People at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development
Director, Center for Global Health and Economic Development
Chief of Staff to Jeffrey D. Sachs
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
As Jeffrey D. Sachs’ Chief of Staff, Joanna Rubinstein coordinates the activities of the Earth Institute Director’s Office and supports the Director in establishing new strategic partnership initiatives and international projects. Dr. Rubinstein is also the director of the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute (CGHED). Dr. Rubinstein is trained as a DDS and a scientist with a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology. She uses her 15 years of experience as a practicing scientist and senior administrator in Europe to coordinate complex projects across the Earth Institute. On the international front, she was responsible for the science and health initiatives of the UN Millennium Project and helped to develop collaborations with foreign academic institutions, research-funding organizations and the private sector. Dr. Rubinstein leads several strategic initiatives within the University and with external partners, including the Malaria Quick Impact Initiative, scaling up of Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Digital Health, Early Childhood Development, the Drylands Initiative, and national advisory programs to scale up health systems to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Before coming to the Earth Institute in 2005, Dr. Rubinstein was the Senior Associate Dean for Institutional and Global Initiatives at the Columbia University Medical Center. Prior to that, Dr. Rubinstein was at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, where she was director for research and postgraduate education from 1999 to 2002. She also served as Sweden's representative to a European Commission committee and was a director at Sweden's Medical Research Council (1997–99).
Director, Access Project
Director, Millennium Villages Project Rwanda
Josh Ruxin is the founder and director of the Access Project in Rwanda, an initiative of CGHED at Columbia University. He is a frequent contributor to such national publications as The New York Times and The Huffington Post, and has been featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, Time, Seed magazine, CNN and CNN International's Inside Africa, among many others. Josh is currently based in Kigali, Rwanda, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Previously, Josh was co-founder and vice president of ontheFRONTIER, a strategy consulting firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. During his five years there and at Monitor Group, he led projects in a dozen developing countries and was an advisor to government and private sector leaders on business strategy and economic development. Josh received a B.A. in the history of science and medicine from Yale University, where he was a Truman Scholar. After Yale, Josh was a Fulbright Scholar in Bolivia. He holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of London, where he was a Marshall Scholar. In addition to serving on the board of Orphans of Rwanda, Inc., Josh also serves on the Board of Directors of FilmAid International. He is a member of the Global HIV Prevention Working Group and serves on the faculty of the Clergy Leadership Project.
Director, Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia
Director, Malaria and NTD Program, The Earth Institute
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health
Teklehaimanot, a native of Ethiopia, is based in Addis Ababa as the director of CNHDE. He's a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and director of the Malaria Program at Columbia University. Teklehaimanot received his first degree from Addis Ababa University and subsequent graduate and postgraduate degrees from a number of American universities, which include a master’s in environmental health, a Ph.D. in medical entomology and parasitology, and a master’s in public health from Harvard University; he also did postdoctoral work at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Teklehaimanot has extensive international experience in public health with particular focus on Africa. He has worked for the World Health Organization in senior positions in Geneva for the last 14 years. He was also extensively involved during the last three years in the UN Millennium project serving as one of the coordinators for Task Force Five, which dealt with HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB and access to medicines.
Director of Health, Millennium Villages Project
Sonia Ehrlich Sachs is a pediatrician and public health specialist. She received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.D. from the University of Maryland Medical School, and an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. A pediatrician with a specialty in pediatric endocrinology, Dr. Ehrlich Sachs practiced medicine for over 20 years, 14 of which she spent at the Harvard University Health Services. In 2004 she joined the Earth Institute and became the health coordinator for the Millennium Villages Project overseeing all health related interventions and research. The Millennium Villages Project is proof of concept that extremely poor rural communities can reach the Millennium Development Goals given a science-based, community led approach of integrated interventions that increase food production and increase access to health care, education, water and infrastructure. The goal is to show that such an integrated development approach is both scalable and sustainable.
