Last Mile Health is thrilled to announce that James Nardella is joining the organization as the Chief Program Officer. Throughout his career, he has built and led resilient and connected teams, first as an executive director in community health and more recently as a leader in philanthropy. 

James joins Last Mile Health from the Skoll Foundation, where he served as a Principal on the Portfolio & Investments Team since 2015. In this role, he managed a $40M grantmaking portfolio of organizations driving transformative social change, including Last Mile Health, Educate Girls, and One Acre Fund, and engaged in collaborative initiatives like the Audacious Project, Co-Impact, and the Community Health Impact Coalition. James served on the foundation’s management council, led in-depth due diligence on finalists for the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, and publicly represented Skoll through speaking, hosting an audio interview series, and co-producing video content

James learned a lot from Skoll’s unique style of philanthropy: The Foundation is known for storytelling, providing core unrestricted funding to high-impact organizations across domains and convening and connecting these social change leaders and funders at events like the annual Skoll World Forum, held at the University of Oxford.  

We will miss James dearly, but are thrilled to see his many talents deployed within an organization at the forefront of transformative change in global community health,” said Don Gips, CEO of Skoll Foundation. “During his time at the Skoll Foundation, James combined boots-on-the-ground knowledge with system-level big picture thinking to help shape initiatives across the organization. He leads with curiosity and candor. He mentors with generosity and empathy. These skills have served Skoll well and will be a tremendous gift to Last Mile Health.”

James brings real implementation experience with the Lwala Community Alliance in rural Kenya, where he served as Executive Director for more than six years. Under his leadership, Lwala established a community hospital that now provides more than 60,000 patient visits annually, and designed and launched a maternal and child health program that reduced under-five mortality by 63% and virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

“James and the Skoll Foundation team have been instrumental partners in our shared work over the years, and we are excited to welcome James to Last Mile Health at such an inflection point in the movement for universal health coverage,” Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health, said. “We look forward to James contributing his insights, leadership, and experience in philanthropy, implementation, and systems change to strengthen our commitment to bringing quality care within reach of the world’s most remote communities.”

James attends a community health worker training in Kenya.

This is a critical moment in Last Mile Health’s growth. Currently in year one of its Within Reach four-year Strategic Plan, the organization has set ambitious targets to scale impact globally while strengthening quality of healthcare service provision. As Chief Program Officer, James will oversee the quality of Last Mile Health-supported country programming across Africa, and support the development of the organization’s global initiatives in community health systems education, research, and technical advisory. In leading a new Global Programs function, James will build a new hub for learning, analysis, and best practices in partnership with in-country and global teams.

“I deeply admire the people of Last Mile Health, hold the values of the organization, and embrace the vision of reaching the most vulnerable and remote communities,” James said. “I can’t wait to learn from the team of committed and kind leaders who will soon be my colleagues. What an opportunity we have together to ensure government partners have the evidence, skilled leadership, financing, political will and technical support they need to sustain high-quality community health systems.”

Last Mile Health looks forward to welcoming James to the team on February 10, 2020 when he begins with visits to the programs in Liberia and Malawi. 

For questions or more information, please feel free to email the team at

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