Reviewed By Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on July 23, 2014
From Aug. 5-15, readers chose from among these 10 celebrity health activists for the People's Choice Health Hero award. Voting is now closed, but on Nov. 6, we'll announce the winner here as well as in the November/December issue of WebMD Magazine.
When was he on the cover? November/December 2005
What was he doing? Helping at-risk kids with the Andre Agassi Foundation
Where is he now? Founder, Athletes for Hope
What makes him a health hero? Andre is giving a good education to kids who need it.
International Tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi may have retired, but he hasn't stopped serving. Now he's focused on shaping our country's public school system. The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, founded in 1994, runs a free charter school for at-risk kids in Agassi's hometown, Las Vegas. In September 2013, it partnered with V20 Foods to create Andre Agassi's Box Buddies. Proceeds from the kid-friendly snack line -- applesauce, granola bars, and milk -- go to the foundation. In 2007, Agassi joined fellow sports icons Cal Ripken Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Tony Hawk, among others, to co-found Athletes for Hope. The group encourages high-profile names in sports to support charitable causes.
When was he on the cover? June 2013
What was he doing? Creating safe places for kids with the Carmelo Anthony Foundation
Where is he now? Teaming up with other youth groups, like Boys & Girls Clubs of America
What makes him a health hero? Carmelo is giving back to kids growing up in underserved areas.
When he isn't making baskets at Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is making big plays elsewhere. Through his Courts 4 Kids program, Carmelo has redone rundown basketball courts in Syracuse, NY, New York City, and in Puerto Rico. In February 2014, he took part in NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service by helping build a playground at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Primary, a free charter school. He also partnered with Feed the Children and the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club to provide Thanksgiving meals to 800 families in 2013.
When was she on the cover? October 2010
What was she doing? Advocating for early mammogram screening in young women
Where is she now? Hosting fund-raising events for Right Action for Women
What makes her a health hero? Christina is removing financial barriers to breast cancer screening.
Emmy award-winning actress Christina Applegate is a star on the screen and behind the scenes. Her foundation, Right Action for Women, promotes the early detection of breast cancer. It's a cause that hits close to home. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 and opened up about her double mastectomy on an Entertainment Tonight special in April 2014. In May 2014, she co-hosted and took part in the 21st annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women, which raises money for breast cancer research, treatment, and counseling. She's also creative director for Fab Kids, an online clothing store that allows children to express themselves with outfits that suit their personalities. The group partnered with Asics America in 2013 to produce a line of products in "breast cancer" pink, with proceeds going toward Right Action for Women.
When was she on the cover? March/April 2007
What was she doing? Educating the public about colon cancer detection and prevention
Where is she now? Co-founder of and adviser to the Stand Up to Cancer program
What makes her a health hero? Katie is raising support and funds for cancer research.
Anchor and talk show hostess Katie Couric is also in the spotlight for her support of cancer awareness and research. She's a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer and the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Both groups raise awareness and money for research. Katie co-founded the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health to honor her late husband after his death from colon cancer in 1998. For 2 years, her daytime talk show, Katie, addressed a range of health and wellness topics. In 2000, she televised her colonoscopy on the Today show. A 20% rise in procedures followed, which researchers have named "The Couric Effect."
When was he on the cover? July/August 2008
What was he doing? Promoting the National Marrow Donor Program
Where is he now? Spokesman and driver for Drive to End Hunger
What makes him a health hero? Jeff works to improve health care for children and the elderly.
NASCAR Cup champion driver Jeff Gordon doesn't leave his winning ways on the racetrack. He's put them in play with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which offers cancer treatment for kids and funds medical research. In 2011, the group helped launch the Butaro Cancer Center for Excellence, a cancer care program in Rwanda. This year, Gordon became spokesman -- and driver -- for the AARP's Drive to End Hunger campaign, raising money to feed seniors who need a good meal.
