Education to address community vaccine hesitancy

Heart to Heart International has been providing COVID-19 vaccinations in under-resourced communities since March. The program is designed to work with organizations and community leaders in the most under-served areas and to reach those people who are vulnerable or hesitant.

It is done in partnership with organizations in the local Kansas City community, including Juntos Center for Advancing Health, KC Digital, Mid-America Regional Council, University of Kansas Medical Center, Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and more.  Juntos Center for Advancing Health, KC Digital, Mid-America Regional Council, University of Kansas Medical Center, Wyandotte County Health, Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and more.

Members of these organizations meet regularly to discuss progress and to brainstorm ideas. KUMC provided Area Deprivation Index (ADI) maps that show which areas have the lowest vaccination rates. Using this information, HHI then reaches out in the communities to religious leaders, schools, community groups, and offers to come to them.

“These are communities that don’t have a CVS or Walgreens on every corner,” Stacy Tobin, HHI Community Health Worker, said. “People are busy and don’t have the time necessary to get to places to receive medical care. So when we are able to plug into events that are already happening in their community, we make it easier for them.

One of those events was a family night for a school for refugee children. The pre-planned night attracted 80 families with 27 languages attend. HHI was able to provide educational materials and answer questions for the families in attendance.

Vaccine hesitancy is not individual but often community-wide. Many of the people at these events don’t know anyone who has gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, so they have questions like, “What it is like?”, “Is it safe?”, “What will it look like in the future for me and for my kids?” They often ask the community health workers themselves if they have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, because they want to hear personally from someone who has received one.

Stacy Tobin says the goal of the KC Programs department is not only vaccination, but to create deep roots in a community by providing health education and supplies the people within the communities need, including personal protective equipment, soap, sanitizer, and diapers.

Tena Tiruneh, HHI programs director said “We understand that communication and defending against misinformation must be a part of our campaigns. We also recognize that finding trusted community leaders from within each of our communities is key for disseminating our messaging.”

As of November 30, 2021, HHI has administered 6954 vaccinations at 140 events with 61 partner organizations. Find dates and times for upcoming vaccinations here.

Our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Agustina Boehringer made a series of informational videos in Spanish to educate community members on vaccine safety and efficacy. Find more videos here.

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Hygiene kits for Sack it for Santa program

Heart to Heart International believes that by working together, everyone can do more, which is why we often partner with other nonprofit and community organizations. These partnerships between organizations with different specialties provide the best possible help for people in the community and throughout the world.

One example of this is our partnership with Fox4 Love Fund for Children, an organization that bridges the gap in youth services by partnering with advocates to fulfill unique, unmet needs of children across Kansas City. We first partnered with the organization in 2020 by providing 200 hygiene kits for its May 2020 food distribution event.

2021 now marks the second year of Heart to Heart International’s collaboration with the nonprofit for its Sack it for Santa program.

Because teens aged 12-18 in disadvantaged situations are often overlooked at the holidays, Love Fund for Children created Sack it for Santa. Through this program, 2,000 teens will receive an individualized gift even though their families can’t afford it. The Love Fund for Children partners with local companies, FOX4 viewers, and committed neighbors to fill gift bags for Santa. Each bag is then distributed by the Love Fund to teens in need through partner agencies and youth advocates. These bags will assure the teens that they are valued and they matter.

The bags include a holiday gift, cold weather protection, and hygiene items – which is where HHI comes in. Recently, employees, Love Fund for Children ambassadors and community supporters came to HHI headquarters to assemble the hygiene kits that will be placed in bags for the Sack it for Santa program. It took 36 people on two separate days to create the 2,025 hygiene kits they need to fill the bags.

We are proud to work with Fox4 Love Fund for Children to help provide essential items to teens in need this holiday season.

Love Fund for Children employees, ambassadors and community supporters helped assemble more than 2,000 hygiene kits that will be given to teens in the community this holiday season.

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Partner Spotlight: ArtClass Content

BicMedia, now ArtClass Content, first became a valued supporter of Heart to Heart International when its managing partner, Austin Bickford, joined the HHI Board of Directors in 2019.

