National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) board member and Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) founder and president Dr. Antonio Giordano congratulates Dr. Anthony Fauci on his awarding of the Leonardo da Vinci Award for Leadership in Health and Science at this year’s NIAF Anniversary Gala, held virtually on October 31st, 2020.
“Dr. Fauci is being honored at this year’s gala in recognition of his profound contribution to the fight against this terrible, global pandemic,” Giordano says, “particularly in the face of so many unprecedented challenges. Dr. Fauci has been involved with NIAF since it’s founding, and he truly represents the excellence in scholarship and public service that the Italian-American community has proudly brought to this nation for many centuries,” Giordano concludes.
In his remarks upon accepting the award, Dr. Fauci commends NIAF for their long record of support for scientific research by Italians and Italian-Americans. He also signals optimism that one of the vaccines currently being tested will be shown to be effective, adding a very important tool in the fight against the global COVID pandemic, while stating plainly the need for vigilance in public health measures.
“There will be an end to this,” says Fauci, “we’re gonna get a vaccine and the vaccine is going to diminish the infection rate. That together with good public health measures,” he assures, “we will get back gradually to some form of normality, little by litte.”
Fauci goes on to say that, “Many states are starting to rebound now and that’s very dangerous as we go into the cooler months of the Fall…The threat and the risk of having a resurgance of cases is much, much greater.”
“So, we’ve really got to get our act together and start all across the board, uniformly, doing those public health measures of uniform wearing of masks, keep a physical distance, avoid crowds,” Fauci concludes.
NIAF also plans to honor Dr. Fauci with a scholarship in his name, to support the work of promising Italian and Italian-American researchers.
“The NIAF is pleased to also award the Fauci Scholarships, a $100,000 grant to be divided equally between an American and Italian post-doctoral research fellow,” says Joseph V. Del Raso, Chair Emeritus, Chair of NIAF Italia, and member of the Executive Management Committee.
Dr. Giordano will lead a peer reviewed selection process for the award of the grants.
“At SHRO, we have a proven record of successful collaborations among Italian and American scientists,” Giordano says. “I am honored to lead this effort as we cultivate excellence among the next generations of scientists to follow Dr. Fauci’s example.”
NIAF and SHRO also acknowledge American and Italian scientists working the front lines of the pandemic, and those working to develop a vaccine and therapeutic treatments.
“Now more than ever,” Del Raso says, “NIAF is honored to serve as a bridge between Italian and American cooperation, especially in these scientific and humanitarian causes.”
The NIAF, now in it’s 45th year, seeks to recognize Italian and Italian-American achievements in business, art, science, finance, music and medicine. Additional guests of this year’s virtual program include filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, actors John Turturro and Isabella Rossellini, former Major League Baseball star Mike Piazza, and legendary vocalist Tony Bennett.