Children’s HealthWatch 25th Anniversary: 1998-2023

Celebrating 25 Years: Transforming Policy through Child & Family-Centered Research

As we celebrate our 25th year in advocating for children and families, help support our next 25 years of contributing timely, policy-relevant research through innovation to continue to respond, react and share information ever more quickly and effectively in these fast-changing times by democratizing data: We will regularly share a series of Children’s HealthWatch Data Snapshots to rapidly demonstrate families’ challenges and the opportunities we have to make change happen. Our Children’s HealthWatch Data Snapshots will empower you, alongside policymakers, advocates, and families themselves to join us on this journey and advance Children’s HealthWatch research as a tool to transform policy and improve the health and development of our future.

Children’s HealthWatch relies on you. We appreciate any and all donations that allow us to continue supporting and advocating for families across the country.

Take a look at the recipients of our 2023 Children’s HealthWatch Champion and inaugural Marilyn Meyerhoff Equity Awards — two extraordinary people who uphold the health and well-being of children and families through courage, tenacity and compassion.

Children’s HealthWatch Champion: Senator Bob Casey, Jr.

Recipient of the 2023 Children’s HealthWatch Champion Award

Children’s HealthWatch has announced that it is celebrating Senator Bob Casey Jr. as its 2023 Champion. This annual award is presented to “a champion who advocates for evidence-based policies that help children thrive.” He was presented the award at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on October 17, 2023 at the Artists for Humanity Epicenter in South Boston.

“Throughout his career, Senator Casey has adamantly believed that all children deserve a strong, healthy start in life,” said Dr. Ettinger de Cuba, Executive Director of Children’s HealthWatch. “His longtime leadership and commitment to advancing policies that promote economic security and access to evidence-based supports has uplifted families across Pennsylvania and the entire country,” Ettinger de Cuba continued.

Senator Casey, who represents Pennsylvania, has served in Congress since 2007 where he has been a staunch advocate for children and families. The Senator has championed legislation to expand access to health care, child care, child nutrition, and family tax credits. His Five Freedoms for America’s Children has served as a blueprint for evidence-driven policies that ensure all children in the United States have the opportunity to thrive. Children’s HealthWatch has worked closely with Senator Casey throughout his tenure in Congress, including in partnership with the Witnesses to Hunger project.

“We share Senator Casey’s dedication to fight against inequity,” says Dr. Ettinger de Cuba. “We are honored to stand with him in advocating for evidence-based policies that build economic stability and promote health for every child and every family, and we appreciate his efforts in tying public policies to research as a way to illuminate their impacts on health and wellbeing.”

Past recipients of this award include U.S. Congressman James McGovern (D-MA 2nd District), Diane Yentel, Executive Director of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA 7th District), U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District), and Reverend Doctors William Barber II and Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Marilyn Meyerhoff Equity Award: Karen Sweet

Recipient of the 2023 Marilyn Meyerhoff Equity Award

Children’s HealthWatch is excited to announce Karen Sweet as the inaugural recipient of the Marilyn Meyerhoff Equity Award. Named after the late Marilyn Meyerhoff, a longtime benefactor and sponsor of Children’s HealthWatch equity-focused events, this annual award is given to “a passionate advocate committed to achieving equity for all children and their families.” She will be presented the award at the organization’s 25th Anniversary.

“Karen Sweet has exemplified her dedication to equity in her work with Children’s HealthWatch on the Advisory Board, in her Board leadership role as Advancement Chair, as well as in her work outside of our organization,” Children’s HealthWatch Executive Director, Dr. Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, states.

During the mid-80’s, Ms. Sweet headed a grass-roots lobbying committee for the organization Resolve, and she was instrumental in the passage of state health care legislation that requires insurers to cover the cost of infertility treatments, just as they do other pregnancy-related procedures. In 1985, Ms. Sweet began a long relationship with the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, starting as a fund-raising volunteer and remaining a member of the committee for the annual fundraising event, “Food for Thought.”

In 2001, Karen earned her Massachusetts educator licensure and began teaching French and Spanish at both the primary and secondary level. She taught both languages in special education programs in the Newton high schools. Ms. Sweet joined the advisory board of Children’s HealthWatch in 2015. She became the Advancement Chair in 2018. In these roles, she has helped Children’s HealthWatch to expand its audience reach and to secure funds for deep organizational work to center equity in operations, research and policy.

The Marilyn Meyerhoff Equity Award is named after Ms. Sweet’s late mother, who, along with her partner, Sam Feldman, was a longtime supporter of Children’s HealthWatch and our Equity Series. Since 2020, Children’s HealthWatch has produced a yearly series of webinars shedding light on how racism and inequities erode the future of our children, and how public policies must, and can be changed, so that all children may thrive and have a real chance for healthy, fulfilled lives. This year’s Equity Series is a three episode podcast series, titled Pathways to Equity. The Equity Series would not be possible without Marilyn Meyerhoff’s generous support and passion for advancing equity.

“We feel honored to have such a close relationship with an advocate as passionate as Ms. Sweet,” says Dr. Ettinger de Cuba. “She is a tireless champion of our mission to achieve health equity for young children and their families.”

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