Foundation for the NIH Honors the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Jane Sayer, Ph.D., with the 4th Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award

NORTH BETHESDA, MD, September 18, 2019 — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has named the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and Jane Sayer, Ph.D., the recipients of the 2019 Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award. Now in its fourth year, this award recognizes persons and/or organizations that have made significant contributions to the FNIH’s work to build, implement and nurture public-private partnerships in support of the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The FNIH is bestowing the Partnership Award upon DDCF and Dr. Sayer for their longstanding support in advancing transformative NIH training and awards programs that empower future and current researchers, in addition to helping further the mission of the Foundation.

“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Dr. Jane Sayer are exemplary FNIH partners, whose generosity and vision have helped build and further essential programs on the NIH campus,” said Steven M. Paul, M.D., Chairman of the FNIH Board. “We are delighted to present this year’s Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award to them for their steadfast support of the FNIH and these programs for more than a decade.”

Since 2013, the DDCF has worked with the FNIH and NIH to help inspire and train the next generation of young researchers through support of the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). This state-of-the-art, year-long training program on the NIH campus offers medical, dental and veterinary students’ the unique opportunity to work closely with the world’s leading researchers in this formative stage of their careers. As part of their experience, scholars embark on a mentored, personalized training experience that matches their interests and career goals, while having access to some of the most advanced clinical research facilities in the world. Scholars also participate in workshops on leadership, entrepreneurship and drug development, in addition to clinical teaching rounds at the NIH Clinical Center. The DDCF’s support of the MRSP has enabled at least six additional scholars to participate in the program each year—nearly 50 scholars to date—empowering these young minds and building a critical pipeline of research leaders.

“We are proud to receive this award as a reflection of the success of our continuing partnership with FNIH to spark interest in research among medical students through a unique residential program at the NIH,” said Betsy Myers, Program Director for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We particularly appreciate this program’s commitment to recruiting women, students from groups underrepresented in medicine, and students from rural communities, and to strengthening the pipeline of physician scientists, whose clinical knowledge offers essential perspectives to scientific research.”

Dr. Sayer has dedicated her life to advancing the mission of the NIH. She worked throughout her career as a Research Chemist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and, in 2006, she established the Sayer Vision Research Fund at the FNIH in honor of her family and in memory of her parents, Winthrop and Laura Sayer. The Fund makes possible the Sayer Vision Research Lecture Series and the Sayer Vision Research Award, in partnership with the National Eye Institute (NEI) and helps further vision research. Specifically, the Lecture and Award series offers an opportunity for honorees to explore areas of interdisciplinary collaboration that may lead to advances in diverse medical specialties with relevance to vision research. Additionally, in 2019, Dr. Sayer made an unrestricted bequest to the FNIH that will be used as a leading gift of the FNIH Futures Fund. This significant legacy gift will support the FNIH’s first endowment and enable the Foundation to provide critical and timely support of emerging biomedical research and rapidly respond to health opportunities and crises.

“I am honored to receive the Charles A. Sanders Partnership Award. The FNIH allows me to continue supporting the National Institutes of Health after dedicating my career at NIDDK. The lecture and award at NEI are important to me for providing an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration and furthering innovative vision research,” says Dr. Jane Sayer.

The Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award, named for the former Chairman of the FNIH Board of Directors, will be presented at the annual FNIH Fall Board Dinner on October 23, 2019 in Bethesda, MD. For more information, please click here.


About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit

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