Bicoastal production company ArtClass acquired Kansas City-based video agency BicMedia in August, and BicMedia now operates as the post-production department, content studio, and Midwest hub of ArtClass.

The amazing team of designers, editors and storytellers have created a multitude of visually impacting and arresting ways to help tell the story of Heart to Heart International.

Using its expertise and talent, it has helped HHI broaden its portfolio of communications. Some of the work includes:

  • Multiple overview videos highlighting HHI’s work with COVID-19 and its work in general
  • Video message from HHI’s CEO at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing HHI’s ability and readiness to respond to the incredibly varied crises a global pandemic would create
  • A media press kit
  • Animations for social media to complement the 2020 Impact Report
  • Rebranding of HHI’s annual fundraiser, complete with new logo

For an organization like HHI, with a small team for marketing and communications, having this support has been invaluable. It enables the message and mission of HHI to reach a wider audience without an increase in overhead costs.

“Austin and everyone at the company have been wonderful to work with,” Kim Carroll, CEO of Heart to Heart International, said. “They have a passion for their work and a true desire to help that shows in everything they do with us. They are eager to help in whatever way they can, and their work is top-notch.”

ArtClass is an incubator for creativity. Combining the full spectrum of strategy, creative, production and post capabilities, we make boundary-breaking content with agencies and brands.

ArtClass, formerly BicMedia, is located in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District and boasts 7,500 square feet of office space along with a 10,000-square-foot soundstage for live-action shoots.

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Our Hero in Healthcare

Each year, a Kansas City-based business publication – Ingram’s Magazine – features outstanding health providers in its Heroes in Healthcare series.  HHI’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rick Randolph made the list for 2016.


Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rick Randolph, in blue shirt, extends his elbow to greet Major General Gary Volesky at the Tappita, Liberia Ebola Treatment Unit in January 2016.


According to Ingram’s Magazine, their Heroes in Healthcare are exemplary healthcare providers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Read the nomination and you’ll understand why Dr. Rick was included by Ingram’s in this year’s class:

Heroes-in-HealthcareRGBFeature-620x443As Chief Medical Officer for Heart to Heart International (HHI), Dr. Randolph oversees our Global Health Initiatives as well as the recent launch of our Rural Health Care program in SE Missouri.  But what makes Dr. Randolph truly stand out as a Hero in Healthcare is the path that led him to his current position. 

His experience includes leading disaster response teams in Haiti and the Philippines for HHI as a volunteer, medical exchanges through Rotary International in Kenya and Uganda, providing primary care medicine in Senegal, Haiti, Kenya and Uganda.  He has medical military experience in Senegal, Haiti and Iraq. 

Dr. Randolph deployed to Liberia in the fall of 2015 to volunteer at HHI’s Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU)Upon arriving, Dr. Randolph was named Chief Medical Officer of the ETU and remained in country until July 2016—giving up his medical practice with College Park Family Care as a result.  

His selfless commitment to serving others through healthcare, building resilience, and mentoring others to be their best is why Dr. Randolph is a Hero in Healthcare not just in KC, but all over the world.  He is an exceptional human being and employee and his talents and selflessness are treasured at HHI.

Dr. Randolph will be honored at the Ingram’s 2016 Heroes in Healthcare Awards Breakfast, Thursday March 10, 2016 in Kansas City.


2016IngramsFebruarySmall-180x234Read more about Dr. Rick Randolph, his work with HHI, and access the full list of the Heroes in Healthcare in the healthcare special report in the February issue of Ingram’s Magazine.






HHI Honored with Philly Awards

Heart to Heart International is honored to receive two Philly Awards from Nonprofit Connect for excellence in nonprofit marketing and communications.



The 2015 Philly Awards were presented November 5 in downtown Kansas City, Missouri by the KC-based Nonprofit Connect, an organization that helps link nonprofits and provide resources & networking. The awards exist to celebrate excellence in marketing and communications efforts by nonprofits as they work to achieve their mission.

HHI was awarded two Phillys – winning in the Media Relations Campaign category for our Operation Ebola submission.  That entry also earned HHI an Award of Distinction for highly placing in the judging process.

