The Center for Lyme Action, a leading nonprofit dedicated to growing federal funding for Lyme disease research, honored Members of Congress and Administration officials who have demonstrated extraordinary support in the push to cure Lyme Disease – the most prevalent vector-borne illness and the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States, with over 400,000 new cases last year.

Among those honored at the group’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C. were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who received the Center for Lyme Action Lyme Champion Award, and Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, who was the dinner’s keynote speaker, and recipient of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Lyme Innovation Award.

Image/US Senate

“Lyme is a frustrating and debilitating disease, but it’s a problem we can solve,” said Bonnie Crater, co-founder of the Center for Lyme Action. “Our award recipients have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in finding a cure and we are honored to have them as long-term partners in this important fight.”

“Thanks to the knowledge and dedication of the Center for Lyme Action, Lyme disease is finally receiving the attention this growing health threat deserves,” said Senator Collins. “I am grateful for this recognition. With the national effort the Kay Hagan Tick Act sets into motion, including the allocation of additional federal resources, I am optimistic that we can better protect the health of more Americans. With the effective advocacy from the Center for Lyme Action, we will identify, control and knockout these devastating diseases.”

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“Fighting tick-borne disease, and in particular, Lyme disease, is a priority for the President and this Administration,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “HHS will be leading the charge in this effort, as we do on many serious infectious disease threats – especially around the innovations we need to combat such threats. We are grateful for the work that so many have done to illuminate this challenge and drive action to support and give hope to those struggling with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.”

Also receiving the Center for Lyme Action Lyme Champion Award were Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Lyme Innovation winners, presented and sponsored by Bay Area Lyme Foundation, were given to our dedicated public servants and private citizens who have innovated to advance collaboration and innovation in Lyme disease especially through the HHS Lyme Innovation Initiative. The winners were:

  • The Honorable Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary, HHS
  • Daniel Scavino Jr., Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy
  • Michael Kratsios, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and Deputy Assistant to the President
  • Mathew L. Lira, Assistant to the President for Innovation Policies and Initiatives
  • Edwin J. Simcox, Chief Technology Officer, HHS
  • Dr. Kristen T. Honey, Innovator in Residence and Lyme Innovation Founder
  • Alexandra Cohen, President and Co-founder of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation

The Lyme disease interviews

The Center for Lyme Action’s awards dinner builds on the momentum of The Kay Hagan Tick Act. Signed into law as part of the fiscal year 2020 Appropriations Bill, the Tick Act represents critical federal support for researchers and the broader medical community, along with the millions of patients with Lyme disease.

“The awards ceremony and dinner were all about thanking our supporters,” Crater said. “Now we have to get back to work – spending time meeting with Members of Congress to ensure Appropriators understand the gravity of Lyme Disease and the need to fully fund the Tick Act and grow research funding for Lyme.”

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