Jim Turpin Founded PCI in 1961 after Saving Two Children in Tijuana
SAN DIEGO—LEAD San Diego will honor Dr. James Turpin, founder of Project Concern International (PCI), at the 2017 Visionary Awards on Thursday, June 8. He is this year’s recipient of The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building.
Named for the late Charles Nathanson, the award recognizes an individual who demonstrated visionary leadership in addressing joint solutions to cross-border issues. Nathanson was the co-founder of San Diego Dialogue at the University of California, San Diego. When he passed away in 2003, the university said he “championed the ideal that man-made borders should not be barriers to innovative, solutions-oriented thinking.”
Like Nathanson, Dr. Turpin can trace the catalyst for his life’s work back to the San Diego-Tijuana region. In 1961, he left his pediatric practice on Coronado every Thursday to volunteer across the border at a clinic called Casa de Todos. One afternoon, with just a basic medical kit, he saved the lives of two small children dying of pneumonia. The experience inspired him to start PCI.
“If those two precious lives had ended that night, something in me would have died, too,” Dr. Turpin said. “I knew then my life’s work needed to be about fighting disease and poverty among the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Since then, PCI has grown into a global development organization working in 16 countries. True to Dr. Turpin’s initial vision, PCI has programs in San Diego, Tijuana and across the U.S.-Mexico border region working to improve maternal and child health, curb infectious disease, combat human trafficking and empower women. Last year alone, PCI empowered more than 10 million people to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship in their communities.
Although retired and living in Asheville, NC, Dr. Turpin continues to advocate for PCI. He is slated to deliver brief remarks at Thursday’s ceremony, which will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.
About LEAD San Diego: LEAD San Diego provides balanced education and dialogue on issues of critical regional importance, helping a cross-section of community leaders become more informed, civically engaged and active participants in work that positively impacts the San Diego/Northern Baja California region. For more information, visit www.leadsandiego.org.
About The Visionary Awards: The Visionary Awards are LEAD San Diego’s annual opportunity to recognize and celebrate the work of inspirational San Diego leaders who have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to civic and community initiatives that positively impact the San Diego/Northern Baja California region. For more information, visit www.leadsandiego.org/visionary-awards.