Our Team

CHW Training and Health Outreach

Dr. W (photo withheld)

Dr W is a graduate of Hope Family Medicine’s Community Health Residency Program. As a child, Dr. W promised her father that she would go to medical school to make a living and serve the people of Afghanistan people. A military veteran, Dr. W’s father was dedicated to serving the poor and passed his compassion on to his daughter. Forced to leave medical school when the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, she worked with Save the Children as a community health trainer. After the fall of the Taliban, she completed medical school and one of Afghanistan’s only residency programs. She splits her time between training Community Health Workers, running a reproductive and maternal health education class for local mothers, and providing clinical care.

 

Organizational Leadership

Mariam Mostamandy 

Executive Director

mariam.mostamandy@empowermenthealth.org

Mariam is the Executive Director of Empowerment Health. Born to Afghan refugees, Mariam was raised valuing maternal health thanks to her father, an OB/GYN in Kabul before the invasion of the USSR, and equal education thanks to her mother, a psychologist and school teacher during her time in Afghanistan and a current U.S. medical professional. Mariam graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology from Santa Clara University. In addition to fluency in Dari, she has working knowledge of Arabic and Spanish. She is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree with aspirations to attend medical school. Mariam hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps to provide both mothers and babies with the medical care they deserve.

Nikita Gupta

Programming and Development Intern

Nikita Gupta is the Programming and Development Intern at Empowerment Health. She joined Empowerment Health in the summer of 2013 as a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University, where she is studying Neuroscience. Nikita became interested in maternal and child health after spending 4 months traveling to Brazil, Vietnam and South Africa for study abroad. While there, she studied the health care systems of each country, as well as conducted research in maternal and child health. Nikita has also volunteered in Peru on a service trip with MEDLIFE, providing free healthcare alongside local doctors to impoverished populations there. She is fluent in Hindi, Spanish and Urdu

 

Advisors


Dr. H (photo withheld)

Senior Advisor

Dr. H is a Senior Advisor for Empowerment Health and is based in Kabul. Born just outside of Kabul, Dr. H has spent nearly a decade working on a wide variety of healthcare and education projects in Afghanistan including public health, community development education, women’s literacy, community health research, reproductive health, and sanitation for organizations including Banyan Tree Network, Afshar Hospital, Afghans for Progressive Thinking, and Partnership for Academics and Development. Dr. H has been working with EH for nearly two years supporting program development.  A graduate of Kabul Medical University, Dr. H  is currently in his final year of residency in Pediatrics at Maiwand Teaching Hospital in Kabul and will be pursing his MPH next year in the United States through the Fulbright Graduate Fellowship Program for citizens of Afghanistan.

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Dr. H  (photo withheld)

Senior Advisor

We can work for ourselves, but we should also think about the people. What can we do to improve people’s health?”

Dr. H is a Senior Advisor for Empowerment Health based in Kabul and joined the organization in Fall 2012. She has wide experience in the field of maternal and child health, having worked as the Medical Officer for Save the Children in the Peshawar, Pakistan Office and Coordinator of Maternal and Children Health clinics in Avicenna. She was also the Reproductive Health Program Director of the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan, where she was responsible for managing the national reproductive health program.

She was selected to be a part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program in Drug Abuse and Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she focused on managing and developing evidence-based reproductive, maternal, and child health policies and strategies with the goal of improving maternal and child health services in Afghanistan. Dr. H graduated from Medical Faculty of Kabul University.

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Jerry Umanos, MD

Community Health Coordinator

Dr. Jerry Umanos is a Community Health Coordinator and EH volunteer based in Kabul. Dr. Jerry has dedicated over three decades to improving children’s health in his hometown of Chicago and most recently in Kabul where he has worked with several groups including CURE Healthcare Management Services, CURE Hospital in Afghanistan, and Afshar Hospital. In his third year with Hope Family Medicine Afghanistan’s Family Medicine Residency program and the Ferozkoh Family Health Center, Dr. Jerry coordinate’s one of Afghanistan’s only residency training programs and directs clinical care for under-served residents of Kabul.

