EAST ORANGE, NJ - Recently, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. met with legendary singer and East Orange native Dionne Warwick to discuss her work to ensure that Medicare covers dropless cataract surgery—a method of administering FDA approved drugs in cataract surgery, a procedure she herself has undergone.

Millions of people around the world have come to know Dionne Warwick as a tremendous singer and pop star, but fewer know, or appreciate her humanitarian work, especially in the advancement of measures to ensure access to health care for people that may not be able to afford it.

Half of the world’s blindness is caused by cataract. Cataract blindness can be treated with a straightforward (20 minute) operation; unfortunately, this is something millions are still unable to access. 

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Following the meeting, the Congressman presented Ms. Warwick with a statement in the Congressional Record honoring her for her incredible music career, as well as her extensive humanitarian and philanthropic work.

Excerpts from the award read as follows:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor New Jersey-native and music marvel, Ms. Dionne Warwick.  The legendary Ms. Warwick is world renowned not only for her incredible music career, but also for her humanitarian and philanthropic work.

Ms. Warwick is a pillar of American pop music and culture.  She began singing in East Orange, New Jersey during her childhood years.  Her gospel roots marry well with R&B and pop in a way that transcends culture and race.  Ms. Warwick is a five-time Grammy Award-winning singer and the second most-charted female vocalist of all time, with 69 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  She became a superstar with early hits like “Walk on By” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” and followed them up for decades with hits including “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” and “That’s What Friends Are For.”

As a performer, Ms. Warwick delighted audiences all around the world.  Her talents received a star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame." She was also honored by Oprah Winfrey at the 2005 Legends Ball. As an activist, Ms. Warwick has devoted countless hours and supported a number of charities and causes.

Always one to aid those in need, Ms. Warwick advocates on behalf of music education, world hunger, disaster relief, and children’s hospitals.  She has used her stardom over five decades to raise awareness about major health issues, including AIDS and senior citizen health.  For her commitment, President Ronald Regan and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services appointed her U.S. Ambassador of Health in 1987.  In 2002, she served as Global Ambassador for Health and Ambassador for the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization.  She is currently working to ensure Medicare covers the best method of administering FDA approved drugs in cataract surgery, a procedure she herself has undergone. 

I join all of Dionne Warwick’s friends and loved ones in celebrating her many achievements and contributions, and I wish Ms. Warwick—the jewel of New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District—a very happy 75th birthday. I have no doubt that Ms. Warwick will continue to use her voice to captivate international audiences, through her music and her dedication to the human condition.