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With Jim Streeter, Global VP, and Steve Rosenberg, SVP and General Manager of Health Sciences at Oracle

It was an honor to be invited to the Prix Galien Gala at the American Museum of Natural History as a guest of Oracle. The Prix Galien Awards are considered the equivalent of the Nobel prize and the highest accolade for pharmaceutical research and development. Needless to say, there was no shortage of brilliant minds in the room. Oracle provides the technology that allows many of these breakthrough studies to run.

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During the reception, I was excited to run into my friends from Abbott (formerly Thoratec), the manufacturers of the LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) that kept me alive in the nine months I waited for a heart transplant. Abbott was nominated in the “Best Medical Technology” category. Here I am with Robert John, Divisional VP for Abbott’s Heart Failure Division, and Troy Patterson, Area VP.

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With Bengt Samuelsson, Karin Samuelsson, and Leif Pagrotsky.

I also had the chance to reconnect with Leif Pagrostsky, the Consul General of Sweden. He was there with PR Bengt Samuelsson, MD, PHD, Chairman of the Nobel Foundation. Mr. Samuelsson won the Nobel for Physiology/Medicine in 1982 (the first Nobel Laureate I’ve met!) and was on the selection committee that decides the award winners. He was there with his lovely wife Karin.

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With Jason Carter

I later met Jason Carter, grandson of Former President Jimmy Carter, who was accepting an award on behalf of his grandfather and the humanitarian efforts of the Carter Center. They’ve made incredible strides in their mission to support human rights and alleviate human suffering. They’ve made an impact in over 80 countries, providing unprecedented access to vaccines and support for mental health.

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Sitting beneath the giant whale I used to visit on school trips, I thought about the people in that room – the countless hours of research and development that goes into bringing a medical device or a medication to market. Not everyone has the chance to be recognized, but I believe we can learn as much from our failures as we can our successes. Every bit of research is a new learning, and a step towards breakthroughs that have helped save my life and the many who so desperately need it.