Our Mission

To improve the health of underserved communities in Guatemala and develop nurses to face global public health challenges by personalizing programs through trusted partnerships.

Our Values

Humble Service with Heart

  • We open ourselves to the stories of others and non-judgmentally open our hearts in compassion.

Relationships of Trust

  • We communicate with transparency and integrity.
  • We work to build loyal friendships with communities, partners and guests.

Respectful Competence

  • We listen first to the values needs and wishes of the communities we serve.
  • We respond through collaboration with community leaders to provide beneficial services.

Safety and Hospitality

  • To all our associates we offer our commitment to, first, DO NO HARM.
  • We love our guests and will do everything in our power to protect them during their stay in Guatemala.


Guatemala is home to more than 18 million people, a land of rich cultural and linguistic diversity, where 22 indigenous languages are spoken in addition to the national language Spanish. It’s divided into 22 departments (the equivalent of a state in the U.S.), within which 340 municipalities operate their own local governments in conjunction with departmental and national authorities. 

Nursing Heart coordinates health services in three departments: Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, and Solola

The latter two currently present severe barriers to basic health services, and challenging infrastructure. Communities in these areas have long suffered marginalization, oppression, and trauma due in part to the Civil War that devastated the country over three decades from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, as well as a longer history of post-colonial governing that saw rural and indigenous populations fight to overcome extreme poverty and institutionalized discrimination.

Our work is based on our beliefs that all people deserve access to dignified healthcare services, and that every family in Guatemala has the right to seek preventative care with medical professionals who treat them with empathy, compassion, and kindness. Our work and our mission puts us at a crucial point in the national and international healthcare ecosystem that enables us to connect Guatemalan families with both local healthcare professionals and the monthly cohorts of visiting licensed nurses and nurses in training who fulfill Nursing Heart’s mission.

our Founder

Ron Noecker came to Guatemala in 2004 and found support and hope for that time in his life. When he returned to the U.S. in 2005, he promised himself that he would return someday. He then worked for six years as an oncology nurse at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore before finally returning to keep his promise.

Over more than seven years as Executive Director, Ron built NHI | ACE into a strong organization known both in Guatemala and the United States for its unwavering commitment to the people of Guatemala and U.S. nurses it serves.

Although Ron stepped down as Executive Director in 2019, he remains enthusiastic about his role as Founder and continues to share his life and work in Guatemala with the nurses who visit to learn with and from NHI/ACE partner communities. He supports Nursing Heart and other impactful organizations throughout the world, as a donor, mentor and accomplished non-profit consultant.

Founder's Message


Welcome to Nursing Heart / Corazón de Enfermería! My name is Ron Noecker, founder of the organization. Thank you for your interest.

Nursing Heart was founded with the desire to help myself and fellow nurses keep our hearts in the work of caring for others. I have found that if an “awakening” to this kind of care is needed, there is nothing like coming to Guatemala and receiving the kindness that can be found in this culture. The people we work with have little, yet they open their hearts to visitors with smiles, kindness and a deep appreciation for working together.

Cervical cancer is the number one cancer killer in Guatemala. It can be challenging for us to grapple with this reality. But we are trying to do our part to prevent this from happening to any woman we screen. While we help with screenings we also offer primary care to families. We love welcoming non-licensed students and introducing them to the work of non-governmental organizations and allowing them to help us in ways that are appropriate, such as primary school wellness checks and Chapina stove installations. Each year we open our groups to anyone who wants to offer service to foster community health.

My first 18 years of caring for others was in the Church of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Feeling called in mid-life to a wider world, I found myself in Guatemala trying to discern what that meant. When I decided to go to nursing school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, I promised myself that I would return to Guatemala to offer what I could to help with the evident needs of its people. 

I have been so blessed through these experiences. Though we are not a religious organization, I believe the forces of Divine Love continue to help our efforts to unfold. I hope you will join us in them.


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