Director of the Tropical Laboratory Initiative
HIV/AIDS and TB Technical Advisor for the Millennium Villages Project
Dr. Ben Amor is an associate research scientist at the Earth Institute and the HIV/AIDS Technical Advisor for the Millennium Villages project. He is currently investigating the critical role of new diagnostics in the control of tuberculosis in developing countries. Dr. Ben Amor is also responsible for the successful implementation of laboratories within the Millennium Villages (either at the health facility level or the district hospital level). His tuberculosis-related research is focused on finding ways to improve the diagnosis of TB in developing countries. Dr. Ben Amor analyzes new, rapid diagnostic tools being investigated and develops ways to allow their implementation in resource-poor settings, where electricity and clean water can be limiting factors. As part of his work with the Millennium Villages project, Dr. Ben Amor is also developing a point-of-care diagnostic toolkit for community health workers (CHWs) based on existing tests to diagnose diseases such as malaria, syphilis and HIV infection. This toolkit will be appropriate for each site of the project based on the level of education and intervention of CHWs as well as the immediate needs in terms of infectious disease control and nutrition. For more information on CGHED's TB work, click here.
Staff Associate at CIESIN, Millennium Villages Project Team
Xiaoyi An is part of MVP data team. She is responsible for designing data entry templates and building and writing logic in CSPro. She manages the survey data coming in from the MVP sites and ensures the data integrity through data cleaning, processing, validation and standardization. She also conducts statistical analysis of longitudinal socioeconomic data, and designs and implements data systems to facilitate reporting of research results. Xiaoyi received a Master of Arts in Economics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She got her bachelor degree in Management Information Systems in China.
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Program Coordinator, Center for Global Health and Economic Development
Daniel Barker joined the Earth Institute in November 2011 as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Global Health and Economic Development and the Special Assistant to Joanna Rubinstein, Chief of Staff to Professor Jeffrey Sachs. At the CGHED he focuses on a range of activities and coordinates the Ministerial Working Group on Scaling Up Health Systems and the International Advisory Panel to India’s National Rural Health Mission. Before coming to EI, Dan served as a research associate in the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, working with Laurie Garrett and Yanzhong Huang. A graduate of NYU, Dan has also interned at the Clinton Foundation, Global Health Strategies, and the American India Foundation. He is the managing editor of Global Health Governance, an online-peer reviewed journal and a fellow with the Institute for International Public Policy.
Program Manager, Community Health Worker Scale-Up
Hannah Sarah joined CGHED and the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD) in February 2012 as the Program Manager for Community Health Worker Scale-Up Activities. Her focus at CGSD/CGHED is on strengthening the primary care health systems outside the original Millennium Villages by integrating Community Health Worker (CHW) sub-systems with clinical quality of care initiatives. Her aim is to develop sustainable and scalable primary health care systems for national governments, which may serve as models for community extension worker programs in other sectors. Before coming to the Earth Institute, Hannah Sarah worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva, first on health systems research and later on pandemic influenza vaccines. She also had experience supporting health projects for the governments of several Latin American countries. Hannah Sarah holds a Masters in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing jointly earned from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Health Governance from Harvard.
Senior Research Officer for the Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Millennium Villages Project
Dr. Huynh is Senior Research Officer for the Monitoring and Evaluation team of the Millennium Villages Project. Her research focuses on the qualitative measurement and documentation of the Millennium Villages Project model, and its implementation in selected agro-ecological zones. Leading the Process Evaluation component of the M & E platform, Dr. Huynh studies the mechanisms of action that drive progress and performance in rural African communities. The Process Evaluation helps to measure the efficacy of MVP's integrated development package of interventions, and how they are adopted, practiced, and supported through grassroots leadership. Uyen previously worked for the UN World Food Programme on a nutrition and rural livelihoods study in South Asia. Prior to that, she worked in the Community Health Sector at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Nepal where she helped to screen Bhutanese refugees for neuropsychiatric conditions. Her academic background and research focused on refugee mental health, stemming from her Ph.D. work at the Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma on Southeast Asian refugees. She also holds a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration on Public and Economic Policy from Cornell University. She has been working for the Millennium Villages Project since April 2008.
