. Clarke Award for Outstanding Leadership. This award honors Clifford M. Clarke, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation from 1975 to 1990. It is presented to a current Foundation staff member who demonstrates exceptional leadership resulting in significant and consistent progress in accomplishing the organization's mission. Washington has devoted 37 years of exceptional service to the Foundation and has consistently ensured that donor contributions are spent wisely and efficiently.

2012 Volunteer Award Winners:

  • Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award: Brianna Bollettieri, Northeast Region; Alyssa Wilcox, New England Region
  • Edward M. Kennedy Advocacy Leadership Award: Erin O'Rourke, Northeast Region
  • National Public Health Partnership Award: American College of Physicians Foundation
  • Regional Public Health Partnership Award: The Christ Hospital, Great Lakes Region
  • Community Service Award: Patricia McMahon, Great Lakes Region
  • Lorraine Potocki Arthritis Walk Award: Cassi Taylor, South Central Region
  • Jingle Bell Run/Walk Spirit Award: Kellie Carpenter, Great West Region
  • Gala Excellence Award: I. Bradley Hoffman, New England Region
  • Major Gift Leadership Award: Virginia Wheeler, Upper Midwest Region

2012 Special Award Winners:

  • Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) Award: Christian Lattermann, MD, Great Lakes Region
  • Clifford M. Clarke Science Award: Anne Stevens, MD, PhD, Great West Region
  • Frederic C. McDuffie Fellowship: Tanisha Jackson, PhD, Northeast Region
  • Philip S. Magaram, Esq., Research Award: Soumya Raychaudhuri, MD, PhD, New England Region
  • Don L. Riggin Research Award: Sheila Arvikar, MD, New England Region
  • J.V. Satterfield Award: Gabriela Schmajuk, MD, Northern California Chapter
  • Arthritis Foundation Longest-Serving Ambassador Award, Byron Janis, Northeast Region
  • Rising Star Award, Margo Deihl, Mid Atlantic Region

About the Arthritis Foundation

Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.

CONTACT: Carol Galbreath Arthritis Foundation (404) 965-7595 cgalbreath@arthritis.orgSource: Arthritis Foundation National Office