Our Team

We are a small, dynamic global team, working with our network of partner clinicians to make surgery and anesthesia safer across the world.

Milena Abreha Kebedew

Program Assistant

Milena Abreha Kebedew

Milena is based in Addis Ababa and provides program and administrative assistance to Lifebox’s work in East Africa. With a background in events and project management, Milena joined the Lifebox team in 2019. Milena has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from Addis Ababa University.

Dr. Getaw Alamnie

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Getaw Alamnie

Dr. Alamnie is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Yekatit 12 and Tikur Anbessa Hospitals, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Alamnie is a COSECSA Fellow – the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa. As a Lifebox Fellow, Dr. Getaw is working on the Clean Cut for Cleft program as part of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative which is piloting Clean Cut for Cleft at Yekatit 12 Hospital and Hospital.

Dr. Sedera Arimino

Lifebox Associate Fellow

Dr. Sedera Arimino

Dr. Sedera Arimino is a general surgeon in Madagascar. Dr. Arimino studied medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Antananarivo, Madagascar with a surgery internship at the University Hospital Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona (CHU-JRA), the University Hospital Analankinina Toamasinan and the Hospital Center of Gonesse in Frace. Currently Dr. Arimino works as a general surgeon at the Regional Hospital of Reference of Vakinankaratra Antsirabe as well as working as a joint Surgical Fellow for Operation Smile and Lifebox

Emma Bailey

Program Manager

Emma Bailey

Emma has previously worked on the design and delivery of health programs in Tanzania and Sierra Leone with Raleigh International, The Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, and most recently Kings Global Health Partnerships. Emma works on the capacity building workstream of the Smile Train-Lifebox Initiative, is developing a Perioperative Nurse Training program and oversees Lifebox’s work in Southern Africa. Emma is a nurse by background and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Global Health with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Mebratu Bejiga

Project Director

Dr. Mebratu Bejiga

Dr. Mebratu Bejija holds 20+ years of experience working at local organizations and international NGOs. Prior to joining Lifebox Ethiopia, Mebratu worked with Marie Stopes International Ethiopia as Project Director and most recently as Director for Program Development and Grants Management. Mebratu holds a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH).

Andressa Bet

Finance Officer

Andressa Bet

Andressa is a part qualified accountant with over five years’ experience working in the non-profit sector. Andressa holds a first-class honors degree in Business Administration from Pitagoras University, Brazil and is currently working towards ACCA accreditation. Andressa is responsible for the preparation of financial reports and supports the Finance Manager.

Senait Bitew Alemu

Head of Programs East and Southern Africa

Senait Bitew Alemu

Senait is a passionate public health professional and oversees the design and delivery of programs and strategic plans for Lifebox in East and Southern Africa. Senait also manages key partnerships across the region and leads Lifebox staff in Ethiopia. A nurse by training, Senait has extensive experience working in the hospital and healthcare sectors. Prior to joining Lifebox, Senait worked as a Public Health Consultant, and has previously worked at Jhpiego as a Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) Advisor as well holding various roles with organizations including Médecins Sans Frontières, AIDS Resource Center, and Intrahealth International.

Senait earned her nursing degree from Gondar University, and her MPh from Addis Continental Institute of Public Health (ACIPH). Senait is part of the Lifebox leadership team.

Dr. Nina Capo-Chichi

Lifebox Associate Fellow

Dr. Nina Capo-Chichi

Dr. Nina Capo-Chichi is a Medical Doctor based in Benin and is part of the Lifebox Clinical team. Nina is taking a pause in her surgical training to serve as Smile Train’s Program Manager for Francophone West Africa. Nina has also worked with Mercy Ships on the implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.

Alissa Cecala

Fundraising Operations Associate

Alissa Cecala

Alissa previously served as Patron Services Coordinator at the American Shakespeare Center. She holds a Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Shenandoah University. At Lifebox she supports all fundraising and development operations including our events and campaigns.

Katie Fernandez

Chief Programs Officer

Katie Fernandez

As Chief Programs Officer Katie oversees the development and implementation of Lifebox’s safer surgery and anesthesia work globally – providing overall strategic and operational leadership for program and partnership design and implementation. Katie has worked in the development and humanitarian sectors for over 15 years. She has coordinated and supported the management and implementation of programs covering a broad range of themes, including health, livelihoods, gender, HIV and AIDS, governance and humanitarian response.

