In 1961, a young doctor from San Diego volunteering at a Tijuana clinic saved the lives of two small children who were dying of pneumonia. This experience led Dr. James Turpin to found PCI and forever change the lives of millions of children and families around the world by providing health and hope to those most in need.

Since then, the focus of the organization has remained true to its founder: PCI works in vulnerable communities to improve health and create long-term change by helping people help themselves. Thousands of dedicated individuals and groups have worked to make this vision a reality.

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Dr. Turpin, PCI Founder, on a medical trip in Vietnam.

Today, on November 1, PCI is celebrating 55 years of serving communities all around the world. In the spirit of celebrating how PCI has made an impact in the U.S. and abroad, hear from PCI staff on how the organization has empowered communities to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship.

George Guimaraes
President and CEO

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“Our programs have taught me time and again that people have the power to change their own lives. Our job is to provide the tools, training and resources that will help lift themselves out of poverty.”

Uli Imhoff Heine
Senior Director of Development

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(Left to Right): Janine Schooley, Senior Vice President, Programs; Uli Heine, Director of Development; and Blanca Lomeli, Senior Technical Advisor, Local Capacity Strengthening and Infectious Diseases 

“It’s been an absolute privilege serving PCI alongside the most committed and passionate staff and donors for the past 22 years. They inspire me every day to work even harder in the journey of enhancing health, ending hunger and overcoming hardship for the most vulnerable in the world. To 55 more years!”

Kurt Henne
Country Director, Malawi

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“From the origins of PCI until today, PCI has been a wonderful channel through which teams of dedicated professionals have striven to help vulnerable communities address threats to their survival and well-being. It has been an honor for me to be a member of PCI, working together with committed and enthusiastic colleagues, to increase equity and fairness in the world.”

Blanca Lomeli
Senior Technical Advisor, Local Capacity Strengthening and Infectious Diseases

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“What has impressed me the most about PCI is the commitment of its staff. The way staff responds local communities’ needs, while building local ownership is very remarkable to me. Through our work, we engage key community members as change agents and implementers of the solutions to their own challenges. Just like the team of local responders in Liberia, working at the ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit) that PCI managed. These local health workers and sanitation teams had to acquire new knowledge and learn to protect themselves, so they could then help those infected and affected by Ebola. But it wasn’t just a clinical issue for them. It was very personal; they were trying to save their own communities and understood the historical relevance and responsibility they had as a country. I am very proud of them and very proud of the work we do around the globe.”

Janine Schooley
Senior Vice President, Programs

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“Authentic – that’s a word that comes to me again and again when I think about PCI. It’s a word that first came to me when I asked community members in Guatemala during my very first visit there in 2002 about their experience with PCI and if and how it differed from their experience with other organizations who had worked in their community. The response was very strongly stated as “PCI came and did what they said they would do. PCI didn’t pretend. PCI was honest and we still feel PCI here with us.” That sense of authenticity takes many forms. For example, it is at the core of our more recent focus on “measuring the hard to measure.” Rather than just use the big words that we all know and bandy about regularly – words like empowerment, sustainability and transformation – we are really trying our best to understand what these words mean, what contributes to their fulfillment, what works and what doesn’t work and why, and why not. We are bringing authenticity by measuring lives changed across multiple intervention areas. We are bringing authenticity by measuring whether the results we have achieved have really lasted 6, 9 or more years after our projects have ended. And we are bringing authenticity to our work by calculating how transformative the benefit is that we bring to our program participants, and not just whether that benefit is direct or indirect.”

Dorothy Tlagae
Country Director, Botswana

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(Left to Right): Earl Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana; Hon. Botlogile Tshireletso, Assistant Minister of Local Government; Dorothy Tlagae, PCI Country Director, Botswana; and Grace Muzila, NACA Coordinator

“PCI has remained true to the values inspired by its founder, by remaining rooted in working with vulnerable communities and unleashing their potential for change. I go to work each day knowing that I am inspiring change in the lives of children and women we work with.”

Dr. Jim Turpin
PCI Founder

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“We’re growing phenomenally. People keep asking me, ‘What’s happening? Why is this true?’ There’s a spirit, a commitment, an enthusiasm, a sympathy, an empathy that marks this entire operation.”