MJ "Jo" Whitehouse, MD

MJ “Jo” Whitehouse is a UCSF-trained physician, board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. After her career as a teacher and clinician, she worked in drug development, mostly as an independent consultant for privately held companies. She retired in 2013 to focus on her personal causes: health care, conservation/climate change, education, and poverty.

She was born in Lexington, KY, raised in various locations (Dad was Navy), completed high school at Westridge School for Girls and college at USC (loved biochemistry!). She migrated north for medical school at UCSF and remained in San Francisco (who would leave?).

She chairs the Board of Health In Harmony and has been a member of ARCS since 2013. She maintains that ARCS and HIH are both great fits for “Chapter 3” – work on something important, with people that she likes (and respects), where she can make a difference (for the better), and learn new “stuff”.

Her husband, Mike Heffernan is responsible for her 20-year career in vintage racing in an XK120 Jaguar. Imagine that.

I joined the Board because: I wanted to work on something VERY important, with people that I LIKE, where I can make a difference. I joined the Board because HIH does it ALL:  saves rainforests, provides healthcare, educates kids and adults, and reduces poverty. Who could want anything more?

My favorite HIH story: We know how to make lemonade! In early 2017, because of our concern for safety for volunteers traveling with the wrong visa (deportation was likely; imprisonment was possible), ASRI and HIH halted the volunteer program!  In short – a big bag of LEMONS!  I was so sad – others were as well.  And then, the ASRI and HIH team started to lean in, met with friends, and university and government representatives. The program will now be reconfigured as an educational exchange (which it always has been) – “volunteers” will be “trainees” and will be admitted under the Ministry of Education.  And better yet, HIH and ASRI have increased the priority of the Training Center (always a part of the CHTC) with the formation of a project team to establish the HIH Institute of Planetary Health at ASRI (name still is under discussion).  All I can say to the ASRI and HIH teams is – “this is GREAT LEMONADE; thanks so much”!