Katie holds a B.A. with Honors in Law from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London. She is also a PRINCE2 accredited Project Manager. Katie is part of the Lifebox leadership team.

Dr. Natnael Gebeyehu Admasu

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Natnael Gebeyehu Admasu

Dr. Natnael Gebeyehu graduated as a Medical Doctor from St. Paul Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Natnael has extensive experience as an Operational Theatre Manager and Surgical Ward Manager at St. Peter’s Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, where he continues to work as an Assistant Clinical Service Advisor. Natnael was an instrumental member of the team that piloted Clean Cut in Ethiopia and was part of the McCaskey Fellowship Program. Natnael is part of the Lifebox Clinical team.

LMichael Green

Director of Resource Development

LMichael Green

LMichael has worked in international development for more than twenty years with fundraising leadership roles at Care USA, Africare, The International Partnership for Microbicides, and The Accordia Global Health Foundation. LMichael most recently served as Interim Director at Food First.

LMichael earned an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Government from Georgetown University. LMichael is part of the Lifebox leadership team.

Dr. Kezelebah Goyah

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Kezelebah Goyah

Dr. Goyah is an obstetrician and gynecologist based at C.B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital in Liberia where he also serves as Chief of Medical Staff. Dr. Goyah is a Lifebox Fellow, leading the implementation of the Lifebox Clean Cut Program at C.B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital. He also works training junior doctors, obstetric clinicians, and other medical workers in Liberia.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Namugaya Igaga

Global Anesthesia Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Namugaya Igaga

Dr. Igaga is an anesthesiologist at Makerere University and Uganda Heart Institute. She holds a Master of Medicine in Anesthesia and a Bachelor of Science in Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University, Uganda. Dr. Igaga is part of the Lifebox clinical team where she provides clinical guidance to Lifebox’s programs. 

Kitty Jenkin

Director of Communications and Marketing

Kitty Jenkin

Kitty leads the development and implementation of all aspects of Lifebox’s global communications and marketing strategy. Kitty is responsible for setting the vision of Lifebox’s communications and marketing, developing and managing the global communications team and implementing strategies to build awareness of Lifebox and partner activities worldwide. Kitty previously managed Lifebox’s programs in Latin America and oversaw the development of Lifebox’s programs in India.

She joined Lifebox from an award-winning environmental charity where she led the charity’s programs and communications. She is a prolific writer and has had pieces published in numerous publications. Kitty holds a First-Class Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Exeter. She is part of the Lifebox leadership team.

Dr. Hillena Kebede

Project Manager

Dr. Hillena Kebede

Dr. Kebede is an experienced public health professional, including working for the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute. Hillena earned her medical degree from Jimma University and her Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Gondar University, Ethiopia and has also worked as a freelance medical interpreter. Hillena is responsible for managing the Clean Cut for Cleft research project and the implementation of Clean-Cut in Quality hub hospitals in Ethiopia.

Olubunmi Lawal-Aiyedun

Nursing Advisor

Olubunmi Lawal-Aiyedun

Olubunmi is a pediatric nurse with over 20 years of nursing experience. Bunmi founded the Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, Child Health (MARCH) Care Initiative in Nigeria where she is also responsible for implementing the nursing component of Nigeria’s National Surgical, Obstetric, Anesthesia, and Nursing Plan (NSOANP). Olubunmi also serves as a Board member of the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS). As Lifebox’s Nursing Advisor Olubunmi supports the development of Lifebox’s programs.

Bella Lima

Program Coordinator

Bella Lima

Bella oversees the delivery of Lifebox’s work in Latin America. Bella previously worked at First Aid Africa and holds an MSc in Africa and International Development from the University of Edinburgh, and an MA in Translating and Interpreting from Heriot-Watt University.

Zemichael Mekonen

Research, and Monitoring and Evaluation Mana

Zemichael Mekonen

Zemichael has more than ten years of experience working in health systems and nutrition programs at governmental institutions and international NGOs in Ethiopia. Health system strengthening, quality improvement, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Research are among his core areas of engagement. Zemichael earned his PhD in Health Studies from the University of South Africa, a Masters in Public Health and BSc. in Environmental Health from Hawassa University, Ethiopia. Zemichael oversees the research and monitoring and evaluation of Lifebox’s work globally.

