ADAO 13th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference
“Where Knowledge and Action Unite”
April 7 – 9, 2017
Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel


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Posted on February 15, 2017  

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is proud to present a weekly series “Meet the Speakers and Honorees,” highlighting esteemed participants of our highly-anticipated 13th Annual International Asbestos Awareness & Prevention Conference!  The ADAO conference, which will take place on April 7-9, 2017 in Washington, DC, combines nearly 40 expert opinions, victims’ stories, and new technological advancements from across the globe into one united voice raising awareness about asbestos. ADAO is the only U.S. nonprofit that organizes annual conferences dedicated solely to preventing asbestos exposure and eliminating asbestos-caused diseases. Register Here Today!

Honorees: The Brazilian Association of People Exposed to Asbestos (ABREA); The Dioguardi Family; Dr. Raja Flores; Marie-Claude Jaurand, PhD; Quincy Jones; Jessica and Mike Mattmuller; Dr. Bruce Robinson; The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families; Senator Jon Tester


The Brazilian Association of People Exposed to Asbestos (ABREA) was started in São Paulo state in 1995 by workers from Eternit / Osasco and auto parts industry named thermoid. ABREA aims to give visibility for the asbestos problem, to carry through medical examinations in the exposed ones, to help the victims and families getting compensation, to inform to the population and the consumers about the risks of asbestos exposure and safer substitutes available, and to fight for a comprehensive asbestos ban in Brazil. ABREA is nowadays organized in 5 states of the Brazilian federation and represents thousands of victims in several class actions as well as acting as amicus curiae in several legal actions at the highest civil, constitutional and Labour Courts in the country. ABREA reached the status of a non profit, non governmental organization as well  as a public interest group in the 3 levels (national, state of São Paulo and in Osasco municipality).

The Dioguardi Family, after being faced with a death sentence when their patriarch David was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, sought information and advice to aid in their SuperDad’s battle.  After much research they soon realized that raising awareness and supporting organizations that do so, such as ADAO, was critical to prevention.  As part of their continued efforts, both personally and via their non-profit Mesothelioma Heroes Foundation, they have held two neighborhood awareness and fundraising events, participated in ADAO conferences and the Miles for Meso 5K and started a local Mesothelioma Support Group.  In conjunction with ADAO, they continue to educate others about their risks of exposure and work towards a complete ban of asbestos.

Dr. Raja Flores, Dr. Irving Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is a recognized leader in the field of thoracic surgery for his pioneering efforts in the treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Flores’ research interests include numerous past projects relating to the multimodality management of malignant pleural mesothelioma. He helped pioneer the use of intraoperative chemotherapy for mesothelioma, and led a multi-center trial designed to improve patient outcomes. He changed the surgical management of pleural mesothelioma cancer with a landmark study comparing extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication. An expert in his field, Dr. Flores has appeared on many national and local television news reports to discuss mesothelioma. With over 150 related publications to date, his energies and commitment to the plight of mesothelioma patients remains paramount.

Marie-Claude Jaurand, PhD, 2017 Dr. Irving Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is Director of Research at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM). She received a Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1981, at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). Dr. Jaurand formerly worked on the physico-chemical properties of asbestos fibres. She further developed alternative methods to animal experiments, especially using mesothelial cells, in order to investigate the mechanisms of action of asbestos on pleural cells. Her research mainly focused on genotoxicity. Later she moved to develop researches on the biology of human mesothelioma. She organised the First International Mesothelioma Conference where the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) was founded. From 1999-2002, she was the head of the E9909 INSERM team “Oncogenesis of Respiratory and Urogenital Tumours”, at the Paris XII University.  Dr Jaurand has written numerous book chapters, edited books and published over 200 research contributions. She organised several International Conferences on the In vitro effects of dusts. She participated to and is currently involved in several advisory panels on health effects of fibres and airborne particles. She also was a member of different scientific committees at INSERM and University and cancer associations.

Quincy Jones is a talented, versatile comedian and mesothelioma patient who is spreading asbestos awareness through his hysterical stand-up comedy. Since his diagnosis, he has been defying all odds to make his dream of hosting a one-hour comedy special come true and prove cancer doesn’t define us. His Kickstarter campaign to fund this special led to an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres show, which landed him this HBO comedy special “Burning the Light.” Quincy is being honored with the Warren Zevon “Keep Me In Your Heart” Memorial Tribute for using his gift and his story to shine a spotlight on mesothelioma and asbestos-caused diseases.

Jessica and Mike Mattmuller joined the ADAO family in 2012, after Mike was diagnosed with mesothelioma at just 29 years old. Together, Mike and Jess have poured incredible energy into fighting for an asbestos-free future. Jessica is a graphic designer who lends her talents to ADAO’s digital campaigns. Along with their beautiful new daughter, Riley Jean, the Mattmuller family serves as a beacon of hope and a source of support for the ADAO community.

Dr. Bruce Robinson, Dr. Irving Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, graduated in Medicine from the University of Western Australia and during his career worked and studied in the UK and the USA. Bruce has published over 160 scientific papers, three books and over thirty invited book chapters. Professor Robinson is recognized internationally for his work in the field of asbestos-induced cancer. He published the world’s first blood test for the diagnosis, monitoring and early detection of mesothelioma, conducted the first cancer immuno-gene therapy trial using vaccinia-cytokine vectors and initiated seven other world-first tumor therapies. Bruce has also made a number of other major discoveries regarding how the body’s immune system fights against cancer which have formed the basis of many grants, papers and clinical trials. Professor Robinson’s research work has been extensively recognized and he is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Wagner Medal in 2004, presented by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group to the individual whom they vote as having made the greatest contribution to mesothelioma research internationally. He has also received the Premier’s Science Award in 2004, presented to the individual judged to have made significant achievements and leadership in science, as well as the Gordon Ada Invited Lecture in 2004 for outstanding contribution to the field of tumor immunology. He has also received the Eric G Saint Award in 1996 for contributions to research into asbestos-related diseases, and the Young Investigator Award of the Thoracic Society in 1986 for ‘the most outstanding scientific work by an investigator under 36′.

The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition is staffed by a seasoned group of organizers that makes up Kitchen Table Campaigns team. They emphasize public education and strategies that blend traditional grassroots organizing with online communications, rapid response articles to new science and policy updates and building coalitions that merge diverse organizations and businesses. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has been instrumental in writing and passing the Lautenberg Act, a landmark piece of legislation which strengthens the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s capacity to regulate toxic chemicals.

Senator Jon Tester is third-generation Montana farmer, a proud grandfather and a former schoolteacher who has deep roots in hard work, responsibility and accountability. Jon was elected to the Montana Senate in 1998, and in 2005, he was chosen to serve as Montana Senate President. Jon was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and again in 2012. In the U.S. Senate, Jon is a champion of responsible energy development, sportsmen’s issues, clean air and water, Indian nations, women’s access to care, and quality health care for all of America’s veterans—no matter where they live. Jon serves on the Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, Banking and Appropriations Committees.



Check back next week for the third installment of “Speakers, Honorees, and Leadership,” featuring our 2017 conference Session I Speakers.

In unity,


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The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, does not make legal referrals.