The winning media campaign focused on HHI’s efforts to inform the world that HHI was joining the fight against the Ebola epidemic as one of just a handful of organizations going to Liberia in the Fall of 2014. The campaign also featured a one-day, multi-city media outreach to showcase our first wave of responders, the medical professionals from across the country that would be joining Operation Ebola.

This campaign around Operation Ebola reached an estimated 400-million worldwide, helping to inform more people about HHI and its mission.  For those interested, we’ve collected some of the media coverage of both the launch of Operation Ebola and of our responders from cities around the country, including some of the international media coverage.

We’re honored to have been considered and to have won, and thankful for the recognition of our work to not just help people, but to increase awareness of Heart to Heart International. The more people that know, the more we can help.



The Compassion Gala: A Great Success!

The Compassion Gala was a fun and impactful evening benefiting Heart to Heart International!  Thanks to all who made it such a wonderful success!  Access the photos, the videos and more below…

Gala Wideshot

The Compassion Gala presented by Bank of Blue Valley was held on May 9th, 2015 at The Gallery Event Space in downtown Kansas City in the Power & Light District.  Just about 400 people attended the event. We were so happy to have so many people attend that were new to HHI – what a great way to introduce Heart to Heart International’s humanitarian mission to more people.

The Gala began with a VIP Reception and as evening turned to night everyone gathered for a tasty dinner and for the evening’s program emceed by Lara Moritz & Len Jennings of KMBC-TV 9.  Two well-deserved awards were presented as you’ll read about below, and the night was capped off with an exciting Fund the Mission and Live Auction overseen by auctioneer Tanna Guthrie.  Let’s not forget about the exciting Balloon Pop – more balloons next time! – and the wonderful music provided by Angela Hagenbach.

Gala Jim podiumGALA PHOTOS

Photographer Scott Reynolds snapped hundreds of photos at the Gala and of all the evening gowns and bow ties on display, and we’ve collected the best in a couple of albums on our Flickr account.

See the photos from the Gala and photos from the VIP Reception.



Heart_for_Humanity_award  2Heart for Humanity

We presented this year’s Heart for Humanity award to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, a longtime partner with HHI, who continues to do great work with us, especially in Haiti.

Learn more about why we chose the AAFP Foundation and watch a video that showcases our partnership.


Volesky temperaturePower of One Award

This year’s Power of One Award was presented to Major General Gary Volesky for leading the charge in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, and by extension, all military servicemembers who took part in that fight.

Volesky could not attend the Compassion Gala, however the Power of One was accepted on his behalf by another Army officer who worked closely with HHI in Liberia.

See the video that announced the Power of One award and learn more about why Volesky and the U.S. military deserved the honor…



JosephineOne of the more emotional moments of the evening came as everyone watched the story of Josephine, a Liberian woman who survived Ebola, lost her entire family to the virus, and then came to work with HHI in Liberia to help fight the spread of the virus.  See this powerful video…

Josephine’s story debuted at the Gala, and as it happens, that day – May 9th, 2015 – is the day Liberia was declared Ebola-free.



Again, so many thanks must be given to all of our sponsors, the attendees, the entertainers, the awardees and to the Heart to Heart International staff and volunteers who made this first ever Gala such a success.

We can do more to help around the world now, thanks to your involvement with the Gala!

See you next year!



The Compassion Gala: Honorees Announced

At this year’s Compassion Gala on May 9th, Heart to Heart International will present two distinguished awards to two very deserving honorees.

Scroll down for more info on the Compassion Gala and to make your reservations!


US Army Major General Gary J. VoleskyThe Power of One

The Power of One award is presented to an individual that exemplifies compassion toward the underserved and victims of crisis or disaster by significantly supporting Heart to Heart International’s mission to provide humanitarian healthcare to those in need.

As Commander of the military component of the United States response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Major General Volesky led U.S. troops into every corner of Liberia over the course of five months to build Ebola treatment units, establish field laboratories, and to provide logistical and operational support.

