Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship

MHF Staff

Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) staff persons serve the organization from offices in their home or work setting.

New! MHF welcomes new Executive Director Cate Michelle Desjardins!

Cate Michelle Desjardins

Executive Director

Cate Michelle DesjardinsCate Michelle Desjardins, MDiv, MPH, began as Executive Director of MHF in May of 2020.

Cate is passionate about integrating spirituality and faith into  healthcare on all levels.

For the past five years, Cate has served part-time as a pediatric specialist chaplain at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she both conducts research and provides clinical chaplaincy. Cate has also completed a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology with a focus on the intersection of religion/spirituality with physical and mental health globally as part of her Fellowship with Transforming Chaplaincy, funded through the John Templeton Foundation.

Since that time, Cate has been a leader in spiritual care research. She collaborates with nurse researchers, physicians, respiratory therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and healthcare social workers both nationally and internationally in her research efforts. Cate’s primary area of research interest is understanding the role that faith plays as people struggle to make extremely difficult medical decisions for their children or loved ones who cannot decide for themselves. She was a collaborator for a paper on the subject recently published in the Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy.

Complementing her chaplaincy and research work, Cate is the convener of the international Pediatric Spiritual Care Research Network. The network utilizes digital technologies to provide webinars, educational programs, mentoring, and consulting for pediatric chaplains and allied health professionals interested in understanding or conducting research in pediatric spiritual care. In its first year, the network has attracted half of the pediatric chaplains in the US and continues to gain momentum.

Cate came to the Mennonite Church just after college and graduated from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 2014 with an MDiv in Theology and Ethics. While in seminary, Cate explored the intersections of faith and science and wrote her thesis on an Anabaptist theological response to genetically engineered seeds (GMOs). Cate is passionate about the unique contributions of Anabaptist peace theology towards a renewal of moral imagination in the sciences and healthcare professions.

Cate lives with her family in Cincinnati, Ohio, and spent the last four years serving as a foster parent and respite provider for children including those impacted by the opioid epidemic. Cate speaks French due to family heritage, American Sign Language, and is learning Armenian. In her spare time, she runs the travel blog, Sacred Wanderings, and is a classically trained harpist. She loves watching Jaques Pepin cook on PBS and Jessica Fletcher solve mysteries on “Murder She Wrote.”

Andrew Metzler

Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper

Andrew MetzlerAs of December 1, 2019, Andrew Metzler, Birmingham, Alabama, is serving as Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper for Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship. Andrew works as a Practice Administrator for private cardiology group near Birmingham. His professional background is in physician practice management and health care finance and analytics. After studying Health Care Management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he earned his Masters in Health Administration from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Andrew grew up in the Birmingham area, attending Faith Chapel Mennonite Church and currently lives with his wife, Cecily, who is a Nurse Practitioner, and attends Cross Creek Baptist Church, in Birmingham. His hobbies include flying as a recreational pilot, traveling, spending time outdoors, and volunteering.

Paul D. Leichty

Executive Director, Sept. 2011 – May 2020

pdl201512-200w Paul Leichty began his part-time work as Executive Director of MHF on September 1, 2011. From that time until November 2016, he worked from an office on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.  Following that, he worked from his home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Prior to and concurrent with his work with MHF, Paul filled a number of positions in churches and church-related organizations.

For about 16 years, Paul served as a pastor in cross-cultural urban congregations in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana and faced a variety of situations involving disabilities, mental health, and addictions. He also served several other congregations in Indiana as a part-time music minister.

Paul helped in the start-up or re-organizational phases for a number of community and church-related organizations including, Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN or ADNet),  and Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN).

Paul is retiring from Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship as of June 1, 2020. He continues to live in Loyalsock Township just east of the city of Williamsport, Pennsylvania with his wife, Twila Charles Leichty. He involved in his home church, Agape Fellowship of the Mennonite Church, a congregation of LMC (Lancaster Mennonite Conference), as a teacher and elder.



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