The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation held its annual symposium and Humanitarian Awards dinner on Oct. 23rd at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. I was humbly invited by my friend, Jeb Brilliant to attend this day of discussions in matters of science, social issues and global advocacy.
One of the discussion topics was the advancements in 3D printing and its uses in the medical field. Prior to this day, my understanding of 3D printing have been around the amazing commercial products produced by companies such as Shapeways and MakerBot. Little did I think we have the ability to print human body parts to improve and sustain human lives. Dr. Bonassar joined Cornell University in 2003 after five years on the faculty of the Center for Tissue Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His research group focuses on the regeneration and analysis of musculoskeletal tissues, including bone and cartilage. Dr. Bonassar showed us his lab was printing a human ear for a little girl born missing one.
His lab discovered a way to use living cells to print materials for reconstructing parts of the body. For printing an ear, they start with a 3D scan of the head, map the precise typology of the ear, then develop the “ink”, which consists of living cells. The layers of cartilage printed is alive and put in an incubator for 2 months. Dr. Bonassar’s goals are to provide clinicians with next generation implant materials that are better accepted by our bodies and last longer than plastic parts used today.
The Conrad Hilton Foundation awarded ECPAT, the leading global network of organizations dedicated to stopping the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the 2013 Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million. ECPAT developed The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. In 2011, it partnered with the Body Shop to present more than 7 million petitions for the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People (STOP) campaign to the UN Human Rights Council, the largest human rights petition on a single issue ever presented. More information on ECPAT International can be found here.
Priority areas and initiatives by the Hilton Foundation found here.
About the symposium: The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation sponsors an annual Humanitarian Symposium in conjunction with the presentation of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. These conferences, attended by humanitarian and human-rights decision makers, are structured as open dialogue forums between panelists and participants.