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Jhpiego, an international nonprofit health organization, hosted its “Laughter is the Best Medicine” event Monday evening at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, hosted by Comedy Central president Kent Alterman and Dr. Michele Brennan.
The evening, hosted by comedian and actor Tom Papa, raised money to strengthen health care services for women and families around the world. Comedy Central comedians Jamie Denbo and Al Madrigal performed individual stand-up acts along with Papa.
“For the pregnant women and children who they serve, the concern isn’t just prenatal Pilates classes or to chose whether to get a private room with a hospital, their worry is ‘Will I survive the birth, and will my baby be healthy,'” said Papa.
Paramount Pictures chair and CEO Jim Gianopulos and his wife, Ann, received the Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award for their support of Jhpiego’s global mission to prevent the needless deaths of women and families.
Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: New York), a close friend of the Gianopuloses, presented the couple with the award that memorializes a West African nurse who died of cervical cancer for lack of a simple screening test.
Dr. Howie Mandel, the head of Jhpiego’s advisory board and prominent L.A. obstetrician-gynecologist, introduced the couple to the organization years ago.
“Let’s face it, we are blessed. Blessed with the luxury of having state-of-the-art obstetrics care, blessed with having doctors like Howie,” said Ann when she accepted the award. “This unfortunately can’t be said for far too many women in far too many places around the world. Women die during pregnancy and childbirth unnecessarily. But Jhpiego’s mission is to reduce these numbers significantly and, in large part due to the support from all of you here tonight, they have the means to continue this mission.”
Affiliated with The John Hopkins University, Jhpiego has empowered front-line health workers by implementing low-cost, hands-on solutions for high-quality health care in the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Vin Diesel, Mena Suvari, Kyle Richards and Dean Cain were among the celebrities in attendance at the dinner. A video montage (below) of other well-known comedians, such as Will Ferrell, Keegan-Michael Key and Hannibal Buress, played throughout the evening to show the A-list support for the organization.
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Jeriana San Juan