2019 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards

The 14th World Stem Cell Summit will feature a Awards Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida on January 23, 2019


For 14 years, the nonprofit organization Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) has celebrated the stem cell and regenerative medicine community’s top innovators, leaders, and champions. The honorees will be recognized at a gala reception and dinner during the upcoming 14th annual World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS) at the Hyatt Regency Miami in Miami, Florida, which takes place from January 22-25, 2019.

This year’s Action Award honorees includes global leaders in advancing the emerging field of regenerative medicine. All of these distinguished honorees will be recognized for their devotion to improving health and developing cures by accelerating stem cell and regenerative medicine.

The 2019 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Award Honorees:


Inspiration Award: Doug Oliver, MSW

Doug Oliver is an incredible patient advocate and change maker. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Mr. Oliver has had an extensive career in medical social work, health care regulatory compliance consulting, grant writing, program development, gerontology, and therapeutic case advocacy. At age 32, Mr. Oliver was diagnosed with macular degeneration, a disease that attacks the retina, causing blindness. He became legally blind at age 45. In 2015, after undergoing autologous bone-marrow stem cell therapy in both eyes, he regained much of his lost vision. His story reached millions of people, and this led to his advocacy in Washington D.C. to help craft key patient provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act. As a result of the Cures Act passing with record bipartisan support in December of 2016, millions of patients will soon have cellular therapies, like the one that he received, available to them. He created The Regenerative Outcomes Foundation to continue his advocacy. His passion, combined with his effective leadership as a patient advocate have advanced U.S. policy and will lead to new treatments and cures. Learn more at https://www.regenerativeoutcomes.org/.


International Advocacy Award: Desirée Cox, MD, PhD

Dr. Desirée Cox (www.desireecox.com) was born in The Bahamas and has spent her career in The Bahamas, North America and UK building bridges to advance healthcare. Her vast experience includes clinical medicine, academia, research and development, regulatory sciences, design and consultant to biotech companies, governments and major pharmaceutical companies. Educated at McGill University, Oxford University and Cambridge University, she is a Rhodes scholar, medical doctor, creative artist, inventor, and global thought leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine. Dr. Cox is rigorous in promoting safety, equity, diversity and inclusion in healthcare. As the founder of The HEALinc and the HEALinc Future Health Innovation Summit (http://www.healincfuturehealthsummit.com) she is creating new knowledge and advancing innovation in The Caribbean, Latin American region of The Americas. Her work is advancing research in chronic non-communicable disease (cNCDs) affecting the Caribbean Region and Latin America. The HEALinc is making strides to help entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders from local, regional and diaspora communities access the resources they need to improve the health and well being of people in the Caribbean and the Americas. Learn more at http://www.thehealinc.com/.


International Diplomacy Award: Robin L Smith, MD MBA

Dr. Robin L. Smith is a global thought leader in regenerative medicine. As a doctor, former CEO and foundation leader, she is building bridges across sectors, culminating in the April 2018 Unite to Cure event at the Vatican. Her international non-profit Cura Foundation launched the global health movement Unite To Cure, which builds bridges between doctors, health systems, patients, business leaders, regulators, investors, politicians, philanthropists, and leaders of faith to collaborate and speed the development of cures, impact human health and save lives. Pope Francis personally participated in this event, which was moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Oz, Meredith Vieira and Dr. Max Gomez; and featured an array of international celebrities, political leaders and patients. Attendees included Dr. Francis Collins, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Katy Perry, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Peter Gabriel, and over 300 of the world’s leading doctors, scientists, philanthropists, ministers of health, ethicists and thought leaders from countless industries. Dr. Smith received her MD from the Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. She has co-authored two books: Cells Are the New Cure (2017) and The Healing Cell: How the Greatest Revolution in Medical History Is Changing Your Life (2013). She has received many awards and recognition for her work and serves in executive and board level capacities for medical enterprises and healthcare entities. As a business leader, entrepreneur, doctor and philanthropist, Dr. Smith is uniquely positioned to advance the global healthcare industry. Learn more at https://thecurafoundation.org.


International Achievement Award: Lu Daopei Medical Group

Lu Daopei Medical Group is a top hospital group in China, specializing in hematology, including blood disorders like leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphomas, immune deficiency disorders, bone marrow-/cord blood-derived hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular immunotherapy (such as CAR-T, NK, DC, CIK). Founded by Professor Daopei Lu, the hospital group is building bridges with many international collaborations and partnerships. The Lu Daopei Medical Group is the first Chinese organization to be honored with a Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Award. The growing  Lu Daopei Medical Group consists of Beijing Lu Daopei Hospital, Hebei Yanda Lu Daopei Hospital, Shanghai Lu Daopei Hospital, Wuhan Biolake Hebei Provincial Stem Cell Bank, Beijing Lu Daopei Hematology Research Institute and Tsinghua University School of Medicine for hematology and hematologic malignancies. Professor Lu’s prolific career is a triumph of firsts and major milestones. In his early years, in the 1960s, he successfully completed the first syngeneic bone marrow transplantation in Asia. Throughout the years, he completed the first allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and the first major ABO-incompatible bone marrow transplantation in China, proved that arsenic sulfide has a significant effect on some leukemias, established the Chinese cord blood bank and completed the first allogeneic umbilical cord blood transplantation in China. As a researcher, editor and writer, his career led to the publication of over 400 papers and books. Professor Lu is a true healthcare hero, and his legacy is strengthened by the impressive work of the Lu Daopei Medical Group. It is highly significant that the Lu Daopei Medical Group represents the first Chinese organization to be honored with a Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Award.  Their progress in advancing cancer treatments represent an ambitious and philanthropic mission equivalent to the “Cancer Moonshot Initiative” in the United States, for which former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were honored by RMF in 2018. Learn more at http://www.ludaopei.com.


