The Lifebox Team

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

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.

Kristine Stave – Global COO

Kristine picKristine is responsible for HR, finance and operations across the Lifebox network. Facilitating charitable registration for Lifebox UK in 2011, Kristine built the global Lifebox team and was also responsible for securing 501(c)3 registration for Lifebox’s US entity.

Kristine has Bachelors’ degrees in international law and politics, and a Master from the London School of Economics. She holds memberships with the Chartered Management Institute, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

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.

Zainab Vally – Grants and Finance Officer

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.

Katie Fernandez – Head of Programs

Katie oversees all of Lifebox’s programmatic work and is part of the Lifebox Leadership team. She 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 has lived and worked in countries from Southern Africa to Latin America.

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.

Senait Bitew Alemu – Head of Programs for East Africa 

Senait Bitew is Lifebox’s Head of Programs for East Africa, responsible for the design and delivery of programmes and strategic plans for Lifebox across the region. Senait is a nurse by training and has extensive experience of working in the hospital and healthcare sector. Based in Addis Ababa, Senait worked on the development of Lifebox’s Clean Cut Program in Ethiopia and is part of the Lifebox leadership team. 

Constanza Aguilera – Program Manager, West and Francophone Africa

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.

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 BA in Geography and Environmental Studies from Addis Ababa University.  


Bella Lima – Program Coordinator

Bella oversees Lifebox’s programs in Latin America as well as supporting the program team with day-to-day functioning of operations and logistics. 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.

Mansi TaraProgram Manager 

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.

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. Clarence Yaskey – Program Coordinator

Dr. Clarence Yaskey 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. Clarence joined the Lifebox team to coordinate and implement safer surgery programs in Liberia. This includes forming partnerships with health facilities to support surgical teams in their processes and to build resilience of surgical systems.


Kitty Jenkin – Head of Communications 

After five years of managing Lifebox’s programs in Latin America, Kitty leads Lifebox’s communications, responsible for the development and implementation of Lifebox’s global communications strategy. Kitty 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.

Joey SantoreDevelopment Associate

Joey manages campaigns and fundraising strategies at Lifebox. He has experience in event planning and program management, having developed dozens of large-scale events for New York University’s new-student orientation while working for their Center for Student Life. Joey holds a B.S. in Global Public Health from New York University.

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 leads the Lifebox Clinical team and has previously served on the Lifebox Global Governance Council.


Dr. Tihitena Negussie Mammo – Global Clinical Director

Dr. Tihitena Negussie is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery and a Consultant General and Pediatric Surgeon. As Global Clinical Director, Tihitena provides clinical leadership across Lifebox’s programmatic work. Tihitena has worked at the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital for more than 14 years and has served as the hospital’s Operation Room Theatre Director. Tihitena was part of the clinical team implementing Lifebox’s Clean Cut Program in Ethiopia and is part of Lifebox’s Clinical team. 

Tihitena 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 has also been a member of EMA’s Executive Board, as well as the Surgical Society of Ethiopia.

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.

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.

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.


Dr. Constance Harrell Shreckengost – Lifebox Associate 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.

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. 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. 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.