Grounds for Health announces new Executive Director, Kyle Engelman

Grounds for Health Names Kyle Engelman As New Executive Director

Kyle Engelman succeeds Ellen Starr to lead the global health NGO in its mission to prevent cervical cancer in coffee producing regions

Williston, VT – November 15, 2023 – Grounds for Health today announced that its Board of Directors has hired Kyle Engelman as the new Executive Director starting Friday, December 1, 2023. Kyle is currently the organization’s Director of Philanthropy and will succeed Ellen Starr. Ellen is retiring after serving Grounds for Health for thirteen years, including the past five in the Executive Director position.

Kyle has a long history with Grounds for Health and brings a wealth of experience in program development, clinical insight, as well as partnerships and fundraising. From 2013-2016, Kyle served as Grounds for Health’s Program Manager, leading country teams in Peru, Nicaragua and Ethiopia and starting the program in Kenya. She then left Grounds for Health for Ariadne Labs, where she was Program Manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Safe Childbirth Checklist trial in India and then Senior Program Manager and Program Director for the Serious Illness Care Program. When she returned to Grounds for Health in 2020, Kyle led development and communications, successfully building relationships with existing and new donors to grow the income annually and expanding the communications team to engage new audiences.

“I speak for the entire Board of Directors when I say how thrilled we are that Kyle has accepted the position of Executive Director,” notes Linda Smithers, Board Chair. “Ellen has done an amazing job establishing Grounds for Health as a leader in delivering high quality care to women living in coffee growing regions, and because Ellen and Kyle have worked closely together for years, we know the transition will be seamless.”

Ellen Starr joined Grounds for Health in 2010 and was Clinical Director before serving as Executive Director since 2018. She has led the organization in the adoption of cutting-edge technologies for high quality cervical cancer prevention including HPV self-sampling for screening, thermal ablation for treatment, and digital cervicography for quality assurance. These high quality, low-resource-compatible tools, alongside the geographic expansion of programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, have contributed to more than 115,000 women screened in Ellen’s five-year tenure as Executive Director.

Kyle Engelman will officially step into the role on December 1st. “I feel excited, eager, and humbled by the opportunity to lead Grounds for Health,” said Kyle. “Since my first day at Grounds for Health, I have been continually inspired by its mission, staff, Board members, partners and donors. Most of all, I am inspired by the women we serve in coffee communities around the world. Providing them with high quality, compassionate healthcare remains my top priority, and I am honored to work alongside a global community of people who share this commitment.”

Dan Cox, Grounds for Health co-founder, Board member emeritus and owner of Coffee Enterprises reflected on the leadership transition. “Grounds for Health was founded on the belief that healthy women are critical to the resilience of coffee growing communities. I’m excited by Kyle’s commitment and enthusiasm to take us forward to save more women’s lives. We will be forever grateful for Ellen’s service and professionalism.”

About Grounds for Health
Grounds for Health (GfH) is an international non-profit based in Williston, VT with the
mission to prevent cervical cancer in coffee communities. The organization has over 26 years’ experience partnering with the coffee industry and global and local health partners to implement high quality, locally-based screen and treat programs for women. To date, over 210,000 women have been screened and 17,000 treated to prevent cervical cancer. In 2022, GfH introduced the innovative screening technique of HPV self-sampling, allowing women from remote settings to experience high quality healthcare without requiring a clinic visit. Grounds for Health’s vision is to build a bridge to globally inclusive care.

To learn more about Grounds for Health, visit or follow the organization on social media @groundsforhealth


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