Leadership Award: The International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory

The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is enabling a new era of research in space aimed at improving life on Earth. As a platform in space for education and research in the life and physical sciences, remote sensing, and technology development, the ISS National Lab seeks to accelerate innovation and discovery to benefit humanity. This year’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Leadership honoree is launching a mission to the future though extraordinary research conducted while orbiting Earth. The ISS National Lab is advancing stem cell and regenerative medicine research through grants such as Impact of Microgravity on Fundamental Stem Cell Properties and Microphysiological Systems for Organs-on-Chips Research. In the past two years, ISS National Lab has made major investments in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health to support research into human physiology and treating disease. The first flight project of this new collaboration called “Microgravity as a Model for Immunological Senescence and its Impact on Tissue Stem Cells and Regeneration,” launched on SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply mission to the station. Also in 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) partnered with the ISS National Lab to issue new grants in the area of tissue engineering. The entire Regenerative Medicine community benefits as we learn how living cells behave in microgravity, advancing our understanding of basic cell biology. Learn more at http://ISSNationalLab.org.


About the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF)

The nonprofit Regenerative Medicine Foundation fosters strategic collaborations to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine to improve health and deliver cures. RMF pursues its mission by producing its flagship World Stem Cell Summit; honoring leaders through the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards; publishing The World Stem Report with our journal partner, Stem Cells Translational Medicine; and promoting policy and educational initiatives. For further information about RMF please visit: http://regmedfoundation.org/

About the World Stem Cell Summit

Produced by the nonprofit Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) for 14 years, the World Stem Cell Summit 2019 is co-located with Phacilitate Leaders World. It is the most inclusive and expansive interdisciplinary, networking, and partnering meeting in the stem cell science and regenerative medicine field. With the overarching purpose of fostering biomedical research, funding, and investments targeting cures, the Summit is the single conference serving the diverse ecosystem of regenerative medicine stakeholders.


Past Honorees

2018 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2018 honorees)

  • Advocacy Award: Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
  • Leadership Award: Dr. W. E. “Ed” Bosarge
  • Leadership Award: Norio Nakatsuji
  • Advocacy Award: Shelley Ross and the Cure Alliance
  • Advocacy Award:Adrienne Bell-Cors Shapiro

2016 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2016 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Bernie Marcus
  • Leadership Award: Don Soffer
  • Advocacy Award: Camillo Ricordi, M.D
  • Inspiration Award: Sandy Barker and The Gold Rush Cure Foundation

2015 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2015 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Robert M. Nerem, PhD
  • Education Award: Ann Murphy, PhD
  • Advocacy Award: Tory Williams & the Alabama Institute of Medicine
  • Advocacy Award: Jeanne Loring, PhD
  • Inspiration Award: CURE Cerebral palsy (CB)

2014 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards

(Click here to read about 2014 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Henry Cisneros
  • Hero Award: William R. Brinkley
  • International Leadership: Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (JSRM)
  • Education Award: Texans for Stem Cell Research
  • Advocacy Award: Mostyn Foundation
  • Inspiration Award: Huntington’s Disease (HD) Advocacy Community

2013 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2013 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Denny Sanford
  • Leadership Award: Malin Burnham
  • National Advocacy Award: Dr. Paul Knoepfler
  • Education Award: Mary Ann Liebert
  • Inspiration Award: Roman Reed

2012 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards

(Click here to read about 2012 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Susan Solomon
  • Media Integrity Award:60 Minutes
  • National Advocacy Award: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine
  • Public Outreach & Education Award: Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures
  • Inspiration Award: Sabrina Cohen


2011 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2011 honorees)

  • Leadership Award: Sherry Lansing
  • National Advocacy Award: Research!America
  • Education Award: Let’s Talk Science
  • Public Advocacy Award: University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute
  • Inspiration Award: Grant Albrecht

2010 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards
(Click here to read about 2010 honorees)

  • National Leadership Award: Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
  • National Advocacy Award: A. Alfred Taubman
  • Education Award: Canadian Stem Cell Network
  • Grassroots Advocacy Award: Stephen Byer, Barbara Byer and ALS WORLDWIDE
  • Inspiration Award: Laura Jackson

2009 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards

  • National Leadership Award: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
  • International Advocacy Award: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF)
  • Education Award: Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research & Cures (MCSCRC)
  • Grassroots Advocacy Award: Cure Michigan
  • Inspiration Award: Margaret Conn
  • Inspiration Award: John L. Kellermann, III

2008 Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards

  • National Leadership Award:Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle
  • National Advocacy Award: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
  • Education Award: National Association of Biology Teachers
  • Inspiration Award: Brooke Ellison
  • Grassroots Advocacy: Ben Kaplan


  • Michael J. Fox
  • Parkinson’s Action Network
  • Dr. Ralph Dittman
  • Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures


  • Bob Klein
  • Hadassah
  • Don Reed
  • Student Society for Stem Cell Research
  • Luca Coscioni Association


  • Danny Heumann
  • Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research
  • Texans for Advancement of Medical Research