Children’s Place International Hero Award

Children’s Place International honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitments to helping children overcome severe illness and poverty.

Individuals can be nonprofit team members, philanthropists, private sector leaders, or volunteers who have played a significant role in helping children.

Past Hero Award Recipients

Dr Esther

Dr. Esther Majaliwa

Dr. Esther began her career as a pediatrician at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in 2013. The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania, through the financial support of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, provided resources for Dr. Esther’s training as a pediatric oncology fellow at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. She also trained in pediatric palliative care. As a native Tanzanian and mother of three children, Dr. Esther can relate to parents when their children get a cancer diagnosis. Realizing that every child’s life is precious and worth fighting for, she feels uniquely qualified to give hope and support to families.

Edward F. Otto

Ted is a Principal at Ted Otto Group LLC. He joined the Children’s Place International Board in 2010. Over the next twelve years, he continued to lead with his heart, mind, and ethical approach to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Through his experience in serving in leadership and as a consultant to non-profits, he has deeply understood the unique role non-profits play in society. He has provided outstanding service to the Board and to the children and youth in our programs.

Loune ViaudLoune Viaud

For over three decades, Loune Viaud led Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health, Haiti) – a partner of Children’s Place International – mostly recently as the former Executive Director. Under her leadership, Zanmi Lasante grew to become one of the largest and most impactful non-governmental healthcare providers in Haiti. Loune also founded the first women’s health clinic in Haiti, and she co-founded a home for orphaned and abandoned children after the 2010 earthquake, named Zanmi Beni. She has received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, was named as Ms. Magazine’s Women of the Year, and has addressed the UN Security Council on the state of children and women in Haiti.  She is now the Founding Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity – Haiti and the Chief of Gender and Social Equity for Partners in Health globally.

Cathy KriegerCathy Krieger, LCSW, MA, MA, MBA

Over thirty years ago, Cathy Krieger, then the Director of Social Services for the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic, knew she had to do something more to support children and families in Chicago devastated by the HIV / AIDS epidemic. Drawing on her expertise in social work and passion for community-led change, she founded Children’s Place Association in 1989 and its global subsidiary, Children’s Place International, in 2007. Children’s Place works alongside communities at home and abroad to address the health challenges and trauma associated with poverty and injustice so that all children can thrive. Under Cathy’s leadership, the organization has been a driving force for equity and has helped thousands of vulnerable kids attain a brighter future

Mina Halpern LozadaMina Halpern Lozada, MPH

Mina has been the Executive Director of Clínica de Familia La Romana since 2011, where she provides overall programmatic and administrative leadership. Previously, Mina was the program coordinator for Clínica de Familia’s adolescent clinic and the program to prevent HIV vertical transmission (2009-2011). From 2006 to 2008, Mina served as a Program Management Fellow with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global AIDS Program in Guyana. Prior to 2006, Mina served in a few different positions in the areas of reproductive health and HIV in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Mina, originally from Washington State, received her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wesleyan University, her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington, and a Certificate in Managing Healthcare Delivery from Harvard Business School.

Marc JulmisseMarc Julmisse

Marc Julmisse is the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and the Deputy Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) in Haiti, a 300-bed facility. As the CNO, she is responsible for the Nursing services at HUM leading a team of 400 staff members As the Deputy COO she shares the responsibility for the clinical, financial, and operational leadership at HUM focusing on strategic planning hospital development and capacity building.

Jerome McDonaldJerome McDonald

Jerome McDonald has hosted Worldview, WBEZ’s global affairs program, since 1994. Currently, he is WBEZ’s Environmental Reporter.

