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Contacts: Barbara Casey for Hilton Foundation, 310.990.0750, bcasey@cswpr.com; Amy MacIver for PATH, 206.788.2021, amaciver@path.org.

Steven M. Hilton, Christopher Elias, Ezra Teshome, and William H. Gates Sr., sitting left to right.
Steven M. Hilton congratulates PATH's president, Christopher Elias, joined by Ezra Teshome of the Seattle Rotary and William H. Gates Sr. of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Seattle, WA, August 18, 2009—PATH, a nonprofit organization that uses innovative technologies and solutions to solve global health problems, has been selected to receive the 2009 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation presents the annual award, the world’s largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering. The prize will be presented on September 21 in Washington, DC, with keynote speaker Muhammad Yunus, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of the Grameen Bank, and former Hilton Prize juror.

Since its inception in 1977, PATH has worked to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors. PATH currently works in more than 70 countries in the areas of health technologies, maternal and child health, reproductive health, vaccines and immunization, and emerging and epidemic diseases. The organization leverages public- and private-sector resources to create solutions that are appropriate, affordable, and accessible for the people who need them the most, especially those in developing countries.

“Bringing new ideas and technologies to the toughest global health challenges and scaling them up at low prices, often hand-in-hand with the private sector, PATH is having a profound impact on the health and quality of life of millions of men, women, and children around the world,” said Steven M. Hilton, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation.

According to Dr. Christopher J. Elias, PATH’s president and CEO, “PATH is honored to be selected for the prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize. We will use the Prize funds as innovation capital to support new initiatives in areas we've identified as critical to PATH’s mission: accelerating innovation in product development and introduction; bringing to scale essential health solutions and programs; and expanding our field presence, especially in Africa.”

Finding health solutions for the developing world

PATH employs more than 800 staff in 32 offices in 20 countries. Its team of scientists, engineers, and technical specialists create and test promising new technologies in a state-of-the-art laboratory and product-development facility at its Seattle headquarters. PATH has adapted, developed, or co-developed more than 85 technologies designed to improve the health and lives of people in low-resource countries, even in the most remote areas of the globe. Chief among these technologies are: vaccine vial monitors that detect when temperature-sensitive vaccines have been exposed to heat; SoloShot™ single-use, disposable syringes that prevent needle reuse; Ultra Rice® technology that uses manufactured, rice-like grains fortified with micronutrients to alleviate malnutrition; and the Uniject® prefilled injection device that ensures correct amounts of vaccines or drugs are administered. Several billion of these products are in use around the globe.

One of PATH’s current initiatives is stopping diarrheal disease, which kills an estimated 5,000 young children every day. PATH is taking a multipronged approach that includes developing vaccines against the most common cause of severe diarrhea, increasing communities’ access to safe water, and working with partners to develop a disposable “lab on a card,” diagnostic device as an easy-to-use and low-cost tool for detecting diarrhea-causing pathogens. Typical of its private-sector approach, PATH is evaluating more than 150 commercial water-purifying technologies such as filters and chemical treatments that could be sold for household use to provide safe water in villages and towns.

PATH was one of more than 200 nominees for the 2009 Hilton Prize, said Judy Miller, vice president of the Hilton Foundation and director of the Hilton Prize. She added that the Hilton Prize international jurors were impressed by PATH’s record of innovation, its keen grasp of potential transformative solutions, and its ability to get affordable products into developing markets.

About the Hilton Prize

The 2009 Hilton Prize will be presented at a luncheon at the annual Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Symposium, which gathers policymakers and leaders in the humanitarian field to address the most challenging issues facing the billions of people who make up the world’s most vulnerable populations.

This year’s Hilton Prize jury includes: Princess Salimah Aga Khan, international ambassador for SOS-Kinderdorf International; Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme and professor of public administration, Syracuse University; Gro Harlem Brundtland, MPH, former director-general of the World Health Organization and former prime minister of Norway; Eric M. Hilton, director, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and son of Conrad Hilton; Olara A. Otunnu, president of LBL Foundation for Children, former UN under-secretary-general and special representative for children and armed conflict and former Ugandan minister for foreign affairs; and Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Laureate in economics and Lamont University professor at Harvard University.

Former Hilton Prize recipients are recognized leaders in the humanitarian world and include: BRAC (Bangladesh), 2008; Tostan (Senegal), 2007; Women for Women International (Washington, DC), 2006; Partners in Health (Massachusetts), 2005; Heifer International (Arkansas), 2004; International Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims (Denmark), 2003; SOS Children’s Villages (Austria), 2002; St. Christopher’s Hospice (England), 2001; Casa Alianza (Costa Rica), 2000; African Medical and Research Foundation (Kenya), 1999; Doctors Without Borders (France), 1998; International Rescue Committee (New York), 1997; and Operation Smile (Virginia), 1996.

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Based in Los Angeles, the Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by the late hotel entrepreneur and business leader Conrad N. Hilton, who left his fortune to the foundation when he died in 1979 with instructions to help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout the world without regard to religion, ethnicity, or geography. Barron Hilton, who also led Hilton Hotels Corporation and is current chairman of the foundation, has joined his father in committing to leave the bulk of his wealth to the foundation. The foundation along with its related entities has assets exceeding $3.4 billion and, since its inception, has awarded more than $800 million in grants. More than 50 percent supports international charitable projects.

For more information, please visit the Hilton Foundation website.

About PATH

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act. PATH’s work improves global health and well-being.

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