News Release

Donna E. Shalala Honored With Nelson Mandela Award For Health And Human Rights

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala was awarded the 2010 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights last night at a ceremony and dinner at Blair House hosted by current U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the Kaiser Family Foundation honoring her retirement from the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Former Secretary Shalala, who serves as president of the University of Miami, was recognized for dedication to advancing access to health care 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 health care 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 Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman.

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.  Secretary 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 Mr. Mandela.

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible analysis and information on health issues

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.