Director of Health Information Systems/Medical Informatics, Millennium Villages Project
Assistant Professor of Clinical Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University
Dr. Kanter received both his M.D. and M.P.H. from Harvard University in 1991 and completed a medical residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1991 to 1995. Interested in the application of information and communication technology to health in the developing world, he has worked or traveled in more than 50 countries. He most recently spent 12 years with a private medical informatics company where he helped develop the Healthmatics EHR now being sold by Allscripts, in addition to providing medical terminology and consulting services to other electronic medical record companies. He was co-director of the Allied Disciplines Project at the University of Cambridge from 1997-1998 and was Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge in 2006. He is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association and sits on several relevant committees including the International Affairs Committee and the Global Partnership Program Steering Committee. He is currently appointed full-time as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia’s medical school and Epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health while coordinating the development and implementation of the Millennium Global Village-Network (MGV-Net) for the Millennium Villages Project. For more information about the eHealth/mHealth programs at CGHED, click here.
Earth Institute Fellow, MVP team
Sarah received her Ph.D. from Rhodes University, South Africa in 2009, and has since been working as part of the Earth Institute MVP Monitoring and Evaluation team at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development. She holds degrees in both Social and Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis on analysis of coupled natural-human systems. Her key research interests are in understanding the tradeoffs between use of natural resources, rural livelihoods, human health, nutrition and food security. As an Earth Institute Fellow, she will work with Cheryl Palm to build a framework for understanding how the implementation of the Millennium Villages Project has impacted on key health, food security and environmental outcomes in various African contexts.
Health System Development Coordinator
Anne joined the Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED) in June 2010 as the Health Systems Development Coordinator. Her focus at CGHED is on the strengthening of primary health care in the Millennium Villages through the integration of Community Health Worker (CHW) sub-systems with clinic-based Quality of Care initiatives. This includes supporting the implementation of the CHW Program, CQI projects for maternal and neonatal health in clinics, and overall health systems strengthening from a systems management perspective. Anne received her Masters in International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Masters in Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine, and B.S. in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Economic Costing Analyst
Millennium Villages Project
Lucy McClellan joined the Earth Institute in 2008 as a Research Assistant and has been the Economic Costing Analyst since 2009. She has a Master of International Affairs in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in History from Yale University. Before joining the Earth Institute, she worked as an agriculture extension agent with the Peace Corps in a rural village in southeastern Niger.
Associate Research Scholar
Malaria and NTD Coordinator
Paola Mejia is an Associate Research Scholar with the Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases program of the Earth Institute, which is responsible for the malaria-related work of CGHED and for providing technical assistance to national malaria control programs in more than ten African countries. Paola supports the malaria control activities in the Millennium Villages, working with a team of colleagues based in the Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia (CNHDE) in Addis Ababa and in Bamako. She received an MPH and a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she researched the history of malaria control in Latin America. She is interested in the intersection of history and policy in public health. Before coming to Columbia, she practiced medicine in her native Colombia, where she obtained her Medical Degree at the National University working with the Wayuu indigenous group in the north of the country. She also lectured in the History of Medicine in the Colombian School of Medicine in Bogota and conducted research using social sciences to understand public health problems, such as the social and cultural determinants of cervical cancer in Colombia, and the impact of acculturation in the nutritional status of children of indigenous groups.
Epidemiologist / Health Data Coordinator
Bennett Nemser is the Health Research Manager for the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) with primary focus on health data analysis, survey instruments and field systems, as well as the vital statistics / verbal autopsy reporting. Mr. Nemser received a Master of Public Health from the Epidemiology Department at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Upon graduation in 2007, he began working full-time for the MVP Health Team. In addition to his public health experience, Mr. Nemser comes to the project with a Master in Business Administration and a background in governmental finance and budgeting.
Special Assistant to Dr. Joanna Rubinstein
James Ossman joined the Earth Institute in April 2009 as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Global Health and Economic Development and the Special Assistant to Joanna Rubinstein, Chief of Staff to Professor Jeffrey Sachs. At the CGHED, he focuses on a range of activities to ensure sound financial and management practices across the programs, including; preparing budgets and proposals for new funding, maintaining grant and gift accounts, hiring new employees, and reporting to funders. James also provides research support on mHealth, and other emerging programs. In addition, he coordinates the International Advisory Panel to India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the National Rural Health Mission, an advisory group that meets regularly with the Indian Government to provide policy advice on the country’s public health initiative. He most recently worked in Bangalore, India at a microfinance institution on a Fellowship through the American India Foundation, and prior to that for the Grameen Foundation in Washington, DC.
