Heinz Awards honor best work on global, social issues

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The Heinz Awards today honored five individuals who will share prize money totaling $1.25 million for the innovative work they are doing to address global and social issues.

The awards were established by the Heinz Family Foundation and Teresa Heinz Kerry to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Sen. John Heinz, who died in 1991.

This year’s recipients, according to category, are:

• Arts and humanities: Abraham Verghese, a medical doctor and author based at Stanford University whose best-selling fiction and non-fiction books focus on his belief that healing must go beyond medical diagnosis and scientific treatments to address patients’ emotions and vulnerabilities.

• Environment: Jonathan Foley, professor and director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, where he has conducted research on the global environment and how to improve the efficiency of food production.

• Human condition: Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy in Mountain View, Calif., a nonprofit educational organization that produces videos and software to allow students to learn skills at their own pace.

• Public policy: Sanjeev Arora, a medical doctor based in Albuquerque who specializes in liver disease at the University of New Mexico, and who created a model to expand primary care clinicians’ ability to manage complex medical conditions including hepatitis C and the HIV virus.

• Technology, the economy and employment: Leila Janah, an entrepreneur based in San Francisco who founded Samasource, a nonprofit that provides Internet-based training for workers in poor and developing nations; and SamaUSA which trains low-income workers at community colleges in the U.S.

Each winner will receive $250,000 and a medallion at a ceremony to be held in Pittsburgh on April 3.

Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.

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