Executive Director appointed

Cate Michelle Desjardins, MDiv, MPH

New Executive Director appointed

The Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) Board of Directors is very pleased to present Cate Michelle Desjardins, MDiv, MPH, as the new Executive Director of MHF starting in May 2020.

Cate is passionate about integrating spirituality and faith into healthcare on all levels. She is pending Board Certification as a Professional Chaplain and has five years of experience serving highly medically complex children and their families at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Cate is also passionate about the intersection of faith and science and holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology focused on the impact of religion on healthcare locally and globally. Since earning her MPH, Cate has been a leader in promoting research in spiritual care and chaplaincy, serving on the Board of the international Joint Council for spiritual care research and convening the Pediatric Spiritual Care Research Network. As a networker, Cate has extensive experience utilizing digital technologies to connect professionals around a wide range of interests and causes.

Cate came to the Mennonite Church just after college and earned her Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 2014 from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana. Cate lives with her family in Cincinnati, Ohio and will relocate this summer to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The appointment is the culmination of a search process conducted by a Succession Planning Committee appointed by the MHF Board following the announcement in the fall of 2019 of the impending retirement of Paul Leichty. Under the leadership of Board President, Clair Hochstetler, the Committee carried out a careful process that included collecting resumes, checking references, and conducting personal online interviews via Zoom. Cate Desjardins was the consensus choice of the Committee. The Board accepted the Committee’s recommendation in a special meeting on April 30, 2020. In addition to Clair Hochstetler, Succession Planning Committee members were Richard (Rick) Hostetter, Rudi Kauffman, Joseph (Joe) Longacher, Donna Minter, and Lyubov Slashcheva.

Plans are being made for a podcast interview with Cate Desjardins in the MennoHealth Cast series to be released in late May or early June. Cate is also planning a presentation in the Virtual Gathering Series of online webinars that will take the place of Regional and Annual Gatherings which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board also plans to honor the significant contribution of Paul Leichty who has served as MHF’s first Executive Director since September 2011. Paul is leading in the orientation of Cate before officially retiring on June 1.

Clair Hochstetler sums up the feelings of the Board, “Although there are indeed significant challenges, we look forward to a collaborative and fruitful relationship as a Board during the years ahead with Cate as our Executive Director.”

A longer bio for Cate Desjardins is posted on the Staff page of the MHF website. See also Cate’s initial post on a vision for MHF. 

Short Announcement for bulletins and newsletters

Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) is pleased to present Cate Michelle Desjardins, MDiv, MPH, as its new half-time Executive Director, effective May 11, 2020.  Cate is passionate about integrating spirituality and faith into healthcare on all levels.  She came to the Mennonite Church just after college and earned her Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 2018 from AMBS. Cate also holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree, and has been a leader in promoting research in spiritual care and chaplaincy. More information at www.mennohealth.org.

Join us in welcoming Cate! 

Pave the way to the future! Your contribution to Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship provides a warm welcome to Cate and helps meet MHF’s Spring Membership Campaign goal of $20,000 by August 31! Use the Membership Form or the Contributions button below to make a contribution. 

Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship

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