Over the past two years, Dr. Jerry has been instrumental in forming all aspects of EH’s community health programs. In addition to providing residents for community health worker training, Dr. Jerry has personally led formative research efforts. A graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Jerry completed his residency at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. In Chicago, Dr. Jerry is a board certified pediatrician with Lawndale Christian Health Center where he provides clinical care and works on a variety of urban health initiatives.

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Board Members

Evan Russell

Co-Founder and Board President

evan.russell@empowermenthealth.org

Evan Russell is Co-Founder and Board President of Empowerment Health. Evan founded Empowerment Health on his fundamental conviction: that ordinary people can do extraordinary things for their health and the health of others. He envisions Empowerment Health as a vessel through which the natural talents of patients and front line providers can be unleashed against the increasingly complicated and tragic health care situations faced around the world.

Since developing an interest in International Health, Evan has lived on five continents where he has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from health systems strengthening and performance assessment to health technology implementation to scaling up health access in urban populations. He has held leadership position in public, private, and non-profit sector organizations as well as held several fellowships including a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Fellowship (Senator Barack Obama) and Medical Scientist Training Program grant (Johns Hopkins University). Evan is currently an MD/PhD student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health where he studies International Health. He is a graduate of Brown University.

 

Timothy Cheston

Board Treasurer
tim.cheston@empowermenthealth.org

Timothy Cheston is on the Board of Directors of Empowerment Health. Tim joined Empowerment Health while working for the World Bank Group in the Social Protection Sector. Tim has wide experience in international development, having worked on issues of community building, education, HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation with such organizations as Oxfam America, Save the Children, Global Justice, and the One Campaign. With the World Bank, Tim works on Conditional Cash Transfers, youth entrepreneurship and early childhood development programs in Belize, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic. Before joining the World Bank, he worked on remittances with the Inter-American Dialogue and worked in the Dominican Republic with undocumented Haitian immigrants, analyzing community needs and expanding the services of the Dominican Literacy Project. Tim graduated from Princeton University with a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs.

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Lauren Underwood, MSN/MPH

Board Secretary
lauren.underwood@empowermenthealth.org

Lauren Underwood is the Director of Research and Advocacy for Empowerment Health. She brings varied and invaluable experience to her work on Empowerment Health’s Board of Directors from the federal government, Capitol Hill, clinical practice, and nursing research. Lauren graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a degree in Nursing and received a joint Masters degree from Johns Hopkins University in Nursing and Public Health.

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Scott Gorman, JD

Board Member
scott.gorman@empowermenthealth.org

Scott Gorman is on the Board of Directors of Empowerment Health. A visit to Kabul in 2008 and a desire to assist local health care providers inspired Scott to help found Empowerment Health as an organization dedicated to facilitating community health care in Afghanistan. While in law school, Scott organized the formation of EH as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Scott continues to provide strategic advice to further development and fundraising initiatives. Scott brings a wide-range of legal and business experience to the EH team, having worked with a variety of government and non-profit organizations including the United Nations, US Navy, Native American Rights Fund, and the University of Cape Town. From serving in the prosecutor’s office at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh, to helping civil rights leader Bobby Seale establish a youth-driven non-profit in Oakland, the common thread in Scott’s career has been a focus on community empowerment. The majority of Scott’s time is currently devoted to education-based social ventures in mainland China. Scott holds a BA in Anthropology from Yale University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley Law School where he specialized in international law.

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Shana Platz, JD

Board Member
shana.platz@empowermenthealth.org

Shana Platz is on the Board of Directors of Empowerment Health. Shana joined Empowerment Health while working as a staff attorney with LegalHealth at the New York Legal Assistance Group, currently serving as an Equal Justice Works fellow focused on providing comprehensive legal services to pregnant women and women with newborns. Shana has worked for several medical-legal partnerships in addition to LegalHealth, as well as in juvenile defense and other areas of poverty law. Inspired by interest in social determinants of health and aiding vulnerable families, Shana brings a focus on the human factor of the Empowerment Health mission. Shana graduated from Georgetown Law after receiving her undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Sociology and Inequality.

