Project HOPE names Thomas Kenyon CEO

Thomas Kenyon

Project HOPE announced on Friday that Dr. Thomas Kenyon will be president and CEO of the international health and humanitarian organization based in Millwood.

Kenyon, who succeeds Dr. John Howe III, will move to the area from Atlanta, Georgia, and begin his new role on Oct. 1.

One of the Clarke County organization’s top choices, he brings much personal knowledge of the organization to his new leadership role, said Miriam Wardak, vice president and chief human resources officer for Project HOPE.

He brings more than two decades experience working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most recently as director of the Center for Global Health.  He was a key member of the U.S. government team that coordinated the White House’s mobilization against Ebola and is a veteran of the worldwide fight against HIV and AIDS, and was the principal deputy global AIDS coordinator and chief medical officer for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief at the U.S. Department of State.

He was director for Project HOPE in Swaziland from 1987 to 1992 and a consultant pediatrician for a HOPE program in Grenada, West Indies, in the mid-1980s.

“We had a significant level of interest across many regions and field and sectors, and we were very fortunate that we were able to talk with several [interested] people,” Wardak said. “I think it’s a credit to Project HOPE and its mission that we were able to attract this many qualified candidates.”

“[Kenyon] is a very well-qualified leader in the global health arena,” she said. “He knows us and appreciates the work.”

Project HOPE was founded in 1959 and now conducts nearly 60 land-based medical training and health education programs in more than 30 countries. Active in its disaster relief efforts, Project HOPE has volunteers in Nepal, following an earthquake and several aftershocks this spring. The organization has funneled millions of dollars to the relief effort through gift in kind donations.

Currently traveling in Africa, Kenyon praised the organization’s long history of success.

“I feel honored and privileged to return to and lead Project HOPE,” he stated in a news release from Project HOPE. “Together with HOPE’s dedicated leadership team, talented staff, selfless volunteers and many invaluable partners, I will be committed to ensuring it remains a unique and vital force in global health, while constantly evolving to meet urgent needs where our skills and resources can have the most impact on human lives.”

Kenyon holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology from Indiana University and a master’s in public health with a focus on international health from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He completed medical school at the University of Missouri and a three-year residency in pediatrics at the University of Arizona Health Services Center in Tucson.

Until Kenyon takes over in October, Executive Chair Richard Clark will continue as interim leader of Project HOPE and ease the transition from one president to the next.

“This was a planned approach,” Wardak said. “[But] the sense of excitement is wonderful, and we are excited for the future.”

For more information, visit http://www.projecthope.org or follow the organization’s Twitter account, @projecthopeorg.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com