University of Miami president Donna E. Shalala received the 2010 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights during a recent ceremony and dinner at Blair House, hosted by U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The dinner honored Shalala’s retirement from the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Shalala, a former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, was recognized for dedication to advancing access to healthcare in the U.S., helping disadvantaged people around the world, and her special commitment to ending apartheid and developing democracy in South Africa.
“Whether it’s providing better healthcare to soldiers returning from two wars, or shaping the future of nursing here at home, or providing relief efforts in Haiti, or providing leadership on health reform, Donna Shalala has always been there when the people of our country and the world have needed her,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO.
Established in 1992 by the Kaiser Family Foundation at the behest of Nelson Mandela shortly after his release from 27 years of incarceration, the Mandela Award honors individuals for outstanding dedication to improving the health and life chances of disadvantaged populations in South Africa and internationally. Recipients are selected in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and with the approval of Mr. Mandela.
Secretary Shalala received the award from two former recipients of the Mandela Award — South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool, the 1998 award winner, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, the 1997 award winner.
Ambassador Rasool spoke of Dr. Shalala’s efforts in assisting South African exiles in the U.S. when she was serving as president of Hunter College and then the University of Wisconsin, and her association with the Kaiser Family Foundation’s work in South Africa as a trustee over the past nine years. The award was presented by Surgeon General Benjamin. Shalala is a 2008 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Recipients of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights are given a statuette bearing a likeness of Mandela.
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, CA, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible analysis and information on health issues.