F Chite AsirwaF. Chite Asirwa, MD

Dr. F. Chite Asirwa is a leader and pioneer in the treatment of cancer in children and adults in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Asirwa is the Field Director of the Oncology and Hematology Program at AMPATH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Visiting Faculty at Moi University & Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. AMPATH is a consortium of North American universities, led by Indiana University, collaborating with Kenya’s Moi University. AMPATH provides healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Kenyans. Under Dr. Asirwa’s leadership, the number of patients treated at AMPATH’s cancer clinic in Western Kenya has grown from 400 patients in 2011 to 10,000 patients in 2017. A hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Asirwa’s many contributions include providing direct clinical care to cancer patients, building Kenyan and, more generally, Sub-Saharan African capacity to address cancer through oncology education and training and leading and participating in numerous research studies. Through Children’s Place International’s Healthcare Partners for Access initiative, Dr. Asirwa and the AMPATH team are currently collaborating with a team from Takeda Pharmaceuticals to establish a program to address Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a particularly aggressive form of pediatric cancer.

Princess Kasune ZuluHonorable Princess Kasune Zulu of Zambia

Honorable Princess Kasune Zulu of Zambia s an HIV-positive woman from who gained international recognition for her advocacy on behalf of children, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2016 she was elected to Zambia’s Parliament, the first member to openly declare her HIV-positive status. Her advocacy began in her teens, soon after she lost her parents and siblings to AIDS. As a young girl, Princess volunteered in local hospitals to care for HIV/AIDS patients. As a young woman, she hitch-hiked across Zambia to educate truck drivers about HIV/AIDS. Princess launched two NGOs to help those impacted by illness, including Foundation of Life, a school and home for orphans. The nonprofit now partners with rural communities to build schools, clinics and clean water capacity. Princess also hosted her own HIV-focused radio show called “Positive Living.” Sponsored by UNICEF, it ran for five years, broadcasting in eight languages. She has met with many world leaders and spoken at health forums across the globe, including Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom and, more extensively, in the United States.


There is no English term similar to the Haitian Creole word “Konbit,” but a rough translation would be “cooperative” or “working together.” And that’s what this nonprofit is all about – Working Together for Health in Limonade, Haiti. Konbit was founded in 2006 by a group of caring people in Columbus, Indiana who made a connection with the community of Limonade, Haiti. The organization is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the people who live in this northern agricultural area.

Konbit is Children’s Place International’s longest continuing partner, supporting our work since 2008. Its contributions total nearly $200,000. Konbit has directly impacted the lives of hundreds of vulnerable children through sponsorship of projects in Limonade targeting impoverished families. With funding from Konbit and other partners, Children’s Place International provides Haitian children affected by HIV/AIDS and their families with biweekly visits and basic needs including food and clean water, medical care assistance and supportive services.

Gary HarperGary Harper, PHD, MPH

Gary Harper is a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and a member of the Children’s Place International Board of Directors. For more than 20 years Dr. Harper has worked to respond to the needs of young people, especially those marginalized by poverty, sexual orientation, or race. He has worked collaboratively with community partners to develop and evaluate culturally and developmentally appropriate health interventions for thousands of youth in the U.S. and Africa. Since 2004, Dr. Harper worked with Children’s Place International to train front line child-serving organizations in Botswana to provide psychosocial support, benefiting an estimated 10,000 vulnerable children and adolescents. In 2014, Dr. Harper and Children’s Place International were recognized by the American International Health Alliance for their work in Botswana. Since 2015 Dr. Harper has led a team to develop an intervention to help families in Mozambique to support their HIV positive adolescents. In addition to his academic, research and field activities, Dr. Harper is also a member of the Behavioral Leadership Group within the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions.

James B. McAuleyJames B. McAuley, MD, MPH, DTM&H, MDIV

Dr. James McAuley is a Pediatrician and Global infectious Disease Specialist. He has committed his career to helping underserved populations in the U.S. and Africa. Beginning in Chicago, Dr. McAuley served as Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Rush University and was the consulting Medical Director for Children’s Place International. Dr. McAuley began working in Africa in 2011 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a medical officer for PEPFAR Zambia (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). He led two major public-private initiatives Saving Mothers Giving Life and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. In 2014 he was named the CDC Zambia Country Director. While in Zambia, he provided care for patients and taught infectious disease trainees at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. Dr. McAuley twice served in Sierra Leone 2014-15 as the CDC Team Lead wher