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01.16.2024

Dr. Tom Kenyon Retires After 40 Years of Global Health Service

Washington, DC (16 January 2024) – Project HOPE – the global health and humanitarian aid organization – announces the retirement of its Chief Health Officer, Dr. Tom Kenyon, after more than 40 years of public and non-profit service to the global health community. A board-certified pediatrician and medical epidemiologist, Dr. Kenyon has made groundbreaking achievements in global public health through roles at Project HOPE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Dr. Kenyon will continue supporting Project HOPE as a Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus.  

headshot of Dr. Thomas Kenyon
Dr. Tom Kenyon, Chief Health Officer

“It is with profound gratitude that Project HOPE thanks Dr. Tom Kenyon for his decades of steadfast leadership, expertise, partnership, and service to address numerous global health challenges across the globe. He has been a widely respected global health activist and instrumental in expanding Project HOPE’s partnerships around today’s global health priorities, while ensuring we remain responsive to new scientific evidence, drive innovative solutions, promote equity, prioritize local ownership, and foster sustainability,” said Rabih Torbay, President and CEO of Project HOPE. “Dr. Kenyon’s work has saved countless lives over his 40-year career and beyond and Project HOPE is a better organization because of his leadership.”  

Dr. Kenyon has a longstanding history with Project HOPE starting in 1985 when he spent seven years as a doctor in Grenada, West Indies and as Regional Director for Africa in the early stages of the HIV epidemic and the child survival revolution. Together with local counterparts, he led the development of some of the first HIV projects in Africa and trained primary health care workers to improve access to services to reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality. He lived for 21 years in various African countries and later returned to Project HOPE in 2015 as its President and CEO before assuming the role of Chief Health Officer in 2019.  

“It has always inspired me to do more when you see how local health workers grow personally and professionally as they apply what they’ve learned during training and mentoring to become leaders and amplify local efforts to save more lives,” said Dr. Tom Kenyon. “While it is bittersweet to take a step back, I am proud to have been a part of the global health community at Project HOPE and the CDC, including expanding partnerships, improving HIV control, training frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expanding the health workforce to reduce preventable deaths in women and children. I look forward to continuing to support Project HOPE as a Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus.” 

After his initial role with Project HOPE, Dr. Kenyon had a brief stint as Communicable Disease Director for the Chicago Department of Public Health before joining the CDC for field epidemiology training in the Epidemic Intelligence Service. From 1996-2002, he served as the CDC’s Country Director in Botswana to lead the “BOTUSA Project,” a research collaboration between the Botswana Ministry of Health and the CDC on the co-epidemiology of the raging HIV and TB epidemics. In 2000, Dr. Kenyon shifted from research to HIV program activities when the U.S. launched the “LIFE Initiative” and he became a key advisor to Ministry of Health colleagues on accelerating the response to Botswana’s HIV and TB epidemics, including expanding HIV testing, involving people living with HIV (PLHIV) in program leadership, establishing the Tebelopele HIV testing national network, improving blood safety, launching Africa’s first national program to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT), and preparing the health system to accommodate Africa’s first national anti-retroviral therapy (ART) program. 

Dr. Kenyon continued to make valuable contributions in the fight against HIV from 2002 to 2006 when he relocated to neighboring Namibia as the first CDC Country Director and served as its lead technical advisor to the national HIV/AIDS and TB control program and supported the country’s early efforts to launch and establish a national ART program. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Kenyon served as the second Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Chief Medical Officer for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the State Department where he brought a local programmatic perspective into the boardroom at a time when PEPFAR was still in the early stages of implementation. From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Kenyon returned to direct programmatic work as the CDC Country Director in Ethiopia where he expanded partnerships with the Ministry of Health around HIV control, timely response to public health emergencies, and capacity-building of the Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI).  

In 2013, Dr. Kenyon was selected as the second Director of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at CDC Headquarters in Atlanta for addressing challenges like HIV and TB, malaria and parasitic diseases, global immunizations, epidemic response, global operations, and coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO). He also served on the emergency operations team during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and helped to design the Global Health Security Agenda. During this time, he served as CDC’s focal point for the conceptualization, design, and launch of the “Africa CDC” with the African Union in Addis Ababa.  

After more than two decades with the CDC, Dr. Kenyon returned to Project HOPE in 2015 as its President and CEO. During this time, he helped to position the organization for strategic growth, oversaw the relocation of its headquarters to Washington, D.C., improved its responsiveness to disasters and emergencies, and helped to bring its leading health journal Health Affairs into the digital age. In 2019, Dr. Kenyon assumed the role of Chief Health Officer. In this role, Dr. Kenyon led the technical delivery and innovation of Project HOPE’s global health activities in MNCH, HIV/AIDS, TB, NCDs, public health emergencies, and health systems strengthening.  

Dr. Kenyon will continue supporting Project HOPE as a Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus. 

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