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Project HOPE Celebrates 65th Anniversary at Beacons of HOPE

Washington, DC (3 October 2023) – Project HOPE – the global health and humanitarian aid organization – announces Beacons of HOPE, a celebratory event marking Project HOPE’s 65th anniversary that will take place October 10 at Potomac View Terrace at the American Pharmacists Association in Washington, D.C. Beacons of HOPE will honor leaders in global health, emergency response, and humanitarian crises and will recognize partners and donors who make Project HOPE’s lifesaving work possible. The internationally recognized public health leader and epidemiologist, Dr. Syra Madad, will be the keynote of the evening and the event will be co-hosted by Project HOPE’s board members Carly Baron, Chief Marketing Officer at Advantice Health, and Ben Higgins, President and Co-Founder of Generous International and Host of the “Hope Still Wins” podcast.

“Beacons of HOPE is a night to celebrate the incredible women and men who shine in their communities and bring Project HOPE’s mission to life around the world,” said Project HOPE’s CEO & President, Rabih Torbay. “This year, we also celebrate Project HOPE’s 65th anniversary and the remarkable accomplishments our organization has contributed to the advancement of global health. The world we live in today is radically different than the one we inherited at our founding in 1958, but one thing has not changed in the last 65 years: the people at the heart of our mission.”

As a global health and humanitarian organization with programs in more than 25 countries, Project HOPE has touched the lives of millions of people for 65 years. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of our donors and partners around the world, we have been able to respond to the world’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases; disasters and humanitarian crises; maternal, newborn and child health; and mental health. Beacons of HOPE will spotlight programs and experts from the five regions we work:

  • Africa where Project HOPE has a longstanding history of addressing the continent’s most urgent health challenges, including HIV/AIDS, maternal and neonatal mortality, and humanitarian emergencies made worse by the climate crisis;
  • Asia and the Middle East where Project HOPE is strengthening health systems to withstand the impact of disasters and providing long-term solutions that improve access to care;
  • Central and Eastern Europe where Project HOPE is operating a comprehensive region-wide humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine that includes medicines, medical supplies, mobile clinics, reconstruction projects, mental health support, and more;
  • Latin America and the Caribbean where Project HOPE is addressing maternal and neonatal mortality, natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, and noncommunicable diseases; and
  • The United States where Project HOPE is responding to urgent health threats, including weather disasters, COVID-19, and the threat of noncommunicable diseases.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Syra Madad, DHSc, MSc, MCP, CHEP, an internationally recognized public health leader and epidemiologist in special pathogens preparedness and response. Her keynote will focus on the topic of rebuilding trust in science, with a focus on the lessons learned from COVID-19. Dr. Madad serves as the Senior Director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program and Co-Principal Investigator at the Institute of Disaster and Disaster Management at New York City Health + Hospitals. She is also Core Faculty in the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC), and Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dr. Madad’s work focuses on the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from infectious disease outbreaks with an emphasis on healthcare and public health biopreparedness. She’s responded to multiple infectious disease outbreaks including Ebola, Zika, MPox and COVID-19. Dr. Madad is featured in two documentaries, the Netflix docuseries, “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” and the Discovery documentary, “The Vaccine: Conquering COVID.” In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Project HOPE partnered to adapt New York City Health + Hospitals’ Healing, Education, Resilience & Opportunity for New York’s Frontline Workers (HERO-NY) program, a train-the-trainer series to support the mental health and resiliency of health workers. The program has since been adapted and implemented across 41 countries, reaching over 100,000 health workers.

As part of the event, Project HOPE will recognize four partners whose outstanding accomplishments have resulted in life-changing impact in some of the most difficult global health contexts around the world:

Richard T. Clark Lifetime Achievement Award | Gail Wilensky, Ph.D.: This award honors an outstanding leader who has made significant contributions to Project HOPE’s success and serves as one of the health care field’s most influential minds. Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D., is an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE. Previously, she directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs and served in the White House as a senior adviser on health and welfare issues to President George H.W. Bush. In addition to her role at Project HOPE, Dr. Wilensky co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s initiative on the future of health care and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Wilensky’s accomplishments at Project HOPE stretch back to 1983, when she was recruited by Project HOPE founder Dr. William B. Walsh to help launch a policy center that became the Center for Health Affairs, and then later Health Affairs. After her time in the Bush Administration, Dr. Wilensky returned to Project HOPE in 1993, where she remains today as a senior fellow and member of our board of directors, where she has served since January 2020.

Volunteer of the Year Award | Jeffrey Rodriguez: This award recognizes a Project HOPE volunteer who has gone above and beyond in giving their time and talents to supporting Project HOPE’s mission. From the first voyage of Project HOPE’s hospital ship, the SS HOPE, in 1960, volunteers have been at the heart of the organization’s work around the world. This year, that award goes to someone who answered the call for help in Ukraine, which has experienced unimaginable tragedy since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Rodriguez joined Project HOPE’s team in Ukraine to assist the team’s reconstruction projects. Thanks to his work, thousands of Ukrainians facing a dire humanitarian situation have had their access to health care restored.

Global Health Partner Award | Boston Scientific: This award acknowledges an organization or corporation that has made a significant contribution to Project HOPE’s programs through donations, gifts in kind, and volunteerism. For 26 years, Boston Scientific has answered the call as a committed Project HOPE partner around the world, supporting programs in South Africa, India, Colombia, and Texas, as well as emergency responses in Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Haiti, and the company’s ongoing response in Ukraine. Boston Scientific has also collaborated to advance access to care around the world through Project HOPE’s programs to educate health care workers to treat noncommunicable diseases. As a global medical technology leader for more than 40 years, Boston Scientific transforms lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world.

Global Health Leadership Award | Donna Murphy: The award recognizes a distinguished leader from a company or organization who has made a significant contribution to global health through the donation of medicines, medical supplies, equipment, or expertise. Donna Murphy has been chief architect in the growth and scale of the Havas network for more than 30 years. Today, as Global CEO of Havas Creative Network and Havas Health & You, she oversees 16,000 marketing and communications experts in over 70 countries. Under her stewardship, Havas Health & You was named Agency/Network of the Year by Medical Marketing & Media (MM+M), one of Ad Age’s “Best Places to Work,” and Fortune’s “Best Workplaces in New York.” The network has achieved double-digit organic growth for 10 consecutive years and expanded their global lead in capabilities, geographic footprint, and roster of clients. Murphy has brought the same standard of excellence to her work with Project HOPE, including her service as a director since June 2016.

To schedule an interview or request additional information, please contact media@projecthope.org.


About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.

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