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Changing her own life, and those of others

Ann Hayes

Ann Hayes supports PATH’s practical approach to providing solutions in global health. Photo: Courtesy of Ann Hayes.

Ann Hayes understands the value of hope. A physician, clinical researcher, and longtime supporter of PATH, Ann’s life changed in 1984, when she volunteered as a pediatrician in Uganda. There, she became aware of how simple solutions—not necessarily the most expensive or complex tools—can profoundly affect the life of a child, a mother, a family.

“There was medical culture shock when I first arrived,” says Ann, who at the time was working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. “But it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. It got me interested in international health and international education.”

In fact, the experience was so profound that Ann went back to Uganda a second time, in 1986. She came home five months later accompanied by an orphaned infant girl she’d met in a Kampala hospital. Ann’s daughter Danielle was the first Ugandan child allowed to leave the country with an adoptive parent who was not Ugandan.

Dedicated to simple solutions

In 1994, Ann and her growing family—she adopted a second daughter, Erica, upon her return to the United States—moved to Seattle, where Ann began work with the biopharmaceutical company Immunex. Through her friends in the scientific community, she began to hear about a local nonprofit organization called PATH.

“I got interested in how PATH was working in health technologies,” explains Ann, who is a member of PATH’s Catalyst Circle, supporters who pledge at least $1,000 a year for five years. “PATH was more grassroots than other organizations, and I was impressed by their approach to finding the right solution for the right situation.”

She saw some of these solutions in action during a 2008 visit to Cambodia and Thailand with PATH Journeys. For two weeks, she and other friends of PATH visited villages, project sites, and PATH field offices, seeing up close how our work is touching communities and families.

“I have many good memories of that trip,” she says, “but what really stood out for me was meeting PATH’s local staff. PATH really brought together local people who were very dedicated and effective.”

Making a profound difference

Ann is uniquely qualified to understand the value of excellent people in the field. With help from Danielle’s social worker in Uganda, in 2001 she founded Concern for the Girl Child. This nonprofit organization supports education of orphaned Ugandan girls and has helped more than 500 girls attend secondary school, vocational school, and, if qualified, university education. Concern for the Girl Child also supports community projects and capital programs at partner schools in Uganda.

Ann sees connections between her work with Concern for the Girl Child and her steadfast support of PATH.

“It costs so little to educate these Ugandan girls, and yet the effect you have on their lives and the lives of their families is tremendous,” she says. “I think that’s what has always drawn me to PATH. Using some very basic principles of delivering inexpensive medical care, you can make such a huge difference in a person’s life.”