Board of Trustees
Vanessa Kerry, MD, MSc
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Kerry is the co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health (Seed), a non-profit that focuses on the power of investing in health and the health workforce for social well-being, economic growth, equity which transforms countries. Through partnership with governments and in-country academic institutions, under Vanessa’s tenure Seed has helped train more than 17,000 doctors, nurses and midwives and has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives. Seed’s impact is rooted in its unique leveraging model that not only provides better care to patients, but also trains future generations, supports the health sector and catalyzes change in the health system.
Dr. Kerry’s work has been featured at conferences, in print, online and media including the Aspen Ideas Festival, the United Nations, the World Health Assembly, NPR, PBS, MSNBC and Marie Claire, the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times and The Lancet.
She graduated from Yale University summa cum laude and Harvard Medical School cum laude, completing her clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital. She earned her Master’s in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing from the London Schools of Economics and of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently a critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and serves as the Associate Director of Partnerships and Global Initiatives at MGH Global Health. She directs the Global Public Policy and Social Change program at Harvard Medical School where she has focused on links between security and health. She is a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Social Entrepreneur, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She as awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Public Policy from Northeastern University in 2015. She was recently appointed to the prestigious President’s Council for International Activities at Yale University, as a Global Advisor to the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and one of only 24 inaugural Fellows of WomenLift Health awarded by Stanford University and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is the mother of a four- and eight- year old.
Bonaventure Ahaisibwe, MBChB, MPH
Country Director – Uganda
Dr. Ahaisibwe is physician and public health specialist holding an MPH and MBChB from the University of Manchester and Makerere University, respectively. Currently, he is the Uganda Country Director for Seed Global Health. Previously, he had worked as Program Manager for the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) with Peace Corps in Uganda. Dr. Ahaisibwe started his career as a medical officer at Nakivale refugee settlement under the GTZ/UNHCR partnership leading a clinical team of 42 health workers providing therapeutic and preventive health interventions to a population of 10,000 refugees. He spearheaded the establishment of the first HIV clinic and male medical circumcision program. He has grown through progressively complex technical (clinical, training, programming), leadership and management positions at University Research Co.LLC, UNHCR/BMZ/GIZ partnership, Kampala International University and Peace Corps. He has participated in and led team interventions on quality improvement, clinical care, health workforce capacity development, and health systems strengthening. As a national mentor, trainer and coach on several in service training courses on HIV, he has provided training and mentorship to over 500 health workers. Dr. Ahaisibwe joined Peace Corps in 2012 as a back up Peace Corps Medical Officer before assuming the role of program manager, Global Health Service Partnership. (GHSP). He was also the back up director for programming and training and Sexual Assault and Response Liaison for over 160 Peace Corps Volunteers in Uganda.
Irene Atuhairwe, MPH
In March 2019, Irene joined Seed Global Health as the Technical Advisor for Nursing and Midwifery. She leads the organization’s efforts in strengthening nursing and midwifery in Uganda through education, practice, and policy. In addition to this, Irene supports the Seed’s policy agenda in strengthening human resources for health, focusing on emergency care and maternal, neonatal, and child health. Irene is passionate about strengthening the nursing and midwifery profession in Uganda, health systems strengthening, maternal, neonatal, and child health as well as serving the most vulnerable populations especially women and children.
Prior to Irene’s formal working experience, she volunteered at the Reach out Mbuya Project which was a local catholic church initiative that was providing HIV Care, treatment and support. During this assignment, Irene was responsible for providing continuous care for PLWHA including the provision of antiretroviral therapy as part of the task shifting initiative in HIV care for Uganda. She then joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in 2005 where she was responsible for initiating and supporting patient support systems both at clinic and community levels for the AIDS Relief program. While at CRS she worked on various community-based programs specifically for vulnerable children and pregnant women. She was the leader for all nurse supported initiatives in HIV Care for CRS supported partners in the western region and in 2010 for the entire country. In 2012, Irene joined the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau where she helped kick start the AIDS Care and treatment program for all Catholic faith-based facilities in Uganda. In May 2015, Irene joined the US Peace Corps Uganda initially as the program specialist for the Global Health Service Partnership and later as the Program Manager. She led and coordinated initiatives for volunteer support, site development of suitable placements/institutions and maintaining strong relationships with partner institutions and relevant stakeholders including Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education officials.
Irene holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master in Public Health from Makerere University. She has 15 years of experience in health programing with focus on HIV and AIDS, maternal, neonatal, and child health, health policy, and human resources for health.
