The Providence Business News has chosen Dr. Annie De Groot as this year's receipient of the Overall Career Achievement Award.

From the nomination:

Dr. De Groot has a vision for Rhode Island; she sees our state as being the leader in biotechnology, an engine in the new knowledge economy, and a model for economic redevelopment to the rest of the country. This month, Dr. De Groot will receive an NIH grant for $13 million for vaccine and biotechnology research at the University of Rhode Island. This funds will be exclusively devoted to research and workforce development in Rhode Island, and will help drive the development of new technologies and skilled labor that will be critical to Rhode Island’s future as a science and technology leader. As an academic research facility, Dr. De Groot’s laboratory will expose students to real life challenges; they will create vaccines that are very relevant to Rhode Islanders, such as the flu vaccine, and extremely important on the world stage, such as vaccines for HIV/AIDS.

Dr. De Groot also leads a mayoral initiative to make Providence a hub for biotechnology, starting with the development of a biotechnology building in the Jewlery District. The building would host established biotech firms, as well as create shared space for research and teaching, and an incubator for promising entrepreneurs.

Gifted with vision and a rare ability to enlist others in her passion, Dr. De Groot recognizes and works on every level of community change. Her company, EpiVax, was originally founded with the goal of developing a world AIDS vaccine, the GAIA vaccine. Since 1998, her company has supported the GAIA Vaccine Foundation, a non-profit that operates an HIV/AIDS clinic in Mali, Africa. GAIA VF is working with health officials to address the AIDS epidemic in West Africa and prepare the country for a vaccine the moment one is discovered. She is also leading the effort to establish a free healthcare clinic in Olneyville, called Clinica Esperanza. Dr. De Groot knows that healthy people make vital contributions to the economy and our society. Barriers to primary care such as lack of insurance, language limitations or insufficient information about the health care system can keep many Rhode Islanders from having the opportunity to contribute to their communities.

By working on all of these fronts, Dr. De Groot demonstrates a deep understanding of how our world works, and how important it is that we all do our utmost to drive the change we wish to see.

For the full story in Providence Business News, see: