Christine Knudsen, Senior Vice President of Programs, joined Heart to Heart International in November and has jumped in with both feet! Previously, she promoted safe and sustainable cities by reducing inequality, discrimination, and poverty in her role for UN Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
Read all about her expansive international nonprofit career on our staff bio page.
Recently, Christine visited one of our partners to learn more about the HHI Community Health program. Read a first-hand account of her first few months below:
Late last year, I had the great pleasure of walking through the HHI doors to take up my new position as SVP for Programs. I knew it was going to be exciting work, full of discovery and learning and leading and growing, with an organization that I respect and with a clear vision and values. The welcome has been smooth and the colleagues patient, the coffee has been good and the company even better. I have met with my team, and so many others across the organization, volunteers, and friends of HHI. And recently I got to see what all of this work means in practice as I visited one of our Community Health programs in KCMO.
It’s easy to forget that we live in the midst of so many people in crisis, lacking access to basic healthcare and the fundamentals of dignity. This doesn’t just happen on the TV, after a hurricane destroys clinics, or in the middle of a war as in Ukraine. Even here in the Kansas City area, as I saw recently, we work with people who have been exploited, trafficked, denied access even to their own identity cards, developing physical and mental illnesses that go untreated. Without medication, without safe housing, without basic sanitation, just having access to an aspirin or being able to rest when they feel unwell becomes a life-giving opportunity. These are things that we all take for granted, and it was powerful to be reminded of just what we can do to ease illness, provide comfort, and support our partner organizations who are seeking solutions for these women and others. The visit to the Community Health program in KCMO was a good reminder of what we can do, each of us in our own way and as part of HHI’s unending commitment to improving access to healthcare for all. – Christine Knudsen