Washington, DC – Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez was recently honored with the Health Leadership Award during the 2007 Health Disparities Conference held in September this year. The conference is hosted by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). The Health Disparities Leadership Award is presented each year to a legislator from each organization who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to addressing health disparities in their community.

Senator Martinez has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003, representing a district on the North side of Chicago. She is the first Hispanic woman ever elected to the State Senate, and she made history again when she became the first Latina ever appointed to a Leadership position in January of 2007. In addition to serving as Assistant Majority Leader, Martinez also is the Vice-Chair of the Pensions and Investments Committee and is a member of the Executive, Labor, Housing and Community Affairs, and Public Health Committees.

Senator Martinez has been recognized for her dedicated service to her constituents and families throughout the state, especially in the areas of healthcare, education, pension reform, and women’s rights. She was recently honored by MANA, a national organization of Latinas that recognizes individuals who have achieved “firsts” in their careers, with a “Las Primeras Award.”