Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Northwest Association of Biomedical Research Annual Dinner
May 11, 2004
Good evening. I am honored to be here. It is humbling to be in the presence of so many who are doing so much good for us in the Pacific Northwest and indeed around the world.
Biomedical research offers hope and life to the dying, the ill and the suffering—and to all of us. Biomedical research is the foundation of modern medical progress and mass improvements in public health.
Consider the world without this vital research and the countless medical advances it has spawned. Thousands of children and adults would die this year of polio. Most of America’s one million insulin-dependent diabetics would die. Without high blood pressure medication, some 60 million Americans would risk death from heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. There would be no cataracts surgery to save vision, or kidney dialysis to save lives. Smallpox would still be an unchecked killer. We would not know what the HIV virus is—and there would be nothing available to control the progression of AIDS.
We all know somebody who is alive today thanks to biomedical research. And most of us will enjoy longer, healthier, more active lives thanks to biomedical research—some of it still in progress or yet to come!
Your work is important—and inspiring. You give the gifts of life and health. And I want to personally thank each and every researcher and educator here this evening.
I also want to congratulate the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research for its tireless efforts in promoting public understanding of research in the life sciences.
Not just in my capacity as governor, but as the son of a woman with Parkinson’s. I can’t imagine her quality of life without many drugs that have been discovered lately but I am especially thankful for biomedical research that developed deep brain stimulation that has almost reversed some of the disability effects and progressing effects of Parkinson’s.
So thanks again to all those engaged in biomedical research and in educating the public about the need for benefits of such research.
The Association is also helping to secure Washington’s economic future as a leading international center of biotechnology. We are witnessing the development of whole new industries built around the life sciences.
Issues of health and humanity know no boundaries. The Association’s collaborative efforts now extend across state lines to encompass both our state and Oregon. The Association is poised to expand its education of the public throughout the Northwest which brings me to another honor I have tonight – recognizing an outstanding science educator.
The Outstanding Partner in Education Award honors an educator who is dedicated to communicating with students about the process of biomedical research. An educator who has also collaborated with the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research in developing quality education programs and materials that integrate science and bioethics.
And it’s my privilege to introduce this year’s recipient of the NWABR “Outstanding Partner in Education” Award.
Debbie Alan. Debbie comes from a long line of educators. Her great grandfather founded a K-12 school in Edmonton. Debbie grew up hearing stories about him, and this influenced her at an early age.
Debbie was also profoundly influenced by her parents. They taught her that education was the most important priority. Her father was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington for many years, teaching pathology. Debbie actually had the opportunity to take one of his courses. His enthusiasm for teaching left quite an impression on her.
Debbie received her undergraduate degree from the UW, majoring in Zoology with a Chemistry minor. After graduation, she reached an important turning point in her life. A friend of Debbie’s started an alternative school in the Seattle area. The school was for high school students who had fallen through the cracks in the system. The school needed a science teacher. The rest is history. Or, rather, science.
Debbie was hooked, and suddenly science became exciting and relevant to the students at that school. Debbie went on to earn her teaching certificate and was snapped up for her first “official” teaching job at Seattle Prep. That was 22 years ago.
Today, Debbie teaches in the Tri-Cities area, and serves on the faculty of WSU’s College of Teaching & Learning. She is a teacher of teachers.
And Debbie is now one of a select group of lead teachers working with the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research in developing a cutting edge curriculum for high school teachers on “ethical issues in science.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce and congratulate this year’s Outstanding Partner in Education, Ms. Debbie Alan . . . .