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Interact for Health announced today that it has hired Kate Schroder as its new President and CEO. Schroder is currently Interim Chief Strategy Officer at the Health Collaborative. She will start her new role at Interact for Health on Jan. 1, 2022.
"Kate has a mix of skills and experiences that will greatly benefit the mission of Interact for Health to make Greater Cincinnati one of the healthiest regions in the country," said Rick Williams, Chair of the Board. "Through her recent work on the COVID-19 regional response, she has built strong working relationships with local health care and public health leaders. Her previous work with the Clinton Health Access Initiative—especially her work creating health care access in Zambia and southern Africa—gave Kate a strong background in public health, health access and health equity, and working relationships with national foundations—all important to the work of Interact for Health going forward."
A native of Cincinnati, Schroder has experience leading health initiatives locally and internationally. In her current role with the Health Collaborative, Schroder oversees a collaborative effort to increase COVID-19 vaccination throughout 14 counties in Greater Cincinnati and to address disparities in vaccination rates. In recent months, she has also taken on strategic planning duties for the Health Collaborative, engaging its board, regional health leaders and other key stakeholders. Since 2016, Schroder has served on the Cincinnati Board of Health, working with Interact for Health and other key partners to expand dental care to children, and to strengthen services in the city's 23 federally qualified health centers.
In 2020, Schroder was a candidate for Congress in Ohio's 1st District, running on a platform to expand access to affordable health care and economic mobility. For 12 years before that, she held various leadership roles with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a 1,400-person organization spanning 35 countries. As a Vice President leading child health programs, she helped to reduce drug prices by 40% and increased the number of children receiving correct treatment by 50 million in four focus countries: India, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. She led teams with 75 staff members and budgets of more than $80 million.
Interact for Health selected Schroder after a national search conducted by executive recruiting firm Cooper Coleman LLC, which specializes in the recruitment of leaders for nonprofit organizations, following Dr. O'dell Owens' retirement in March 2021.
A three-person executive team—Christine Bennett, Ross Meyer and Patricia Ruwe—led the organization during the transition and will continue to do so until Schroder starts in January.
"On behalf of the board, I'd like to thank Christine, Ross and Patti for their interim leadership and continued service to Interact for Health," Williams said. "Next year will be an exciting time for Kate to join the foundation. It will be the final year for our current strategic plan, which focuses on addressing the opioid epidemic, reducing tobacco use and improving access to health care through school-based health centers. Kate will provide leadership to the staff and board as we embark on a new strategic plan, and as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic."
In her new position, Schroder will work with staff and the board to provide leadership, direction and vision to the organization and to develop strategy. She will oversee a staff of 21 and annual investments of more than $7 million to support the community via grantmaking, community research and evaluation, and education. Working with Interact for Health's Board, Schroder will also help manage the foundation's charitable endowment, currently valued at more than $260 million.
"Interact for Health has a tremendous opportunity to build on its strong legacy and to further advance health outcomes—and health equity—in the Greater Cincinnati region," Schroder said. "Now more than ever, partners have come together across the community to respond to the pandemic. I am excited to help build on that platform to align resources and strengthen partnerships that will move the needle on some of our most pressing health challenges, including racial disparities and mental health. I'm humbled by the challenge and opportunity ahead—and excited for what we can achieve together."
Schroder holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Results from her work reducing childhood mortality and strengthening health systems in low-resources settings have been published in several academic journals, including the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
In 2011, Schroder was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, an experience that she says helps to fuel her passion for improving health care—knowing firsthand what it feels like when one's survival is dependent on access to treatment. She remains active in patient advocacy and helping to support research through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Schroder and her husband, John Juech, live in Cincinnati with their two children. She is active in community and civic affairs and has been serving on the Cincinnati Board of Health since 2016. In 2017, Schroder was named a WCPO Next Nine honoree, recognizing nine rising stars who are transforming the health care sector.
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