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Leaders in Global Health Recognized at Project HOPE’s First In-Person Awards Event in Two Years

Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2022) – Project HOPE, a global health and humanitarian assistance organization, announced the recipients of its Global Health Awards, which were honored at a May 9 event at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

The awards honor esteemed global health leaders as well as two medical volunteers who deployed to support Project HOPE’s COVID-19 response. Due to COVID-19, it has been two years since the organization has held an in-person event to recognize the partners and volunteers who support the organization’s mission to improve access to health care worldwide.

The Project HOPE honorees will be recognized for outstanding accomplishments and life-changing impact in some of the most difficult global health contexts around the world. The recipients of the Project HOPE Global Health Awards were recognized for the following accomplishments: 

The Project HOPE Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard T. Clark, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Merck (retired). Project HOPE recognizes Richard T. Clark as the recipient of its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors an outstanding leader who has made significant contributions to Project HOPE’s success and serves as one of the most influential minds in the field of health care. This inaugural award recognizes Mr. Clark for his outstanding vision, dedication, and commitment in the advancement of health care. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by Project HOPE. The former chairman, president, and CEO of Merck, Mr. Clark’s career spanned 39 years. He led the company as president and chief executive officer from 2005 through 2010, served as a Merck director in May 2005, and was chairman of its board of directors from 2007 until his retirement in 2011.

After being named CEO in 2005, Mr. Clark stabilized Merck by setting its strategic direction and oversaw successful launches of innovative drugs. In 2009, as Merck’s board chair, he led the transformative merger between Merck and Schering-Plough. Mr. Clark’s colleagues recognized him as an outstanding leader whose determination and dedication ensured that Merck remained an industry leader with a bright and strong future. Over his impressive tenure at Merck, Mr. Clark successfully restored investor confidence at a difficult time and steered the company through numerous challenges.

Mr. Clark became a director with Project HOPE in 2006 and his extraordinary contributions have spanned more than 15 years. He served as board chair from 2011-2018 and stepped in as executive chair for six months in 2015, running the organization during a time of great need. He was designated chair emeritus in June 2020 and named founding chair of the Board Alumni Council in March 2021. Mr. Clark served on Project HOPE’s Executive Committee and numerous other committees during his tenure. Over the years, his contribution of time and treasure to Project HOPE’s annual event were directly aligned with the event’s success and therefore the larger success of the organization.

The Project HOPE Global Health Leadership Award: Stephen H. Rusckowski, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Quest Diagnostics. Project HOPE recognizes Steve Rusckowski as its 2022 Global Health Leadership Award recipient. The award recognizes a distinguished leader from a company or organization that has made a significant contribution to global health through the donation of medicines, medical supplies, equipment, or expertise.

Mr. Rusckowski is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Quest Diagnostics, where he has served as president and chief executive officer since May 2012 and was elected chairman of the board in December 2016. At Quest, Mr. Rusckowski outlined his vision for empowering better health with diagnostic insights and then set about bringing that vision to life through strong relationships with health plans, hospital health systems and retailers. These partnerships helped once the pandemic hit, and he also began working closely with government and public health officials to bring needed COVID-19 testing to the nation. He has taken this same drive and applied it to his volunteer leadership role at Project HOPE.

Mr. Rusckowski’s involvement with Project HOPE began during his time at Hewlett-Packard/Agilent, where he served as Senior Vice President and General Manager before the company was sold to Philips in 2001.  He began his service with Project HOPE as a director in September 2002 while serving as CEO of Phillips Medical’s Cardiac and Monitoring Systems business.  He later became CEO of Philips Healthcare in 2005.  Steve was important to a number of Project HOPE initiatives throughout the years, but particularly in his work with the White House and State Department in equipping the Basrah Children’s Hospital in Iraq in 2010.  After 19 years of dedicated service, he was designated board emeritus and a member of the board alumni council in 2021.

“I am honored to receive this award alongside my 50,000 Quest Diagnostics colleagues who believe in your mission,” said Mr. Rusckowski. “We are proud to play a role in supporting the Project HOPE professionals doing life saving work around the world every day.”

The Project HOPE Global Health Partner Award: Medtronic Foundation. Medtronic Foundation has supported Project HOPE’s work for three decades, including programs in China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Support from Medtronic Foundation helped Project HOPE respond to recent disasters in Mozambique, the Bahamas, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the U.S., and to launch the organization’s first-ever regional emergency response hub for Southeast Asia, enabling Project HOPE to truly localize its response capacity. Medtronic Foundation was also the first corporate partner to support Project HOPE’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Fund, which allows the organization’s emergency response team to respond quickly to natural disasters.

During the pandemic, Medtronic Foundation’s support helped Project HOPE provide urgent surge support in India, Nepal, and Brazil, as well as expand the organization’s mental health and resiliency trainings to health workers around the world. As Project HOPE pivoted to meet the greatest needs for health care workers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medtronic employees were the first to answer the call by volunteering their time and expertise to deliver trainings to health care workers around the world.

“We are proud to partner with Project HOPE to strengthen the capacity and resiliency of communities to prepare for and recover from global disasters and humanitarian crises,” said Marcie Dewalt, Interim President, Medtronic Foundation. “Our dynamic partnership that includes funding, expertise, and skills-based volunteerism is one of the ways the Medtronic Foundation strives to reduce barriers to achieving health, well-being and prosperity.”

Project HOPE also honored two medical volunteers with its Volunteers of the Yearawards. The awards went to Dakota Wheeler, RN, and Dr. Rob Winokur, each of whom completed long deployments to provide medical surge support during devastating COVID-19 waves in the Navajo Nation.

“The pandemic has shown a spotlight on the importance of health workers around the world and the critical role they play in their communities. But it has also revealed the amount of support these women and men need in order to protect their physical and mental health. We are honored to celebrate health workers at our event and continue to champion and support our partners, without whom we would not be able to do our lifesaving work around the world,” says Project HOPE’s President and CEO, Rabih Torbay.

The Global Health Partner Award is given to a leader from a company or organization that has donated expertise or gifts-in-kind such as pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, equipment, or other products that benefit the health of others. The Global Health Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has been a champion for health issues globally. Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated their career to Project HOPE’s mission and health globally, and who has pioneered or left significant achievements in one or more of the following areas: non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, women’s and children’s health, humanitarian assistance, and health system strengthening.

The awards were presented at Project HOPE’s annual event on May 9 at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. Joined by the Board of Directors, global health leaders, and leading health influencers, Project HOPE is pleased to continue to support the critical contributions to global health.

About Project HOPE   
With the mission to place power in the hands of local health workers to save lives around the world, Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries. Founded in 1958, we work side-by-side with local health systems to improve health and support community resilience. We work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases; disasters and health crises; maternal, neonatal and child health; pandemic preparedness and response; mental health for health workers; and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg

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