When was she on the cover? November/December 2011
What was she doing? Global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive
Where is she now? Spokeswoman for Frum tha Ground Up
What makes her a health hero? Alicia is raising HIV awareness worldwide.
Grammy-award winning singer Alicia Keys is busy here in the States, but she hasn't left her work in South Africa behind. She remains active with Keep a Child Alive, a group she co-founded in 2003 to provide care to families and orphans affected by AIDS worldwide. The singer also supports Frum tha Ground Up, which helps at-risk young people in the states, and the Greater Than AIDS Movement, which provides education at a local level. In 2014, she helped create a promotional video for the Let Girls Learn Movement, sponsored by USAID, a government agency that fights poverty worldwide. In February, unite4:good gave her its Music Visionary Award for her work with Keep a Child Alive.
When was she on the cover? September 2009
What was she doing? Co-founder and spokeswoman for the Endometriosis Foundation of America
Where is she now? Working on a teen health awareness campaign
What makes her a health hero? Padma is spreading the word about endometriosis and helping fund research.
Model and Emmy award-winning Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is more than an expert on food. She's co-founder and spokeswoman of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA), which raises awareness about the disorder. EFA supports the ROSE (Research Outsmarts Endometriosis) project at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. In July, Padma took part in a benefit concert event featuring the band Train that raised $1.5 million for the effort. This past year she kicked off a school and community-based teen health campaign with New York State Sen. Jeff Klein to build awareness and educate adolescents, their parents, and teachers about endometriosis. She's also a global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, which provides care to families and orphans affected by AIDS worldwide.
When was she on the cover? July/August 2010
What was she doing? Promoting breast cancer awareness with Stand Up to Cancer
Where is she now? Supporting the Act on Red rosacea campaign
What makes her a health hero? Cynthia is helping women fight breast cancer.
Cynthia Nixon will always be linked to New York -- not only through her role as Miranda on Sex and the City, but by her real life service as an adviser to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. The group promotes health and wellness education for people living in The Big Apple. Cynthia is also fronting the 2014 Act on Red campaign for rosacea. Led by top dermatologists, the program seeks to spread the word about the skin disease and help people who have it get treatment. After a bout with breast cancer in 2006, Cynthia appeared on a number of TV shows to raise awareness, and in 2009 she starred in a public service announcement for the Stand Up to Cancer campaign. She discussed her experience and urged women to get checked early. She's now a global ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
When was she on the cover? May/June 2008
What was she doing? Supporting the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Where is she now? Hosting the charity's annual shopping fund-raiser
What makes her a health hero? Kelly is raising funds to support ovarian cancer research.
Kelly Ripa stays busy with her own talk show, but she's making the time to serve as co-host of this year's QVC Super Saturday. The shopping event benefits the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), which supports early treatment and diagnosis, along with medical research. The 17th annual shopping fund-raiser is a large-scale garage sale featuring high-fashion brands at discounted prices. The 2013 event raised $3.7 million. Since 2008, Kelly has also been spokeswoman for Electrolux -- proceeds from the sale of their washers and dryers also benefit the OCRF.
When was she on the cover? March/April 2008
What was she doing? Opening a center for healthy aging
Where is she now? Promoting the 1,000 Cooks for the Cure breast cancer initiative
What makes her a health hero? Martha is changing the public view of aging and helping raise funds for medical research.
Emmy award-winning lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has found a new home to focus her work on -- the retirement home. The Martha Stewart Center for Living (MSCL) at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital provides access to health care for the elderly and offers classes like Pilates and yoga. In 2012 her magazine, Martha Stewart Living, launched the American Made Awards with a prize of $10,000 -- plus print and online stories -- to help 10 small businesses or entrepreneurs expand their ideas. This year, Martha worked with the Susan G. Komen Cook for the Cure campaign. She co-hosted a party kicking off an effort to get home cooks across America to throw their own fund-raisers. She also just added a chewable vegetarian multivitamin for women to her Martha Stewart Essentials line of supplements.