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Board Alumni

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Bridget Wild, MD

Board Alumna, Advisory Committee Member
bridget.wild@empowermenthealth.org

Bridget Wild served as the Founding Secretary of Empowerment Health. Bridget joined Empowerment Health while a medical student at Johns Hopkins University. Bridget has worked in the non-profit sector for several years working on issues of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault as an Emergency Room Advocate, the Juvenile Justice System in Chicago, immigration reform, and reproductive rights. Additionally she volunteered abroad in Bolivia and Honduras, and coordinated with another NGO in Afghanistan while pursuing her undergraduate degree. Bridget brings a unique skill set to Empowerment Health, as a professional with passion for the pursuit of health as a human right and pediatrics. Bridget graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Public Policy Studies and received her MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is currently a resident in Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Children’s Memorial Hospital.


Ferhina Ali, MD/MPH

Board Alumna, Advisory Committee Member

ferhina.ali@empowermenthealth.org

Ferhina Ali serves on the Advisory Committee for Empowerment Health. Ferhina joined Empowerment Health as a Sommer Scholar and MD/MPH student at the Johns Hopkins University where she studies diabetic retinopathy in developing world settings. Ferhina brings medical knowledge and programmatic experience, essential to tackling issues of maternal and child health in regions of highest need, in addition to the ability to develop models to meet vision needs in this setting. Her experience includes investigating program implementation of screening and treatment in Bangladesh, supported by a Research to Prevent Blindness Medical Student Fellowship as well as the NIH Fogarty International Framework Grant to complete a randomized clinical trial in Delhi, India, studying the uptake and cost-effectiveness of ready-made spectacles in an urban adult population. Ferhina graduated from the University of Rochester with a joint degree in Neuroscience and Legal Studies and received her MPH from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health as a Sommer Scholar.

 

Raoul Manalac, MD

Co-Founder and Vice President

raoul.manalac@empowermenthealth.org

Raoul Manalac is Co-Founder and Vice President of Empowerment Health. Raoul founded Empowerment Health based on the belief that no person should be denied health and happiness based on circumstance. His vision is that Empowerment Health will serve as a conduit for all those who share this belief and hopes that it will inspire others to believe in those that are forgotten.

Raoul brings a variety of service oriented experience including work with the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center’s suicide prevention hotline, the KIDSLINE child abuse prevention hotline, and the Louisiana State University student government. Raoul graduated with honors from Louisiana State University, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with an MD, and is currently a resident in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

 

Consultants

Brittany Parker

Creative Director

Brittany Parker is the Creative Director for Empowerment Health, joining the organization in spring 2012. She brings a dedicated passion and energy to her work with Empowerment Health, leveraging her diverse experiences to help EH make a lasting impact on maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Brittany has a wide range of communications experience from both the public and private sectors, having worked on several state and national-level political campaigns and for corporate clients in the healthcare, transportation, and financial services sectors. She also has experience developing outreach initiatives for non-profits such as the Roosevelt Institute, Green Bicycle Project, Arkansas State Soccer Association, and MASA Israel. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in International Area Studies, and currently handles media relations for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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Jack Hanlon

Communications Consultant
jack.hanlon@empowermenthealth.org

Jack Hanlon is the Communications Consultant for Empowerment Health. Jack joined Empowerment Health while working for The Epic Media Group as an Analyst. Recently named to the Forbes top “30 under 30″, Jack has diverse experience with understanding and effectively communicating business missions and needs, having worked for giants like Google, international powers such as Mercury Engineering in Dublin, Ireland, financial mainstays like Bear Stearns and Walter J Dowd on the NYSE and an e-commerce startup called Better World Books that worked raising funds for several global nonprofits (including Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund and The National Center for Family Literacy). Jack has also written financial analysis for Bloomberg Radio and edited articles published in Forbes magazine. Jack is the product of a Jesuit education, high school and college, and has always followed the mantra “a man for others.” Jack graduated from The College of the Holy Cross with a degree in Music and English.