Virginia Proctor is 84 years old and her relentless dedication to improving the health of all people is an inspiration. Proctor is an integral part of the Global Health Action.
Global Health Action’s early years is the story of two hardworking and determined women who chose to devote their time to make this dream organization a reality. Against all odds in the late 1960’s, Proctor and co-founder, Ada Fort realized that the huge discrepancies in global health care needed to be addressed. Sadly, many health professionals in developing countries did not have access to current information and research that was vital for diagnosis, treatment and care of disease.
Proctor and Fort knew that healthy people and healthy communities result in a healthy world. They worked tirelessly to make this a reality. It took several years of planning, studying and petitioning for funds before their diligence paid off and the International Nursing Services Association (INSA) was founded in Atlanta.
INSA is now known as Global Health Action (GHA). It is a private nonprofit organization that was established in 1972 to improve global health. Its mission is to empower health professionals from across the globe by enhancing their leadership and management skills so they can deliver better health care to their communities. With a proven history of designing and conducting community health training, leadership and management programs, GHA has trained more than 5,800 health professionals from 88 countries. Those graduates in turn serve 75 million people worldwide.
Through GHA, Proctor conveys the message that global health is a necessity as opposed to a privilege. She generates an understanding among people that it is the local leaders that can affect the greatest change because they are a part of the culture and the community. In addition, they have a vested interest and commitment to improving local health conditions. Proctor has been an integral part of the organization in excess of 30 years. She began as co-founder and a volunteer who has donated numerous hours of her time to speak, teach and fundraise on behalf of GHA.
Today, Proctor’s main passion is to raise awareness of GHA’s Give a Goat Project. This project provides Haitian families with a source of milk, meat and money that pays for school tuition, additional food and medical expenses. For her 80th birthday, Proctor accepted no material gifts. Instead she used a challenge to her church to raise money to purchase 25 goats for families in the mountains of Haiti. She then received 54 birthday goats for walking five miles in the Atlanta Hunger Walk. Four years and numerous goats later, Proctor, known as the “Goat Lady,” still receives goats for the Haitian project. To date, more than 400 goats have been donated at her request.
Proctor is an invaluable gem to GHA. At the age of 84, she still attends conferences, fairs and other events on behalf of GHA. The Atlanta Journal Constitution highlighted her because of her efforts to help others. She has and continues to have a far-reaching effect to serve others.