ISB News

Dr. Lee Hood Receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Dr. Lee Hood received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 7 from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO).

The official press release from NECO is pasted below:


NECO Presents The 30th Annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor

Dr. Leroy Hood, President of the Institute for Systems Biology and Chief Science Officer, Providence Health & Services Among the Outstanding Americans who received the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

[NEW YORK, NY] – Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, President of the Institute for Systems Biology and Chief Science Officer, Providence Health & Services was among the 90 outstanding Americans who received the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) on Saturday, May 7.

This year marks the Ellis Island Medal of Honor’s 30th Anniversary. The ceremony featured a significant military presence and patriotic performers as well as notable speakers, and was followed by a black-tie gala dinner in Ellis Island’s historic Great Hall.

A pillar in the biotechnology field, Dr. Hood has played a role in founding 15 biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Integrated Diagnostics and Arivale, and led the development of five instruments that laid the foundation for contemporary molecular biology—the automated DNA Sequencer, DNA synthesizer, protein sequencer, protein synthesizer, and the ink-jet printer for constructing DNA arrays. These instruments opened the door to high-throughput biological data and the era of big data in biology and medicine.  He also helped pioneer the Human Genome Project — making it possible with the automated DNA Sequencer, and is one of only 15 individuals elected to all three National Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Hood has made discoveries in the fields of immunology, neurobiology and biotechnology and in 2000, Dr. Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology. In the years since ISB’s founding, he has pioneered systems biology and medicine — and their applications to cancer, neurodegenerative and other diseases — as well as their foundational role in P4 medicine and the emerging industry of scientific wellness. Dr. Hood has published 750 papers, received 36 patents, and 17 honorary degrees.

“I am pleased to accept the Ellis Island Medal of Honor,” said Dr. Hood. “Ellis Island is an icon of immigration and inclusion. It reminds us that we are a nation based on diversity, unity and aspirations for a better tomorrow. My dream is that we can bring scientific wellness to healthcare — and over time, democratize the possibility of good healthcare for both the rich and poor nations of the world. I greatly appreciate the principles symbolized by the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and I am honored to be a part of this community united by NECO.”

NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor which are presented annually to American citizens, both native born and naturalized, who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life. The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. The Medal recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.  Since the Medal was founded in 1986, we have honored such distinguished and diverse Americans including: six Presidents of the United States; Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Hon. Hillary Clinton, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Rosa Parks, Yue-Sai Kan, Mike Wallace and Mia Farrow, all who have distinguished themselves through their significant contributions to this country.

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations – NECO- was created on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great.  Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups. Additionally, NECO continues its commitment to the restoration and maintenance of Ellis Island, a living tribute to the courage and hope of all immigrants.

Chairman of NECO Nasser J. Kazeminy stated, “Today, there is so much negative rhetoric about immigration. We forget that the great majority of our citizens celebrate a second heritage in addition to being Americans. I believe that anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America must also take on the responsibilities of citizenship. Those responsibilities include being informed, being engaged and voting for our leaders. This is the small price we pay for such enormous freedom. When we talk about immigration, let’s not forget the men and women who we have honored who are highly-skilled workers, college graduates, and entrepreneurs and who contribute so much to our society and our economy. America is a nation of immigrants and it is what makes us great.”

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.

A complete list of Medal recipients can be found on our website,
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