September 16, 2016
By: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS SecretaryRecently, I had the honor of leading the Presidential Delegation representing the United States at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
About 4,350 athletes from 160 countries competed in 528 medal events. And this year, the U.S. had the largest delegation in history, with 267 athletes. We even had two athletes familiar to the HHS family, Tatyana McFadden and Hannah McFadden, the daughters of our colleague in HHS ITIO, Bridget O’Shaughnessey.
Tatyana, Hannah and the rest of these amazing competitors not only showed the world their athleticism and determination, they also showed the world what a true winner’s spirit is all about.
While I was in Rio, I also had an opportunity to meet with some of Brazil’s top scientists and medical experts to discuss how the country has responded to Zika. We discussed how important better testing methods are to finding the virus and stopping its spread. And we agreed that one of our most important responsibilities is to support the families who have been affected by this virus.
Zika is just one of the many issues we’re tackling at HHS. And we have a lot of work in front of us to make sure people are safe, and have all of the building blocks for healthy lives. But as our Paralympians showed us, with hard work, determination and a great team behind us, we can accomplish so much.
Go Team USA!
READ MORE: The 2016 Paralympic Games: Going for Gold in Rio