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Philip J. Hilts is a journalist and author, and formerly the director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

He is the author of six books and has been a prize-winning health and science reporter for both The New York Times and The Washington Post.

During some 20 years at the Times and the Post he wrote more than 300 front page stories for the papers. Hilts, whose journalism career began in 1968, was the Times reporter who broke the story of the tobacco industry’s 40-year cover-up of its own research showing that tobacco was harmful and addictive. His most recent book, Rx for Survival: Why We Must Rise to the Global Health Challenge, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Hilts is also the author of Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation. A history of the Food and Drug Administration, this book tells the story of the fight over using science as the basis of public policy. It won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

His book Scientific Temperaments was a finalist for the National Book Award. Smokescreen: The Truth Behind the Tobacco Industry Cover-up was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by Business Week Magazine.

His news stories have included a report back from one mile below the Pacific Ocean surface in an active volcano, the confessions of a healer in Zambia who was "curing" AIDS, and articles on hypnosis-induced court testimony that resulted in four men being freed from jail.

Hilts is represented Carolyn Savarese of the Kneerim and Williams Agency ( He is represented for speaking by Jodi Solomon of the Jodi Solomon Speakers

RX for Survival: Why We Must Rise to the Global Health Challenge


"A clarion call to devote many more resources, human and financial, to improving health conditions in poor countries." -Richard Cooper in FOREIGN AFFAIRS


We now know, counter-intuitively perhaps, that in the development of nations, health drives wealth, not the other way around. So how we invest in developing countries is critical - and there is a lot of reason for hope. Travels to India, Botswana, Bangladesh and Nepal reveal public health projects that are highly effective, low in cost, and locally driven. All show the way forward for both countries dealing with disastrous disease and poverty, and the wealthy nations with the resources to make a difference.