Cleopatra Mushanganiso

Head of Human Resources

Cleopatra Mushanganiso

Cleopatra is an HR strategist with 10 years’ experience in the private sector across various industries. She joined Lifebox to lead its HR function from Bushveld Minerals – an LSE listed vanadium producer. Prior to this, she worked as a consultant and has provided services to companies such as CRRC E-Loco, Multichoice, National Empowerment Fund and SA Mint. Cleopatra holds an MCom in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, South African Board of People Practices and South African rewards Association.

Dr. Jean Paul Mvukiyehe

UGHE-Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Jean Paul Mvukiyehe

Dr. Mvukiyehe works as a consultant anesthesiologist at the University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB) and is a joint fellow in Global Surgery at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) and Lifebox. He is also a Lecturer of Anesthesiology in the department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda. Dr. Mvukiyehe is part of the Lifebox clinical team. 

Dr. Samuel Negash

Senior Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Samuel Negash

Dr. Samuel Negash is a general pediatric surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Wolkite University Hospital based in Ethiopia. He has special interest in improving access to pediatric surgical service in low-income countries. Samuel previously worked with Lifebox as a McCaskey Fellow, our mentoring fellowship program on quality improvement and research skills. Samuel is currently part of the Lifebox Clinical team. As a Lifebox fellow, he supports the implementation of various safe surgery programs in Ethiopia and globally. 

Dr. Tihitena Negussie Mammo

Global Clinical Director

Dr. Tihitena Negussie Mammo

Dr. Negussie is responsible for the clinical content, relevance, and quality of all Lifebox programs delivered globally and oversees a diverse team of perioperative clinicians and fellows working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Tihitena is a consultant general and pediatric surgeon and worked at the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for more than 14 years. She has served in different leadership positions including as Chair of the National Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Ethiopia, Coordinator of the CPD centers at Addis Ababa University’s College of Health Sciences, and the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA). Tihitena is part of the clinical team that developed Lifebox’s Clean Cut Program in Ethiopia and sits on the Lifebox leadership team.

Michael Kiai

Digital Systems Manager

Michael Kiai

Michael is an accomplished Chief Information Officer with 20+ years of repeated success and has served as a Head of ICT and ICT Consultant leading IT projects, operations, developing architecture, coordinating IT projects strategy and directing cross-functional teams. He has expertise launching technology programs that streamline operations, safeguarding data, driving innovation and advancing business strategy. Michael joins us with vast experience in spearheading business and technology partnership in process redesign to achieve business needs and establish delivery roadmaps. Michael previously worked with Bliss Healthcare where he held the position of Assistant Vice President – Digital Automation and Group Head of ICT/CIO. Prior to this, he worked at Uchumi Supermarket during the revival attempt period, and he held the position of Chief Information Officer (CIO).

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Egerton University and an International Diploma in Computer Studies from NCC(UK). Michael has several ICT training and certifications acquired over the years with the key ones being CISSP, CGEIT GCP, AWS, PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner, Project Management Professional (PMP), Business Intelligence Analyst Master, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Cisco Certified Network Associate, Computer Pride (Associate CCNA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Trainer, Fintech Technical Proficiency, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint), UNIX, SUN Solaris, Linux, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Microsoft & Veritas Clustering, SAMBA, Python, Cloud Services & Virtualization, and IP Telephony.

Charlie Ord

Administrative Assistant

Charlie Ord

Charlies previously served as Programme Coordinator for The Bell Foundation, Cambridge and as Assistant to the Directors at CISL, Cambridge. At Lifebox, she provides effective administrative, logistical, and financial reporting support to the Lifebox global team and senior leadership, including to Trustees and the Lifebox Global Governance Council. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Italian Language & Literature from Leeds University.

Stephen Osieyo

Head of Finance

Stephen Osieyo

Stephen joined the Lifebox team in 2018 and has over 25 years experience of working in finance in the  non-profit sector. He has worked with Anti Slavery International, Age UK, AMREF/Flying Doctors (Air Ambulance Service in Africa), and the Kenyan Red Cross. Stephen manages Lifebox’s financial accounts globally and is part of the Lifebox leadership team. He is a Chartered Public Accountant and holds an MSc in public services management.

