Child health and nutrition is near and dear to PCI Board Member, Kurt Honold. In fact, he’s made it the primary focus of his philanthropic efforts. We recently caught up with Kurt to hear about his board visit to PCI’s field programs in Tijuana, and what fuels his passion for betterchild health and nutrition for Mexico’s future generations.
PCI: You recently arranged for PCI board members to visit our programs in Tijuana. Why do you feel it was it important for them to see our work firsthand?
KH: I took the board members to a hospital near where PCI started its first programs 50 years ago. Although the small clinic where founder Jim Turpin began is work (https://www.pciglobal.org/pci-founder-dr-james-turpin) is no longer there, the hospital we visited is a direct result of PCI’s efforts.
PCI: Were there remnants of PCI still visible at the hospital?
KH: Yes, some of the nurses that Dr. Turpin worked with are still affiliated with the hospital, and came to greet us during the visit. It is an example of PCI’s lasting impact in communities where it works.
PCI: You also showed the board a mobile clinic operating in a nearby colonia.
KH: Yes, these well-baby clinics are the backbone of PCI’s community healthcare system, and I wanted the board to see the tireless efforts of these volunteers. Many have stayed with programs for many, many years and are trusted health advisers in these neighborhoods. They are often the only healthcare provider these neighborhoods see.
PCI: The board visited with current Mayor Tijuana, Carlos Bustamante, as well. How is he a PCI supporter?
KH: The Bustamante family has been involved with PCI for many years. Carlos’ father, Alfonso Bustamante, was a Tijuana visionary and successful utilities businessman and commercial developer. He was a long-time PCI supporter, and his daughter Norma served on our board. Carlos was also involved in PCI’s early work in Tijuana as volunteer and supporter. Mayor Bustamante knows that PCI works to fill the gap in healthcare services for the region, and appreciates our efforts.
PCI: As a former mayor of Tijuana yourself, how do you see government partnerships integral to PCI’s work?
KH: We are targeting the government to help us spread education about proper child nutrition on a larger scale. We know we need the government’s reach, and they need our expertise, so it’s a perfect partnership. Child obesity and diabetes are the number one heath concerns facing Mexican children, and we need mass public education. We are in the process of partnering with teh health department and social departments to create this public awareness program.
PCI: So what keeps you going, fighting this battle for child health?
KH: My parents’ generation lacked education about proper child health and nutrition. Now that we know why we need proper nutrition and that healthy meals can cost the same as choosing unhealthy ones, we need to education parents about why they need to choose healthy alternatives. This current generation of children is leaders of the next generation. It can have a lasting effect.