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Kennie Amaefule
Anil Kapahi
Alumni Profile: Kennie Amaefule

The essence of Ekene “Kennie” Amaefule can’t be captured in a few broad strokes. She’s a former Nurse of the Year at Harborview Medical Center. She has single-handedly improved health care, education, social services and access to clean water in her native village of Imo State, Nigeria. And as nurse manager at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Rehabilitation Care Services, she supervises nurses who care for veterans with disabilities and works bedside when needed to relieve veterans’ pain and help them regain mobility.

This mother of five children also paid her way through UW as an undergraduate by working as a model with Lola Hallowell Model & Talent Agency. She even had small parts in the movies “House of Games,” directed by David Mamet, and “Divorce Wars,” starring Tom Selleck.

While the roles of a nurse, fashion model and director of her own non-profit organization may seem at odds, they are tied together by Amaefule’s practicality. She’s driven to help people and can be relentless in the quest to solve problems, even if it means devoting a significant part of her personal income to her projects. When she came to the U.S. in 1981, she could see that what people take for granted here would be considered riches in her village and got into the habit of saving things to take back home.

As director of Caring Hearts International, the non-profit organization she founded, Amaefule, ’87, ’02, has set up programs for medical missions, created scholarships, purchased school supplies for children and assisted local women with micro-loans. She is currently seeking funds to build a free medical clinic and dialysis center in her hometown.

To recognize her humanitarian and philanthropic work in Imo State, Amaefule was crowned the first female chief in 2002. Her title Ugochinyere 1 means “An Eagle from God,” which symbolizes the significance of her invaluable contributions to communities.

Amaefule occasionally gives motivational speeches to first-year nursing students. She also guest lectures about international health at UW Tacoma. She previously worked as a trauma orthopedic nurse at Harborview Medical Center, treating patients who had been severely injured.

Amaefule is planning another medical mission of the end of this month. Interested in helping?

14 Responses to Alumni Profile

  1. Dr. Mrs. Emihe - IMO WOMEN CONGRESS says:

    Chief Ekene,
    Kudos for your renowned input towards safe drinking water for the children of Imo State. Great job! Keep it up!

  2. Alex says:

    Ekene, Big congratulations. You are a great achiever. More greeze to your elbows

  3. Vivian O. Lee says:

    Congratulations on featuring the great work of UW Alumni and UWAA Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP)Board member, Kennie Amaefule. Kennie was one of the UWAA MAP Scholarship recipients (the first “Owen G. Lee Scholarship” awardee) in 2001. She joined the Board of the aluumni MAP club to give back to help other underrepresented UW students achieve their dream of a higher education. It is gratifying to see that she continues to extend a helping hand locally and globally! -Vivian O. Lee

  4. Mrs. Nkemdi Onyirimba says:

    Chief Ekene very proud of you. You are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. How I wonder What you are? Up Above the world so high. Like a diamond in the sky”

  5. Anslem Oparaugo, M.D., M.P.H. says:

    Congrats chief Ekene. We are very proud of you. Please continue to uplift Nigerian and Black women. Kudos!!!!!!

  6. Sir Emma Ohakim, FCIB. says:

    Kenie, Congratulations. We are appreciative of your continued and consistent contributions to the upliftment of the needy and the vulnerable. More grease to your elbow.

  7. Chalea says:

    What a great story Kennie! You are an amazing woman. I’m happy to call you my friend.

  8. Chief Innocent Opara, Pharmacist, JacksonVille, florida says:

    Chief Ekene, You are God gift to humanity.I am very proud for all your humanitarian activities in Azaraegbelu and other villages in our State.Bravo to you and may God continue to give the strength to continue your good job.Gracia……

  9. Rowena Trim says:

    To Our Dear Chief. We are so proud of you and your accomplishments to date. As a member of the Southern Nevada Black Nurses Association, we applaud you in your efforts.

  10. Bill Ajaero says:

    Congratulations. You have done well. Keep up the good work.

  11. Rob Wood says:

    There she is, THE CHIEF OF THE MILLENNIUM, Congratulations Kennie! Much love and happy birthday.

  12. Ndudi Chuku says:

    Congratulations Kennie. You inspire me every day. Thank you for all you do for humanity. You’re truly a blessing.

  13. Larry Searle says:

    Congratulations, Kenny! Thanks for your countless hours of dedicated service to our Veterans and to your home community in Nigeria. Well deserved kudos to you.

  14. udoka says:

    She is more than a mother in our home town azaraegblu.we re proud of you.

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