Judy Wilkenfeld Award for Tobacco Control Excellence
2012 Awardee: Veronica Schoj, MD (Argentina)
Dr. Veronica Schoj is Executive Director of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation Argentina (FIC Argentina) and past coordinator of the Argentina Smoke-free Alliance (ALIAR).
Dr. Schoj led the coalition of civil society groups that successfully advocated for passage of Argentina's National Tobacco Control Law. After 40 years of tobacco industry interference which led to the defeat of every tobacco control bill introduced in the National Congress, the law was enacted in July 2011. The law mandates 100 percent smoke-free public places, pictorial warning labels and a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising. In advocating for the law, Dr. Schoj lobbied lawmakers, mobilized the ALIAR network and developed a strategic media advocacy campaign.
A practicing physician for most of her career, Dr. Schoj conducted research on the effectiveness of tobacco control policies and on clinical and educational interventions in tobacco control. In 2001, Dr. Schoj joined Argentina's National Tobacco Control Program, enabling her to learn about government policy-making and become an effective advocate for tobacco control.
In 2008, after leaving the government, Dr. Schoj launched FIC Argentina, a non-governmental organization that draws together professionals from a variety of fields to educate policy makers about tobacco harms. That same year, she helped found ALIAR, a coalition that today comprises more than 100 NGOs throughout Argentina. When ALIAR was founded, only three provinces had smoke-free laws. As a result of the capacity-building activities, technical assistance and guidance provided by Dr. Schoj and her colleagues, nine more provinces and more than 40 municipalities had 100 percent smoke-free laws by mid-2011.
Dr. Schoj is credited by her colleagues with building a national movement in Argentina. They praise her respect for the diversity of voices across the country and her commitment to capacity-building at regional and local levels. In addition, Dr. Schoj's colleagues credit her remarkable interpersonal skills with enabling her to effectively advocate for tobacco control, mentor talented people to share her interdisciplinary approach to advocacy and foster a spirit of teamwork that transformed tobacco control in Argentina.
2011 Awardee: E. Ulysses "Yul" Dorotheo (Philippines)
Dr. Dorotheo is a neuro-ophthalmologist, who has been a tobacco control advocate for over ten years. Beginning as a volunteer and after co-founding the FCTC Alliance, Philippines (FCAP), he actively participated as a non-governmental observer in the early negotiations for the FCTC. In 2006, he joined the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) as its FCTC Program Manager and the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) as its Regional Coordinator for ASEAN and the Western Pacific, roles he jointly performed till 2009.
Since 2010, he has been project director for SEATCA’s Southeast Asia Initiative on Tobacco Tax, a five-year project aimed primarily at raising tobacco taxes and prices in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
From his early campaigning days Yul saw the need to approach tobacco control with a comprehensive approach, grounded in the FCTC and this approach has brought him to work collaboratively with NGOs, governments and international agencies and advocates. He reached out to many people from diverse backgrounds starting with the Philippines first, then internationally through the FCTC negotiations. Yul is an advocate who truly has national, regional and international reach.
The 2011 award was presented at our Youth Advocates of the Year Awards Gala on May 18, 2011, in Washington, DC.
Watch Dr. Dorotheo's speech:
2010 Awardee: Natalya Toropova (Ukraine)
2010 Judy Wilkenfeld Award recipient Natalya Toropova (center) with Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matt Myers and 2009 Wilkenfeld Award recipient Rachel Kitonyo
Natalya Toropova serves as director of the Life Regional Advocacy Center, a non-governmental organization she co-founded in 2009 to serve as a focal point for tobacco control policy in Ukraine and a resource center for tobacco control advocacy in Eastern Europe. Since 2007, Natalya has worked tirelessly to develop political strategies and lead campaigns to strengthen health warnings, increase tobacco taxes, expand smoke-free air protection and ban tobacco marketing in Ukraine.
Natalya played a major role in successful campaigns that resulted in a 40% increase in tobacco taxes in Ukraine in 2009, the adoption of a strong health warning law that will bring European Union-style pictorial and text warnings to tobacco products to the Ukraine, and a successful campaign to expand smoke-free air restrictions. Natalya's effectiveness in building coalitions was a major reason for the passage of these laws.
Natalya received the award at the Campaign's 14th Annual Youth Advocates of the Year Awards held May 12, 2010.
2009 Awardee: Rachel Kitonyo (Kenya)
Rachel Kitonyo of Kenya, our recipient in 2009, is one such exemplary advocate. Rachel established the Institute for Legislative Affairs (ILA) and currently serves as its Executive Director.
The ILA strengthened the stalled Kenyan tobacco control bill and successfully guided it through the Parliamentary approval process. In 2007 the bill became Kenya's Tobacco Control Act, giving Kenya one of the strongest tobacco-control laws in Africa.
Under her leadership in 2006, ILA became the host for KETCA, a new umbrella coalition for non-profit organizations working in tobacco control in Kenya. Rachel is also making a regional impact on African tobacco control. She has helped to draft a constitution for the newly-formed African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) and is currently serving as its chairperson.
2008 Awardee: Laura Salgado (Honduras)
Laura Salgado of Honduras, our inaugural recipient in 2008, is another outstanding activist. Already an accomplished tobacco-control advocate, Laura dramatically expanded her activity since receiving the Judy Wilkenfeld Award.
Most significantly, Laura worked closely on campaigns that improved compliance with the FCTC throughout Latin America, and that led three new countries to become parties to the Framework Convention in 2008: Nicaragua and Colombia in April, and Costa Rica in August.