DIA’s Inspire Awards have grown every year that Barbara Lopez Kunz, global chief executive for DIA, has been with the organization. Kunz, who has been with DIA since 2013, notes it has become the place to be for attendees travelling to the annual meeting.
DIA, founded as the Drug Information Association, has been presenting the awards for the past six years. According to Kunz, the awards have always attempted to honor those who have dedicated themselves to the mission of DIA while also advancing global health. All past honorees have made a significant difference in the lives of patients around the world.
“We have worked hard over the years to improve and refine these awards,” says Kunz. “We wanted the criteria for winning an award to be very clear, we wanted them to be global and open to individuals from any country, we wanted them to be visible, and we wanted them to be highly sought after. We felt the awards deserved a level of prestige and accomplishment where anyone would feel proud to win. Looking at the work we have done over the years, I feel we have accomplished all of those goals.”
DIA has also strived to make the awards very selective by ensuring there are a small number of them handed out. Many individuals across the globe contribute to the success of DIA and the life sciences industry on a daily basis. But the overriding goal of the Inspire awards is to honor those few individuals who truly distinguished themselves as industry leaders. This year, for example, the awards will honor just five outstanding individuals.
“DIA members are exceptional leaders who exemplify the forward thinking our industry needs to advance global health,” says Kunz. “Each year we have the distinct honor to recognize the people and organizations working relentlessly to improve health around the world. We pour through a lot of data and we have a team that spends more than five months determining who the winners should be. DIA has always focused on thought leadership, global collaboration, and multi-disciplinary activities as pillars of the organization, and the awards follow that theme.”
The following are the recipients of the 2019 Global Inspire Awards:
Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Global Health
This award is presented for significant and innovative contributions toward advancing global health. The 2019 winner is The Global Fund. The Global Fund is a partnership that mobilizes and invests nearly $4 billion per year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need. The goal of the Partnership is to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics.
“The organization was founded in 2004 and will work with governments, the private sector, and individuals impacted by these diseases,” says Kunz. “DIA has always been focused on patient engagement and inclusion, and we commend The Global Fund for bringing patients into the conversation early to insure any new therapies or treatments have taken their voice into account.”
Excellence in Service Award
This award is presented to the “member of the year” who has consistently provided outstanding service as a DIA volunteer and contributed to the advancement of the organizations mission. This year the winner is Jingsong Wang, CEO of Harbour Biomed.
“There are individuals who have volunteered their time to DIA for decades, and that time is in addition to working their regular jobs,” says Kunz. “Many will spend their evenings and weekends volunteering for the organization and supporting DIA on many different levels. Dr. Wang has been involved with DIA for many years and helped to establish a thought-leadership event in China known as the Drug Discovery Innovation Conference. The event has help to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit ecosystem in China. Dr. Wang has also been involved as an expert contributor to the DIA Annual Meetings and chaired the Annual Meeting in China.”
Wang has also been involved with the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and the National Science Foundation in China.
Global Connector Award
This award is presented for meritorious service through a leadership role that has advanced the mission of DIA and promoted global collaboration. This year the award recipient is Deborah Chee, president, Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials (KoNECT).
“Some folks really strive to reach outside their comfort zone and try to promote collaboration globally,” says Kunz. “That can be a very difficult thing to do. Deborah works with the Korean Ministry of Health and the regulatory community. KoNECT has been working very hard to improve the clinical trial infrastructure. Today, Korea has a very significant concentration of clinical trials and much of that is the result of the work taking place across borders which has been driven by Deborah.”
Community Engagement Award
This award is presented to the DIA community chair (or chairs) for consistently driving engagement while advancing knowledge and thought leadership within their membership community. This year the award is presented to Robert Paarlberg, principal at Paarlberg & Associates LLC, and Francine Lane, VP, Global Transparency, at TrialScope.
“This is the newest award that our board has added to our awards ceremony,” states Kunz. “DIA members engage our organization via a virtual platform that we call the DIA Communities, each focused on a different area of science or policy. There are 25 of these communities led by volunteers and designed to garner collaboration amongst members. Our members find this platform to be one of the greatest benefits of being a DIA member.”
The communities generate a lot of content for DIA and are very active at the Annual Meeting. The regulatory affairs community has been one of the most active. Paarlberg was chair of that community and helped to drive a lot of its following and momentum. That baton was recently handed over to Lane, who is the new chair of the community.
Author of the Year
The last award is for author of the year, and this honor goes to the author or group of authors whose article made the greatest impact on readership, as determined by the most downloads in the preceding issue year for DIA’s peer-reviewed journal, Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science. This year’s winner is Nancy Dreyer, CSO of Real-World and Analytic Solutions at IQVIA.
“Nancy is an expert on real-world evidence (RWE),” says Kunz. “She authored a publication titled Advancing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence When Real is Reliable. It was published in March 2018 and it has since reached over 4,500 downloads.”
The Inspire Awards will be presented on June 24, 2019 at the DIA Annual Meeting in San Diego. For more information on the Inspire Awards please contact Heej.Ko@DIAglobal.org.