Recording: First CORE Group 25th Anniversary Fireside Chat!

CORE Group’s first 25th Anniversary Fireside Chat was held on 22 February 2022. This first chat of a quarterly series throughout 2022 brought together CORE Group legends and new voices to share, learn, reflect, and celebrate our amazing anniversary milestone.


By Julia Comino, CORE Group Communications and Knowledgement Intern

On February 22nd, CORE Group celebrated its 25th anniversary with a Fireside Chat webinar hosted by Executive Director Lisa Hilmi and Board Member Janine Schooley, who were joined by multiple CORE Group members, old and new.

Ellen Vor der Bruegge, one of CORE Group’s founding members, gave a brief insight into the history of CORE Group, recalling the early days when “a bunch of us… had this little get together and said gosh we really have got to do something better about all this,” noting how many activities in global and community health seemed to be reinventing the wheel. The group put together yearly meetings where they would share best practices and new technical skills. Joe Valadez, a CORE Group founding member, also remembered the initial work of the CORE Group in a similar way, sharing, “we aided each other using each other’s skills to develop and improve our training… we did something that everyone else didn’t do or didn’t do alone.” These small gatherings soon became a well-established, widespread network of health professionals.

Over the years, CORE Group has developed a new focus on building skills for young people new to the community health field. Innocent Grant, a member of the CORE Group Young Professionals Network in Tanzania, spoke to these efforts.

“I think we’ve reached the vision of the CORE Group community, where everyone can attain health and wellbeing,” said Grant. “And I really feel we owe Ellen and Joe and the rest of the CORE Group a great deal.”

Victor Pacifique Rwandarwacu, the 2019 Global Health Practitioner Conference’s Pitch Challenge Winner, spoke about CORE Group’s intersectional and inclusive approach, pointing out how key this approach is to sharing knowledge among membership organizations that span the globe. Board Member Schooley echoed her appreciation for the growth and inclusivity in members and projects over the years and asserted, “I think one of the exciting things for me is to see how we’ve diversified so much.” Watch a recording of the webinar here.


Lisa Hilmi CORE Group
Executive Director
Gavi CSO Steering Committee, COVAX CSO Co-Chair, PMNCH, Global Steering Group for the Practical Guidance to Operationalise the Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement

Joe Valadez
CORE Group Founding Committee Member and First Chair of the Board of Directors
Professor of Global Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Ellen Vor der Bruegge
CORE Group Founding Committee Member and First Secretary of the Board of Directors
Technical/Training Consultant

Victor Pacifique Rwandarwacu, MD
CORE Group GHPC 2019 Pitch Challenge Winner
Co-Founder of Devie Health Innovators (DHI)
Clinical Research Coordinator for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-funded DYNAMIC Project, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Innocent Grant
CORE Group Member
Program Officer at Young and Alive Initiative in Tanzania Gender Studies student at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy

Janine Schooley
CORE Group Board Member (Secretary from 2002 to 2011 and At-Large Member since 2014)