The Lifebox Team

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

Milena Abreha Kebedew – Program Assistant  

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.


Constanza Aguilera – Program Manager, West and Francophone Africa (parental leave) 

Constanza joined Lifebox to oversee the development of safer surgery programs in West and Francophone Africa. Constanza has over 10 years of professional experience in the field of international development in the areas of food security, hunger, migration, climate change, and global surgery. Constanza has a background in Agronomy and Rural Economy with a Master’s degree in Development Practices from SciencesPo Paris and a certificate in management of non-profit organizations from Duke University.


Dr. Sedera Arimino – Lifebox Associate Fellow

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 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 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 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, Lifebox Head of Programs Eastern and Southern Africa

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 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.


Katie Fernandez – Chief Programs Officer

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 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 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.

Karen Godley – Program Manager, Asia (parental leave cover)

Karen is a nurse and midwife by background with more than two decades experience in humanitarian assistance working for international NGOs – primarily in medical and health programming. She has worked in Africa, Central America, and Asia and currently oversees Lifebox’s safer surgery and anesthesia programs in Asia.

Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in African Studies and Developmental Economics, an Associate’s degree in Nursing, and a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery.

Dr. Kezelebah Goyah – Lifebox Fellow

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.


Kitty Jenkin – Director of Communications and Marketing

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 KebedeProject Manager

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.

Comrade Olubunmi Lawal-Aiyedun – Nursing Advisor

Comrade 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 Manager

Bella oversees the delivery of Lifebox’s work in Latin America and is acting Program Manager for West and Francophone Africa. 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 MekonenResearch, and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager

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.


Dr Ewnetu Mulugeta – Anesthesia Consultant 

Dr. Ewnetu Mulugeta is an anesthesiologist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and serves as Lifebox Anesthesia Consultant. Ewnetu joined Lifebox in 2019 as a McCaskey Safe Surgery Fellow and is a master trainer of the Lifebox Clean Cut program. He earned his speciality in anesthesiology and critical care from Addis Ababa University. Ewnetu continues to serve as professional development director of the Ethiopian Society of Anesthesiologists. He works with the Federal Ministry of Health providing training in the post-anesthesia care unit and basic critical care.


Dr. Samuel Negash – Lifebox Fellow

Dr. Samuel Negash is a Medical Doctor, based in Ethiopia. Samuel is a final year resident in pediatric surgery at Addis Ababa University. As a Lifebox Fellow, Samuel is supporting the implementation of safe surgery programs in Ethiopia. Samuel worked previously with Lifebox as a McCaskey Fellow, our mentoring fellowship program on quality improvement and research skills.


Dr. Tihitena Negussie Mammo – Global Clinical Director

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. 

Stephen Osieyo – Head of Finance

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.


Andrey Romanov – Communications Associate

Andrey brings experience in public service and communications. He has worked with a number of political campaigns, non-profits, and community organizations and is passionate about working for social impact. He joined the Lifebox team after managing communications and media projects for lawmakers from Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Dr. Swaliho M. Sheriff – Lifebox Fellow

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. Constance Harrell Shreckengost – Lifebox Fellow

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.

Dr. Nichole Starr – Senior Lifebox Fellow

 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 TaraProgram Manager (On parental leave) 

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 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 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 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. 

Rémy Turc – Program Manager

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.

Dr. Terseer Utam – Lifebox Fellow

Dr. TDr. 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 – Finance Manager

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 finance oversight and support in the delivery of Lifebox grants and funds.

Dr. Thomas Weiser – Consulting Medical Officer

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 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 YaskeyProgram Manager

 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.

Cleopatra Mushanganiso – Head of Human Resources

Cleopatra Mushanganiso - Head of Human Resources

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. Getaw Alamnie – Lifebox Fellow

Cleopatra Mushanganiso - Head of Human Resources

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.