Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92

Image of Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92

One woman’s journey from Ohio to Honduras inspires lifesaving change.

Kathryn Tschiegg, ’92, is the founder and executive director of Central American Medical Outreach (CAMO), a nondenominational, Christian-based, humanitarian organization that brings medical services, education and community development to Central America. While she founded CAMO shortly after graduating from Kent State in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, the inspiration for this organization was sparked long before she even enrolled at the university. Kathy started her career in 1979 as a Peace Corps nurse in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. It was there she saw how deeply the country and its people were affected by malnutrition, illiteracy and an overall lack of education and healthcare services. When she returned to Honduras in 1989 and saw that conditions had only worsened, she realized she would need to create an infrastructure for sustainable change to make a real impact. Under Kathy’s leadership, approximately 2.9 million lives have been saved directly and indirectly as a result of CAMO’s 22 medical services including surgery, women’s health, biomedical engineering, audiometry, prosthetic and orthotic disability, and general health services such as dentistry, nutrition, psychology and more. CAMO has also invested nearly $4 million in capital improvements in Santa Rosa, Honduras, to combat crime and promote a safe, equitable and healthy society. To honor Kathy’s lifesaving work, the Kent State Alumni Association presented her with the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award.

KSU: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
KT: The moment that you realize your life has had purpose and impact. I recently visited one of our programs, a community center for adults and children, and there was a 35-year-old man working out who kept looking at me. I caught his eye and his smile, and he approached me to ask, "Do you know or remember me?" Embarrassed, I apologized and said I could not place him. He said, "When I was 12, I was saved by a ventilator you brought to the public hospital, and you cared for me and saved my life." I hugged him… and that moment was perfect happiness.

KSU: What is your favorite trait in others?
KT: Honesty.

KSU: What trait about yourself do you like least?
KT: High work ethic and the expectation of the same in others.

KSU: Who has had the greatest influence on your life?
KT: My parents and extended family.

KSU: What is your favorite Kent State memory?
KT: Seeing one of my ICU paraplegic patients studying music at Kent State.

KSU: What is your favorite journey?
KT: Biking Montana with a group of friends.

KSU: What is your guilty pleasure?
KT: Just hanging out and doing nothing with one or two friends.

KSU: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
KT: Being the founder of CAMO and seeing all the changes and lives that have been positively impacted by our programs and services.

KSU: If you could come back as one person, who would it be and why?
KT: I would not wish to come back as another person, but perhaps I’d be an invisible person to gain a better understanding of what goes on with leaders – to know firsthand what is the truth and what is manipulation of others.

KSU: What part of your college experience most formed who you are today?
KT: My nursing degree and my business degree. I use both every day. There are so many people with medical problems but no financial support. To be able to be an entrepreneur bringing services to the poor in a sustainable way enables me to use both of my degrees daily.


POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2022 04:02 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 02:46 PM