Health Leader of the Year for 2010 - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye

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A Senator Daniel K. Inouye has been named by the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Association as the 2010 Health Leader of the Year. This is a distinction that is conferred upon outstanding individuals who have provided significant leadership to the advancement of the health of the American people and that of the larger global community.

Senator Inouye has served as an inspiration to many of us in the uniformed services' health and medical programs. His steadfast and decades long support for innovation in health care services has been remarkable.

A Senator Daniel K. Inouye has been named by the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Association as the 2010 Health Leader of the Year. This is a distinction that is conferred upon outstanding individuals who have provided significant leadership to the advancement of the health of the American people and that of the larger global community.

In announcing the award, which was formally conferred on May 24th at the Public Health Service annual Public Health Service Scientific and Training Symposium, Commissioned Officers Association Executive Director, retired Navy Captain Gerard Farrell noted that "Senator Inouye's personal commitment to the enhancement of the health of all Americans has served as an inspiration for generations of Americans who have benefited from his leadership."

Association Awards Chairman, retired Public Health Service Captain William Haffner, Professor at the Uniformed Services University of The Health Sciences, commented that "Senator Inouye has served as an inspiration to many of us in the uniformed services' health and medical programs. His steadfast and decades long support for innovation in health care services has been remarkable."

Previous winners of the title of Health Care Leader of the Year have included Dr. C. Everett Koop, a former Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, and Dr James A. Zimble, a former Navy Surgeon General and long time President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Senator Inouye, the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, has throughout his remarkable career made his mark on America, serving as a respected legislator able to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact critical legislation including that related to the health care system of America and the heath care outreach of the United States Uniformed Services including the U. S. Public Health Service.

In January 1943, at the age of 18, he volunteered to serve in the United States Army. He was assigned to the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Japanese-American U.S. Army unit, and as a result of extraordinary service was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor.

Having witnessed the horrors of war first hand, Daniel Inouye has committed himself to doing everything within his power to prevent war and to enhance the health of the people of this nation and the world community. Throughout his legislative career, he has championed the health and medical programs of the uniformed services including the health care provided for Americans who serve in uniform as well as their dependents.

Native Hawaiians, American Indians, Alaska Natives, those suffering from Hanson's disease, children, those in need of mental health service and many families living in poorly served rural and isolated areas owe their enhanced health status directly to his foresight and dedication.

His promotion of equitable health care services for people in the "United States linked Pacific Island communities" permitted these disenfranchised groups of islanders to acquire basic health care services. His actions in that initiative helped lead to the creation of the federal legislation supporting the National Health Services Corps and the Community Health Centers Act.

His record of support for the health and medical programs for those who serve in the uniformed services - and their dependents - including the officers of the U.S. Public Health Service, has been a priority of his since he himself served with distinction in World War II.

Senator Inouye's continuing impact on enhancing the roles of many in the health professions including nurses and psychologists is less known but never the less critical in the increased success in serving the broad health needs of the nation.

So also has his leadership in the provision of adequate support for the research effort of our major health institutions including the military made the United States central to a continuing flow of new knowledge in the health field. The recent success in HIV/AIDS vaccine testing by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Thailand has benefited from the Senator's unflagging support for military research.

One of the Senator's most recent accomplishments has been his leadership for the Health Information Technology program. This effort is based on the Senator's commitment to the notion that proper health care can only be administered if health professionals have all of the up to date client information available immediately. This program seeks to improve health care quality, prevent medial errors, reduce unnecessary health care costs, decrease paperwork, expand access to affordable care and improve population health

Lesser known, but vital to the field of "Health Diplomacy," has been the Senator's impact on the health collaboration between the United States and the other nations of the world community. His overarching guidance for that process over his 50 plus years in the Congress of the United States has been central to the collaborative humanitarian and health related outreach effort of this nation - and effort which continues in Haiti today.

Thus, the Commissioned Officers Association of the United States Public Health Service is most pleased and proud to confer upon Senator Daniel K. Inouye the distinct recognition as the 2010 Health Leader of the Year.

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Gerard Farrell


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