Best Investment for a Healthier World


Five Questions for Kate Greene: New Chair of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition

Jessica Turner

The Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) is thrilled to welcome Kate Greene of Abt Associates as the new Chair of our member-led Steering Committee. Kate is the third Chair of the Coalition since our launch in 2012, following Mary Beth Powers of Save the Children and Julia Bluestone of Jhpiego.

Kate brings a wealth of experience working on programs strengthening the frontline health workforce in low- and middle-income countries. She began her career at Partners In Health, helping frontline health workers to scale up health services across rural Haiti. At Abt, Kate designed and managed health workforce activities in Cote d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Guinea, and Haiti through USAID’s Health Finance and Governance Project and launched a global program—HealthRise, supported by Coalition member Medtronic Foundation—equipping frontline health workers to expand access to diabetes and hypertension care. She currently leads health workforce programs in West Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean for Abt.

Kate has been an active participant in FHWC’s collective advocacy efforts since our launch. I sat down with Kate to ask about her work with the Coalition and her thoughts for its future.

Q: Which of the Coalition’s achievements are you most proud of and why?

It was nice to reflect on all the Coalition’s achievements because there have been so many in such a short time! I think the greatest achievement is that we are now seeing the importance of frontline health workers reflected in a number of strategies and reports across the U.S. government and global institutions, like USAID’s Acting on The Call: Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths or the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030. We are now the go-to coalition for global health policymakers addressing human resources for health and for health systems. I think that’s a really great achievement.

Q: In your new position as Chair, how will you guide the Coalition in achieving its policy goals?

I have a technical background as a health workforce specialist and I worked in service delivery. That experience enables me to see a lot of important movements and guidelines emerging that I think the Coalition can really run with. In the last two years, we’ve seen the World Health Organization’s community health worker guidelines, the Nursing Now campaign, USAID’s emphasis on self-reliance--which fits really well with women’s empowerment and economic growth--and WHO’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (COMHEEG). There are a lot of big ideas out there and we need to build on them to advocate for U.S. government investment in frontline health workers and solidify global policies that support frontline health workers to provide high-quality health services to every community around the world, especially those with the least access.

Q: What do you see to be the greatest strength of the Coalition?

We have a diverse and growing membership of different organizations: we have nonprofits, for-profit implementers like Abt Associates, we have private companies like Johnson and Johnson, and corporate funders like the Medtronic Foundation, and health worker associations like the American College of Nurse-Midwives. I think the fact that we are a broad coalition is what makes our U.S. government partners comfortable with engaging us and approaching us on frontline health workforce issues.  

Q: What would you like to see the Coalition advocating for in five years’ time?

I think we are at a pivotal time in terms of elevating the frontline health workforce and women’s role in the health workforce. The Lancet, for instance, just came out with its issue focused on advancing women in science and in global health. We know that women make up 70% of the health workforce but fill only 25% of leadership positions. Women health workers also face big gaps in pay equity. In five years, I hope that we are talking about how we moved the needle on this issue, because I think that empowering the health workforce and empowering women go hand in hand. I hope that in five years we, as a global health community, are able to showcase the difference that we have made.

Q: How do you plan to leverage your work and expertise to further the goals of the Coalition?

In my own day-to-day work, I work with teams in Haiti, West Africa, and across the world on health workforce policy. Working at Abt with a large domestic health workforce portfolio—with U.S. government programs like the Ryan White programs for HIV—an idea I would like to bring to the Coalition is to see how HIV programs both within the United States and globally can learn from each other. I think we have a lot to talk about, and I would like to start bringing these conversations in!

We take this opportunity to thank outgoing Chair Julia Bluestone for her ongoing dedication to the Frontline Health Workers Coalition. Julia was Chair for the last four years and will continue to serve on the Coalition's Steering Committee.

See recent posts authored by Kate Greene for the the Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Who is a Frontline Health Worker? Make Sure Pharmacists Are On Your List. and, 5 Insights on How Governance Can Help Build a Responsive Health Workforce.