Media Contact

Elly Brtva
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Come Join Our Journey

It’s been a month since PAHEF asked me to step in as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, and I have already absorbed so much from our volunteers, donors, staff, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) colleagues, and public health educators throughout the Americas. The diversity and breadth of our collective experiences are what make PAHEF an impactful organization. Thank you for entrusting me with this role as I help leverage these strengths. I still have so much to learn from you all as we move forward.


As PAHEF celebrates its 45th anniversary on July 22nd, I ask you to reflect on what experiences in your life brought you take interest in PAHEF.   Where were you 45 years ago? My path to PAHEF started out in an unlikely place: Joliet, Illinois. Known for its prison on the east side of town, Joliet was where I grew up, dreaming of being an EKG technician, a French translator, a medical illustrator, nursing home administrator and then into the world of non-profit and philanthropy.  


Although my career aspirations weren’t consistent back then, my family and my neighborhood best friend, Elizabeth, whose family is from Mexico, was indeed a constant. With their support, I dedicated my life after graduate school to philanthropy. I worked hard at connecting donors to causes passionate about improving public health: community-based programs, suicide prevention, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Each experience had offered its lessons to me.


Fast forward to 2012 when I joined PAHEF. Impressed by its mission to improve health throughout the Americas and its connection to PAHO, the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), I hit the ground running as Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer. Like me, PAHEF has gone through many changes throughout the years. However, also like me, PAHEF’s past experiences has only made it stronger. Today more than ever, PAHEF is best suited to build philanthropic support for our colleagues at PAHO.


But I am only one story. Our dedicated volunteers and colleagues contribute their own experiences—knowledge from the field—to solving problems in the Americas. They have seen firsthand the devastation of inadequate resources. Each year, we establish initiatives that help will help them directly improve the public health of the Americas. We can only do this with your help. Your philanthropic contributions will provide the resources our team members need.  


It is with renewed energy and commitment that I ask our friends—private partners, individuals, foundations and corporations—to consider their journey to PAHEF. What experiences and strengths can you contribute to make our mission possible?


No matter where in the Americas you are, we can use your leadership, volunteerism, and financial gifts. Start today by sending me an email to ask how you can help. Feel free to communicate in English, Spanish (I’m learning) or French (I’m remembering!). We have created a special email box: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. for this information. Or, in honor of PAHEF’s journey thus far, join me in contributing $45, $450, $4,500, $45,000, $450,000 or keep those adding those zeros if you are able! Together, we can usher PAHEF into the next 45 years and beyond! We have so much we can accomplish for the peoples of the Americas! Thank you! Gracias! Merci! Obrigado!



Eleanor “Elly” Brtva, MPH, CFRE

Interim President and CEO

Modelo de proyectos recientes de PAHEF en la región.