City native among giants

Donato Tramuto, the CEO and Chairman of Physicians Interactive Inc. and a native of Dunkirk, has been selected as one of four distinguished recipients of the 2014 Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.

Tramuto joins former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett as the 2014 honorees.

The RFK Ripple of Hope Award recognizes leaders of the international business, entertainment and activist communities who demonstrate an unmatched commitment to social change. Honorees reflect the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice and basic human rights. It was created to honor the ideals Senator Kennedy cited in a speech at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1966:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,” Sen. Kennedy said that day, “he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Tramuto, Clinton, De Niro and Bennett will receive their awards in December in New York City. Past honorees for their many contributions to advancing human rights across the globe include President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Grammy Award winner Bono and Academy Award winner George Clooney.

Tramuto’s personal challenges with severe hearing loss in his youth, and later the tragic death of his sister-in-law during childbirth, drove him to improve healthcare with affordable, accessible solutions. Because of his own personal disability, he has made it his personal commitment to help those who have had significant challenges in their lives.

“Donato has been a relentless advocate throughout his career in addressing needs across the globe,” said Kerry Kennedy, the late Senator’s daughter and President of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. “For more than 30 years, he has demonstrated the passion for making the world more just through his philanthropic and business initiatives that reflect my father’s ideals. From his work on HIV/AIDS education to his founding of the Tramuto Foundation and Health eVillages, Donato’s leadership in making the world a better place has been inspiring and embodies the values my father held.”

At Physicians Interactive, he has worked tirelessly to use digital communications to improve connections and build trust between physicians and life sciences companies in order to improve healthcare processes and positively impact patient outcomes. Tramuto also led the way in developing many key healthcare programs, including the first HIV/AIDS Arthur Ashe workplace education program in 1991, followed by the launch of a national HIV Provider Network focused on comprehensive disease management.

In 2001, he founded The Tramuto Foundation following the September 11 terrorist attacks in honor of two close friends and their 3-year-old son who were on United Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. The Tramuto Foundation provides educational grants to youths with unique challenges to help overcome adversity and build the confidence necessary to achieve personal excellence.

Over the last 13 years, The Tramuto Foundation provided financial assistance to several individuals, families and programs in need. It provided funding to rebuild the home of a Hurricane Katrina family with a special needs child; a full sponsorship grant to teach English to an entire Cambodian village; the support of an Emergency Healthcare Services program with an AIDS/HIV center; the installation of advanced technology at a Maine playhouse to allow the hearing impaired to enjoy the performances; and the funding of high school education of four young adults in need through a partner organization in Kenya. Recently, the Foundation also announced the approval of four five-year grants to address gaps in healthcare and education around the globe.

In 2011, following the devastating effects from the earthquake in Haiti, Tramuto and Physicians Interactive partnered with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights to create Health eVillages, an effort to “heal-the-villages” both in Haiti and around the world. Today, Health eVillages provides handheld devices, such as smartphones, iPod Touches and iPads, preloaded with specialized medical reference content and clinical decision support tools powered by the Omnio medical app, to clinicians in the most challenging clinical environments worldwide.

The impact of the difference Health eVillages makes is demonstrated in Lwala, Kenya, where infant mortality has been reduced from 95 deaths per thousand births to less than 40 per thousand since the program began its support. To date, Health eVillages has made critical improvements to patient care and helped save lives in pilots around the world including Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Haiti, Ethiopia and rural Louisiana.

In December 2013, under Tramuto’s leadership, more than $150,000 was raised to support the new construction of the first Health eVillages Maternity Clinic in Lwala. The clinic will offer additional beds for mothers pre- and post-delivery and also house a pharmacy.

In February, Tramuto announced the expansion of Health eVillages in India through a partnership with Dr. B. R. Lakshmi, Founder and Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Counseling, Care and Research Center (MDCRC) which provides support to children afflicted with muscular diseases in India. Health eVillages is providing tablets, medical content, and portable projectors to community health workers at MDCRC who will travel to rural areas and educate the families and communities of children who are suffering from the muscular diseases.

“I am humbled to receive this award on behalf of all the teams at the great business and philanthropic organizations that I have had the privilege of leading,” said Tramuto. “As a young child battling a disability, I was inspired by Senator Kennedy’s dedication to equal and human rights for all, and I have tried to live by those principles throughout my life. It is with great pride that I accept this award.”

About Physicians Interactive

Headquartered in Reading, Mass., PI aspires to use the power of worldwide networks of healthcare professionals and life sciences companies together in ways that will change the practice and business of medicine for the better. PI’s value proposition is to offer the life science industry a low-cost, virtual, multi-channel marketing approach that can be used to supplement currently promoted products, as well as non-promoted and orphaned products, that deliver benefits to physicians and patients. A key focus is providing services that fit into physicians’ and healthcare professionals’ daily workflow at the point-of-care when they make diagnosis, treatment and prescribing decisions. More information can be found at www.PhysiciansInteractive.com.