Kathy Tschiegg, pictured at the Sept. 17 Salsa Sizzle fundraiser, which this year raised $41,278 for Central American Medical Outreach, was recently given Kent State University’s Distinguished Citizen Award. Tschiegg is CAMO’s founder.
Each year Kent State University selects alumni who exemplify excellence and giving back to the community. This year’s Distinguished Citizen Award went to Kathryn “Kathy” Tschiegg of Orrville, who serves as the executive director of Central American Medical Outreach.
CAMO is supported by hundreds of volunteers each year, which is a testament to Tschiegg’s leadership, collaborative spirit and ability to unite people around a cause. One such volunteer is Judy Seaman, a friend of CAMO and member of its Salsa Sizzle Planning Committee since its inception 14 years ago.
“The millions impacted by Kathy’s vision and leadership are a testimony to a life well lived and shared. She is certainly well deserving of this wonderful award,” Seaman said.
Tschiegg graduated from Kent State’s Stark campus in 1992 and founded CAMO in 1993 after serving as a Peace Corps nurse at the Hospital de Occidente in Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. During her time in the Peace Corps, she observed too many preventable illnesses and realized a new healthcare model needed to be created. CAMO improves the quality of life of people in Central America by strengthening health services and promoting sustainable community development.
Under Tschiegg’s leadership, approximately 2.9 million lives have been saved directly and indirectly as a result of CAMO’s 22 medical services including neurosurgery, ophthalmology, prosthetics and cervical cancer. CAMO trains hospital personnel in surgery, orthopedics, respiratory care, emergency care, nutrition and nursing protocols.
After observing death due to lack of CPR training, Tschiegg developed the first national training center for the American Heart Association in Honduras, training 1,500 physicians, nurses and paramedics annually in CPR and neonatal, pediatric and adult advanced life support within 15 of 18 states (departments) of Honduras.
Tschiegg has raised money for CAMO that invested nearly $4 million worth of capital improvements in Santa Rosa to combat crime and fear and promote a safe, equitable and healthy society. In 2014 she raised funds and designed and constructed the country’s second largest public health center serving 800 patients per day. CAMO’s biomedical department equips and maintains more than 200 pieces of equipment in the local hospital.
“Kathy has shown, over the many years we’ve known her, an unalterable hopefulness and faith in all kinds of situations most people would have deemed impossible or at least so daunting they’d find it easier to walk away,” Seaman said. “She is resolute in her determination and commitment to the vision begun in little more than a small amount of space in her trailer/home many years ago.
“Leading others by example has helped combat cultural beliefs, corruption, difficult country restrictions, impossible conditions.”