03/20/12 Otis Bowen, former governor of Indiana and secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was presented the 2012 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award by the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

The award, presented by RCAP senior director William L. Yarber, recognizes Bowen’s contributions to efforts in the 1980s to raise public awareness about AIDS, at a time when little was known about the disease, and when fear and discrimination, as experienced by Ryan White, were rife.

Otis, 94, received the award March 13 at his residence near Bremen, Ind., where he retired after an active career in medical practice, politics and academia, where he was a professor of family medicine at his alma mater, Indiana University.

Bowen was secretary of HHS during the early part of the AIDS epidemic and was instrumental in supporting then U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is his successful effort to send an informational AIDS pamphlet to every home in America. Koop received the 2010 Ryan White Leadership Award.

Ryan White acquired HIV from a tainted hemophilia treatment as a teenager in Indiana and went on to become a nationally known advocate for AIDS research and awareness before his death in 1990 at the age of 18.

Photo by Midwest Vision Photography