Dr. Joyce Dixon Hightower is a medical doctor, accomplished author, speaker, and compassionate humanitarian who has been educating, feeding, and housing marginalized youth, empowering women, and strengthening African communities and families for over 30 years.
Hightower grew up in a poor rural area in Northern Los Angeles County under the strong influence of community service from her father, Superintendent Samuel Dixon, pastor of Macedonia Church of God in Christ, and mother, Evelyn Dixon, medical technologist. Her work experience in Africa began in 1977 as a high school science teacher in rural Kenya. In response to the challenge to increase the number of the country’s candidates for medical school, Hightower returned to the U.S. and completed medical school in 1988.
While practicing in central California, Hightower led medical mission teams to Kenya and supported orphanages and rural clinics with supplies. In 2001, a unique medical mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Central Africa caused a dramatic change in the direction of her life. In 2002, Hightower returned to DRC as a volunteer public health improvement consultant.
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In 2009, Hightower began working for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the African Region. She found ways to support orphans, especially in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, while continuing to develop DRC efforts.
In 2012, she founded the Dixon-Hightower Foundation, a 501c3 organization that uniquely focused on providing ongoing charitable and quality education to support orphans, widows, and marginalized people worldwide.
Winding her WHO efforts down for retirement, in 2015, Hightower was sent to Guinea Conakry to lead the WHO fight against the Ebola pandemic. It turned out to be one of the high achievement points of her career. After returning to the U.S., she began working in a local clinic to support the DRC orphanage and school and retired again in 2021.
Outlining her plans, Hightower explained, “As in other projects in various countries over the last 30 years, the one planned in the DRC will be self-sufficient when completed. The Solid Rock Youth Complex (SRYC) project in the (DRC) has lasted the longest and received a significant financial investment because of its strategic capacity to impact the greatest need.
“We are giving livelihood training for widows, providing housing for orphans, and have 200 students attending (pre-school through 6th grade presently occupying much of the orphanage building). Our school has a 100% national exam pass rate, and the demand for placement for orphans and students has skyrocketed,” she said.
“We must raise $700,000 to complete the school building, 7th through 12th grade, for over four hundred children. Once the school moves out of the orphanage building, we could accept more baby orphans.”
Hightower’s uncle, the honorable Bishop Roy Dixon, D.D., jurisdictional prelate of Southern California 4th Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ, said, “I’ve been to the Congo and visited the school, orphanage, and widows’ project comprising the Solid Rock Youth Complex sponsored by the Dixon-Hightower Foundation. It’s such an unusual thing that my niece is doing. She’s an M.D. and gives 90% of her salary to this work in the Congo. There are many miraculous stories to tell.”
Dixon continued, “She built the orphanage, and 17 homeless, fatherless, and motherless children call SRYC home. They are at that school day and night because this is their home. She’s their mother, she is their father, and this is the only hope these children and many others have.
“Not only is she providing for those children physically, emotionally, and educationally at the school that she is building, but she is also putting them through higher grades in other facilities throughout the Congo.”
When asked, what is your desire for the women, children, and people in the Congo where you’re still helping and have invested so many years?
Hightower stated, “I would like this project to stand as an encouraging example of hope and self-sufficiency by using support tools provided and working hard together. I want the people that we support to know that God hears their prayers wherever they are and provides for them.
“Just like God put it in my heart to come all the way from Newhall, California, He can hear their prayers to do whatever He puts in their hearts to do.”
Sharing what she’d like her life to reflect, Hightower said, “I want the biggest message of my life to be that God puts in your heart what He uses to show His greatness, love, and almighty power. We have the privilege of joining in these loving acts.”
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Learn more at: https://www.dixonhightowerfoundation.org/