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HOSA Selects Autism Speaks as National Service Project for Two More Years

(NEW YORK, NY – July 10, 2008) – The Voting Delegates of the national student organization Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) have unanimously chosen Autism Speaks to be their service project for a second term, from 2008-2010. HOSA initially selected Autism Speaks as its national service project in 2006 to help raise awareness about autism and to teach students how they can make a difference in the lives of individuals and families living with autism. HOSA chapters have actively supported Autism Speaks by participating in fundraising events throughout the country, including the Walk Now for Autism program. In just two years, 96,000 HOSA members have raised over $150,000 for Autism Speaks.

Each year, individual HOSA chapters across the country participate in a series of competitive events that conclude with a recognition event. During this year's National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas, HOSA honored their two top fundraising chapters, North Carolina HOSA and LI Nassau/Suffolk BOCES, for raising $18,000 and $11,000 respectively. Chapters receive points toward winning the national HOSA award by conducting fundraising and awareness projects for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks provides local support to individual HOSA chapters in the form of marketing materials, as well as visits to chapter events and presentations at local conferences by staff and volunteers.

“Autism Speaks is proud to have HOSA renew its commitment to Autism Speaks. As the number of children and adults with autism continues to grow it is vital that we cultivate a new generation of health-care providers, advocates and ambassadors to provide critically needed services to individuals with autism and their families,” said Lisa Gallipoli, Autism Speaks' national director of field operations. “We embrace the opportunity to partner again with the HOSA members – educating and engaging them in our cause, with the hope that this is just the beginning of their involvement with and support of the autism community.”

About HOSA
HOSA is a national student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of ACTE. HOSA's two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. HOSA's goal is to encourage all health occupations instructors and students to join and be actively involved in the HSTE-HOSA Partnership.

About Autism
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks merged with the Autism Coalition for Research and Education (ACRE), the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.