WebMD Health Corp, the leading source of health information, celebrated the accomplishments of five extraordinary individuals who are meeting health and medical challenges head-on and effecting change through their insights, courage, and perseverance last week during its annual Health Hero Awards Gala in New York City.
After brief remarks from WebMD’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Steve Zatz, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, the host of the Awards Gala for the third straight year, shared her perspective on the significance of WebMD’s Health Hero Awards, as well as a few stories before kicking-off the Awards presentation.
The 2016 WebMD Health Hero Award recipients are:
Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen — People’s Choice
Entertainers Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen together created Hilarity for Charity, an annual celebrity-packed variety show in Los Angeles that raises money to help fund Alzheimer’s research. They’ve brought in more than $6.5 million since they started in 2012 and have helped fund over 80,000 hours of free in home care. But they didn’t stop there: The pair extended the concept to the college crowd with HFC U, which helps students host similar events on campus.
Ed Damiano, PhD — Scientist
Ed Damiano, a biomedical engineering professor at Boston University, brought his work home with him when his son, David, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11 months old. Insulin pumps and other tools couldn’t keep David’s blood sugar under control, so Damiano set out to design something that would. The result: a bionic pancreas that’s in clinical trials now and could hit the market by 2018.
Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD — Advocate
When the concept of palliative care emerged in the 1990s, Betty Ferrell was an early adopter. Now she’s developing a curriculum to teach it in every nursing school in the United States. Her pioneering efforts were recognized by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, which named her one of 30 Visionaries in the field.
Trisha Prabhu — Prodigy
Upset by the effects of cyberbullying, this high school student developed at the age of 13 a smartphone app, ReThink, to help teens pause — and maybe stop — before they post mean thoughts online. It works more than 90 percent of the time. Since it went live, Prabhu’s given TED talks and presented it at both the Google and White House Science Fairs.
“For each of the last 10 years we’ve been sharing our Health Heroes’ stories and spotlighting their accomplishments in the pages of WebMD Magazine, on our site, and for the last three years hosting this event,” said WebMD CEO, Steve Zatz.
“The concept of Health Heroes is one that’s both simple and yet quite profound. It is built on the premise that all of us—whatever our background—can take our stories, our concerns, our passions, and our personal strengths and use them to improve the lives of others,” Robin Roberts, host of WebMD Health Heroes.
“But seriously though, thank you so very much for this award. We started Hilarity for Charity 5 years ago to honor my mom who is my hero,” said Lauren Miller Rogen (winner, alongside Seth Rogen, of the 2016 WebMD People’s Choice Award).
The event featured live appearances by David Krumholtz, Maureen McCormick, Adam Savage, and Sarah Wynter, as well as a message from Sonequa Martin-Green. Attendees at the annual gala were treated to inspired musical performances from Naturally 7, who opened the show with a cappella performances of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” and GRAMMY winners A Great Big World, who performed hits including “This is the New Year,” “Won’t Stop Running” and “Say Something.” At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, The Dolls unleashed their unique blend of DJing and live string accompaniment on the crowd.
Each WebMD Health Hero received a $10,000 donation from WebMD to the charitable cause of his or her choice and will be featured in the November/December issue of WebMD Magazine. This year’s WebMD Health Hero Awards Gala was presented by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (cancercenter.com).