Deputy Director of the Access Project and Millennium Village Rwanda
Karen directs the New York operations for the Access Project, which provides management technical assistance to improve health systems in Africa. Managing budgets and operations for more than $3 million in annual grant funding, Karen ensures smooth operation of the field office in Rwanda, monitors project progress and revises operational and programmatic plans to ensure continued progress toward objectives. Karen also provides operational and strategic oversight for the management team. In 2003-2004, Karen was based in Kigali, Rwanda, as project manager for the Macroeconomics and Health Project and team member for the Access Project. Prior to that, Karen spent more than two years in Kenya as a Michigan Population Fellow with Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), where she worked primarily on the USAID-funded IMPACT project, using behavior change communication for the prevention of HIV and STIs. She also managed the development of a behavior change communication strategy and program to improve TB treatment seeking and adherence. Before going to Kenya, Karen worked as the Community Director for Yale University's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Karen also worked as an independent public health consultant for PATH, Family Care International, and Family Health International. Karen earned her M.P.H. at Yale University, where she conducted her master's thesis research on infant feeding decisions in settings with high HIV prevalence. She also holds an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and worked as a newspaper and radio journalist for more than 10 years. She received a B.A. in French from the University of Virginia.
Director, Program for Health Systems
Community Health Worker Advisor
Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs
Dr. Prabhjot Singh is Director of the Program for Health Systems and Community Health Worker Advisor to the Millennium Villages. He is also an Assistant Professor at the School of International Public Affairs. His work focuses on strengthening implementation systems and technical decision making capacity at community, district/municipal and national levels in low-resource settings. As a clinical practitioner, he highlights challenges usually attributed to the health system (i.e. child/maternal mortality, malnutrition and disease surveillance/management) that require multi-sector coordination and community-based responses. His work blends operational research, analytical tool/technology development, with policy analysis to support sustainable development planning for practitioners, entrepreneurs and bureaucrats. Prabhjot Singh received a B.S. in Developmental Biology and B.A. in History from the University of Rochester, a Ph.D. in Neural and Genetic Systems from Rockefeller University, Post-Doctoral fellow in Health and Economic Development at Columbia University, an M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College with further clinical training in internal medicine.
Tracy currently serves as a Program Manager at the Earth Institute, working with the health team on grants and coordinating health efforts for EI’s work in Haiti. Tracy recently graduated from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University with a Master of International Affairs and a concentration in human rights. Her work at SIPA focused on the integration of human rights into development and public health interventions, particularly with regards to the MDGs and malaria. Tracy has also spent time as an intern at the Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia assessing the government of Ethiopia’s bed net distribution program of 2005-2007, and then followed up that work with a year at Malaria No More, interning on the programs team and planning new anti-malaria interventions for the organization. Prior to SIPA Tracy worked as a contractor in the Office of Small Business Programs at first the Department of Defense, and then NASA, serving as a Project Coordinator and managing the Mentor-Protégé Program at both organizations.
Program Manager, Health Sector
Sarah joined the Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED) in March 2011 as Program Manager for the Health Sector. Sarah received a B.A. in International Studies and Journalism from Brandeis University. Prior to joining CGHED, Sarah worked as a researcher at UCSF's Institute for Health Policy Studies, focusing on tobacco control policy processes. She also coordinated pediatric infectious disease and community health education programs in the South Bronx as an AmeriCorps member.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Annika works with the Monitoring and Evaluation team to provide technical assistance to the Nigerian government Scale-Up Initiative to achieve the MDGs in 113 Local Government Areas. Independently, she is coordinating a prospective mixed-methods process evaluation of this initiative to explore the complex challenges associated with the sustainable implementation of proven interventions in diverse hard-to-reach communities in Nigeria. Annika received her doctorate in public health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Her dissertation explored associations between poverty and mental health in rural Africa, based on baseline data from the Millennium Villages Project. She has a clinical background in social work, and holds a Masters in Social Welfare with a specialization in health from the University of California at Berkeley.