Dr. Bernard le Polain

Anesthesia Advisor

Dr. Bernard le Polain

Dr. Polain is a consultant emeritus in anesthesiology with a wealth of experience as a general practitioner, a curriculum developer, and a trainer. He is presently a CD3S coordinator at Clinique Universitaires Saint-Luc in Belgium. Dr. Polain has co-developed and helped train more than 250 anesthesiologists in West Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, and Madagascar. 

Dr. Polain is on the Board of Entraide Médicale Internationale, a Belgian NGO that finances medical training and medical equipment in the DRC as well as an NGO that finances young medical specialists in South Kivu.

Andrey Romanov

Communications Associate

Andrey Romanov

Andrey brings experience with political campaigns, nonprofits, and community organizations and is passionate about working for social impact. He joined the Lifebox team after coordinating communications and multimedia projects for state lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. At Lifebox, he works to shape and contribute to all aspects of the communications strategy, from content development to campaign creation, event planning to media outreach. Andrey holds a Bachelor’s degree in humanities from Antioch University.

Dr. Swaliho M. Sheriff

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Swaliho M. Sheriff

Dr. Sheriff is a general Surgeon working in rural Liberia. He studied medicine at AM Dogliotti College of Medicine of the University of Liberia and did his surgical residency at JFK Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia. He is a member of the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Currently, Dr. Sheriff is the general surgeon at LGH-Bomi where he also serves as clinical supervisor, head of the operating room, and member of the COVID-19 case management team. He is involved with training paramedics, junior doctors, and other clinical staff. Dr. Sheriff is a member of the Lifebox clinical team that supervises the implementation of the Lifebox Clean Cut program at ELWA hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

Dr. Matiyas Asrat Shiferaw

Consulting obstetrician and gynecologist for CLEAN-CS

Dr. Matiyas Asrat Shiferaw

Dr. Asrat is a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist and maternal fetal medicine subspecialist at Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He holds a medical degree from Jimma University and speciality and subspeciality certificates from SPHMMC. Dr. Asrat is responsible for maintaining the quality and standard of the CLEAN-CS clinical trial – a Lifebox study to improve the safety of cesarean sections. The Trial is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative, funded by UBS Optimus Foundation. Dr. Asrat is part of the Lifebox clinical team. 

Dr. Constance Harrell Shreckengost

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Constance Harrell Shreckengost

Dr. Constance Harrell Shreckengost  is a general surgery resident at Emory University in Atlanta, United States. Constance is part of the Lifebox Clinical Team as part of her global surgery research sabbatical and is currently based in Bolivia.

After studying International Relations at Pomona College in California, Constance undertook a Fulbright Fellowship, examining the politics of Senegalese education. Constance earned her MD and PhD in neuroscience at Emory University, during which time she also researched issues affecting women’s health in rural Haiti.

Gauri Singh

Head of Technology, Training & Innovation

Gauri Singh

Gauri is a former Commercial Manager at Equalize Health (formerly D-Rev) and Manager of Strategy & Market Development at Johnson & Johnson Medical. At Lifebox, she leads the development and dissemination of low-cost, accessible tools, technology and training for safer surgery and anesthesia; including the development of new innovations and devices, work around access to medical devices and technology transfer, and taking action to mitigate the impact of our work on planetary health. She completed a Postgraduate Program in Management from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from U.P. Technical University. 

Dr. Nichole Starr

Senior Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Nichole Starr

Dr. Nichole Starr is Lifebox’ Senior Fellow and a Resident in General Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. Based in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Nichole was instrumental in the development of the Clean Cut Program and is part of the Lifebox Clinical team. Nichole has an interest in global health and surgery, cost-effectiveness analyses, and trauma care. She completed an MPH with emphasis in International Studies from Boston University and served in Peace Corps/Ethiopia from 2007-2008 where her work focused on HIV/AIDS services; economic empowerment of women, and community home-based palliative care for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Mansi Tara

Program Manager

Mansi Tara

Mansi manages Lifebox’s projects across South Asia, with a particular focus on India, as well as providing oversight on Lifebox’s training content. She previously worked in India on a Global Fund project to prevent parent to child transmission of HIV and health skills projects.