2015 Power of One Award recipient:

US Army Major General Gary J. Volesky



AAFP Foundation LogoHeart for Humanity

The Heart for Humanity award is presented to a group, organization or company that exemplifies compassion toward the underserved and victims of disaster by supporting Heart to Heart International through monetary, volunteer and gift-in-kind support.

The AAFP Foundation has worked side-by-side with HHI for more than 20 years in humanitarian initiatives, providing patient care, medical education and training, service to children, and support for disaster relief. Currently, the AAFP Foundation program, Family Medicine Cares International, brings volunteers and resources to improve the lives and health of the people of Haiti.

“By providing patient care, medical training and volunteer work in Haiti, the AAFP Foundation has worked with us to expand access to healthcare for so many. The AAFP Foundation has shown they truly have a heart for humanity” – Jim Mitchum, HHI chief executive officer.

2015 Heart for Humanity award recipient:

American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation



Presented by:

BankofBlueValley png

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Power & Light District
61 East 14th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105

6:00 pm ~ 11:00 pm


All proceeds to benefit Heart to Heart International and our humanitarian efforts around the world.

Sharing Hearts, Building Care Kits

On Valentine’s Day 2015, about 1,400 people pitched in to build 10,000 Heart to Heart Care Kits over the course of six hours using assembly line precision.

COR Care Kits 21

The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas has been a strong supporter of Heart to Heart International’s programs, especially in Haiti, and during its Share Your Heart event on Valentine’s Day, took on a massive one-time Care Kit build.  Not only did they build 10K kits, the church community donated all of the materials to make them!

Scroll to see pictures and see even more by visiting our Flickr album of the event.

COR Care Kits 6

COR Care Kits 1

COR Care Kits 7

COR Care Kits 13

COR Care Kits 14

See more pics by visiting our Flickr page.



HHI to Open Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia

Heart to Heart International CEO Jim Mitchum announced today (October 7, 2014) that HHI would open an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia to help combat the Ebola epidemic.


Mitchum: “This is no small task, nor was it an easy decision. Running an ETU in Liberia will be the most complex and challenging humanitarian effort we have ever undertaken.” 

Mitchum made the announcement at a press conference held at the new HHI headquarters in Lenexa, KS in front of a bank of cameras and news reporters. “After careful deliberation, we have decided to go to Liberia where we will open and operate a 70-bed Ebola Treatment Unit,” Mitchum said.  The ETU is already under construction in Kakata, a city about 50 miles from the capital of Monrovia.  HHI will join two other NGOs who are already operating ETUs in Liberia.

Read more of HHI’s plan to open an Ebola Treatment Unit

Joining Mitchum for the announcement was Dr. Lee Norman, Chief Medical Officer of the University of Kansas Hospital who supported the plan laid out by Mitchum, and offered “we at KU Hospital have systems in place to assure you that should Heart to Heart volunteers and staff, and their worried families, need our care, we are here to help you.”

Dr. Lee Norman


Also on hand – Tamba Hali, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs professional football team. Hali spent much of his childhood in war torn Liberia and offered support for HHI’s plan to help the people of his home country.  “The country’s been in chaos and Heart to Heart’s coming in,” Hali said. “I don’t think there’s another organization that does what they do. We just need more effort. These are good people. We’re all human beings. We’re all good people. We all want to do the right thing.”

Tamba at presser


A New CEO for Heart to Heart International

Jim Mitchum #1Heart to Heart International Inc. (HHI), one of America’s leading humanitarian organizations, is pleased to announce the hiring of Jim Mitchum as its new Chief Executive Officer.

A Kansas City resident, Mitchum most recently served as the President of the Americas for EUSA Pharma in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

“It will be an honor to lead and to help grow this inspiring organization at a time when natural disasters and the need for humanitarian assistance occur so frequently,” said Mitchum.

Mitchum has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical world, having held President, CEO and other senior-level executive positions for companies in the US and internationally.

Learn more about Jim Mitchum’s executive background

“Jim rose to the top,” said Bob Lambrechts, HHI board member and search committee chair, “due to a number of factors including his pharmaceutical industry experience, his international business acumen, and a long-standing personal philosophy that matches with Heart to Heart International.”

Mitchum takes the helm at Heart to Heart International on September 2, 2014.