Gordon W. Perkin

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Gordon W. Perkin is the founder of Program for Appropriate Technology in Health.

In 1968 (at least) he worked at the Ford Foundation as a program advisor in their Thailand and Regional Southeast Asia (Bangkok) department. [1]

In 1977 (at least) he worked under Oscar Harkavy at the Ford Foundation as a population program officer. [2]

In 2001 he was director of the global health program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [3]

"Perkin begin his career as a family doctor in Canada before joining the Ford Foundation, where he served as a program officer working with governments around the world to design and implement family planning programs." [4]

"As a physician with more than 35 years of experience in international health and family planning, Perkin also spent 14 years with the Ford Foundation, where he worked as program officer in a variety of international health and population projects. He served as a long-term consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the design and research strategy of the Special Programme in Human Reproduction and has consulted with several other WHO programs. He served as a member of the Committee on Contraceptive Development of the National Academy of Sciences and as a board member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the National Council for International Health." [5]


"After obtaining his medical degree (with honors) from the University of Toronto in 1959, Perkin took an internship there and went into private practice. About two years later, he left Canada to become assistant director of clinical research for a New Jersey foundation working to improve contraceptive drugs.

"In 1964, Perkin became associate medical director for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Contraception, let alone abortion, was a politically charged issue, and Perkin learned early how to navigate turbulent waters.

"Two years later, he joined the Ford Foundation to work on family planning issues and shifted his sights outside the United States -- working in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mexico and Brazil.

"The Ford Foundation was interested in starting a non-profit organization that would build a bridge between public health agencies such as the World Health Organization and private industry. The idea was to promote inexpensive, simple contraceptive technologies for use in the developing world.

"In 1977, Perkin, along with Drs. Richard Mahoney and Gordon Duncan, started the Program for the Introduction and Adaptation of Contraceptive Technology. They set up shop in Seattle mostly because Duncan was working for the Battelle Institute, at its former research and development branch near the University of Washington, and they were given the space for free.

""We didn't have a lot of money," Perkin noted.

"As time went on, he said, the mission grew to include other primary health care needs. The name was changed to PATH in 1980.

""We used whatever worked, whatever seemed appropriate," Perkin said.

"They branched out into other areas of health, developing inexpensive diagnostic tests for diseases of the Third World, nutritional kits and educational packages. PATH also assisted developing countries in the production of their own health technologies.

"In 1995, Perkin was approached by Bill Gates Sr., who was seeking advice and information on family planning issues for his son's new philanthropic outlet, the Gates Foundation. Perkin offered his thoughts but also told the Gateses about the growing crisis in childhood immunizations. He didn't ask Gates for money or for a job." [7]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 1968 Annual Report, Ford Foundation, accessed December 10, 2007.
  2. 1977 Annual Report, Ford Foundation, accessed December 10, 2007.
  3. Poor African Countries Lack Ways to Monitor Use of New AIDS Drugs, Experts Warn, New York Times, accessed December 10, 2007.
  4. "Gordon Perkin Selected as SBRI Advnacing Global Health Award Winner", SBRI, accessed December 10, 2007.
  5. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Names Executive Team to Lead Global Health Initiatives, Gates Foundation, accessed December 10, 2007.
  6. Clear Path International People, organizational web page, accessed December 17, 2013.
  7. Modest demeanor, global vision, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, accessed December 10, 2007.