Mansi is a dentist by background and holds an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Sara Taye

CLEAN-CS Project Manager and Global Clean Cut Coordinator

Sara Taye

Sara trained as a physiotherapist at Gondar University, Ethiopia where she also completed her MSc in Public Health. Sara has worked for various international humanitarian organizations in both technical and managerial roles, including for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sara is overseeing the global implementation of Lifebox’s surgical site infection program, Clean Cut, as well as managing the CLEAN-CS trial which is working to improve the safety of C-sections by through the reduction of surgical infection rates.

Marlene Tokpa

Program Officer, Liberia

Marlene Tokpa

Marlene is an experienced public health professional and has served in both programmatic and technical roles at NGOs, The United Nations Population Fund, and the Ministry of Health – Liberia. Marlene earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in Epidemiology from Cuttington University, Liberia. Marlene also completed an international training program in Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) at Lund University, Sweden. Marlene supports the delivery of Lifebox program implementation in Liberia.

Kris Torgeson

Global CEO

Kris Torgeson

Kris has worked in the global health and humanitarian sector for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Lifebox, Kris worked with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for over 14 years, including serving as the organization’s Secretary General from 2008 to 2012 and as part of MSF’s Ebola response team in Liberia in 2014. Kris sits on the board of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) North America, and is a former board member of All Out and The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) USA where she was also Founding Executive Director.

Kris holds a B.A. with honors in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University, an M.Phil in Chinese language and literature from Columbia University, and an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Kris is part of the Lifebox leadership team.

Lorba Tulay

Nurse Anesthetist

Lorba Tulay

Rémy Turc

Program Manager

Rémy Turc

With a background in logistics, Rémy joined Lifebox in 2013 to oversee the distribution of Lifebox’s medical devices worldwide and develop programs in French and Portuguese speaking countries. Rémy now manages Lifebox’s Medtech development – from project conception to distribution. This portfolio includes the Lifebox-Smile Train pulse oximeter, surgical headlight, and a capnography device as part of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative.

Dr. Terseer Utam

Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Terseer Utam

Dr. Utam is a specialist surgeon with 23 years of experience in medical practice, mainly in Nigeria and Liberia. He is currently based at Redemption Hospital as Head of the Surgical Unit. As a Lifebox Fellow, Terseer is supporting our programs in Liberia. He completed his medical training at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and his residency training with the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons in general surgery. Terseer is also a member of the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons and a member and Head of the Surgical Outreach Committee of the West Africa College of Surgeons, Liberia Chapter.

Zainab Vally

Interim Global Operations Lead & Global Finance Manager

Zainab Vally

Zainab is a qualified accountant with over a decade of finance experience, most recently as Finance Manager with Heifer International South Africa, where she also oversaw IT and operations. Zainab provides robust financial and management accounting, financial consolidation, and ensuring compliance with local financial regulations worldwide. Zainab also plays a critical role in supporting the coordination of all aspects of Lifebox operations and administration worldwide.

Dr. Thomas Weiser

Consulting Medical Officer

Dr. Thomas Weiser

Dr. Thomas Weiser is a general and trauma surgeon, a surgical intensivist, and an Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.  His research is focused on evaluating the role surgical care plays in the delivery of health services in resource-poor settings. From 2006-2009 he was part of the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives program which developed the Surgical Safety Checklist. Tom also serves as Director of Global Engagement in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University and has previously served on the Lifebox Global Governance Council.

Habtamu Woldeamanuel

Data Quality Officer

Habtamu Woldeamanuel

Habtamu has worked in database and web application development and monitoring & evaluation for more than a decade. Prior to joining Lifebox Ethiopia, Habtamu has worked with John Snow Inc., USAID, Ethiopian Public Health Association (EPHA) and Johns Hopkins University. Habtamu works on Lifebox’s Clean Cut and Clean CS programs. Habtamu holds a Master’s degree in Software Engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

Dr. Clarence Yaskey

Program Manager

Dr. Clarence Yaskey

Dr. Clarence Yaskey oversees the implementation of Lifebox’s programs in Liberia and manages the Lifebox staff in the country. Clarence is an experienced clinician and public health professional. He earned his MD from the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine of the University of Liberia and an MPH from Des Moines University (DMU) in the United States.

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