Erin Barr, MPA
Managing Director, Finance & Administration
Erin Barr is the Managing Director, Finance & Administration at Seed Global Health. She comes to Seed from John Snow, Inc. (JSI) where she most recently served as Finance & Operations Manager for the International Division, managing the financial, operational, and compliance aspects of a portfolio of donor-funded projects in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as well as in South America and Asia. Prior to her time at JSI, Erin was a consultant for UNICEF and the Ecuador Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion. She also served as Country Director for WorldTeach/Costa Rica, a volunteer teacher program partnered with the Ministry of Public Education in Costa Rica. Erin has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Theology from Boston College and a Master of Public Administration and Non-Profit Management from New York University.
Country Representative, Zambia
A champion of primary care, you will currently find him rounding the medical wards at a local government hospital with medical students and residents as a physician-educator, at his office at the University of Zambia where he lectures or carrying out work related to Seed Global Health’s programming in Zambia. Dr. Birkland is a resident of Zambia, his wife’s home, where he has worked for years as a primary care physician and as a global health consultant to both public and private institutions.
Bassim’s professional interests include medical education and training and he has been involved in establishing new health professional training programs in Zambia. He has years of experience with clinical teaching of health professionals in low-resource settings. He has held a faculty position at the University of Zambia since 2017 and currently coordinates the only Family Medicine training program in the country.
Outside of professional pursuits, Dr. Birkland serves on two community development boards and enjoys spending time with his wife and toddler twins at their farm outside of Lusaka.
Program Manager, Country Operations
Kelly Carpenter has spent her postgraduate career in the design and management of asset based community development programs in Latin America. Before joining Seed Global Health in 2019, she spent four years in South and Central America spearheading local program initiatives in partnership with grassroots organizations, community cooperatives, and health facilities in rural and semi-urban settings. Most recently, Kelly served as Regional Director responsible for leading teams in building partnerships, establishing infrastructure, and overseeing operational expansion into Guatemala while closing out same in Nicaragua. Kelly is passionate about and values community, equity, and relationship building in all facets of life. She brings over a decade of experience across disciplines and holds an MPH in Global Health Practice and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of South Florida.
Meaghan joins the Seed Team from a position supporting executives of a private equity firm. Prior to her most recent position, she worked as an Executive Assistant at Harvard University after spending two years at The Kraft Group as Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO.
Meaghan’s background includes work in the worlds of finance, higher education, and public service. She began her career as an intern in Washington, D.C. and has brought her experience in scheduling and event planning to Seed Global Health.
Operations Officer – Malawi
Gerald Chibwana is our Operations Officer in Malawi. He joins Seed from Umodzi Park and Resorts where he worked in different management roles, the recent ones being as the Sales Manager and Groups and Convention Manager. He worked with clients that included the UNDP, US Embassy, and Standard Bank.
Gerald has 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He was one of the team of five people that was involved in the opening of Malawi’s first 5 star Hotel in 2015. Gerald was tasked with the setting up of systems, processes, and procedures for the property. He has also worked with other leading hotels including Sunbird Hotels, Crossroads, and Protea Ryalls Hotel. Gerald has a BA in Administration from Cyprus Institute of Marketing.
Patricia Egessa, MA
Senior Communications Manager
Augustine Juma Fannah, MPA
Juma is the Finance and Administration Manager, Country Operations. He has over 12 years of experience working in finance and administration. Juma joined Seed Global Health in August 2019. Prior to joining Seed, Juma was in Myanmar working as a Finance Coordinator for MSF. He has worked in several countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and South Sudan as a Finance and Administration Manager, where he oversaw the implementation of finance and administration policy and procedure. Juma has an MPA in Public Management as well as a BS in Accounting, a BS in Computer Information Systems, and an AS in Business Administration.
Leigh Forbush, MPH
Leigh Forbush is a Program Manager at Seed Global Health with experience designing and implementing health workforce development initiatives. Most recently, Ms. Forbush was a Project Manager at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) where she managed multi-year children’s health quality improvement collaboratives for public health professionals. Prior to joining NICHQ, Ms. Forbush was a Global Learning and Training Specialist at Partners In Health where she led capacity-building projects for a wide range of health providers in Haiti, Mexico, and Liberia. Ms. Forbush has a background in health education and training and developed her interest in global healthcare delivery following stints at Boston Medical Center and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and received her Master of Public Health degree from Boston University School of Public Health.
Esther Johnston, MD, MPH
Advisor of Medicine
Dr. Johnston serves as an Advisor of Medicine for Seed Global Health. She is a faculty member with the Wright Center Family Medicine Residency at HealthPoint in Auburn, WA, and also a former GHSP volunteer. During her GHSP service (2014-2015) she served as a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Dar es Salaam. Dr. Johnston worked previously with the International Trauma Systems Development Program in Ecuador and completed a Hubert Global Health Fellowship with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Kenya. She has also participated in public health, research, and primary care development projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Dr. Johnston completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego, and earned her MPH at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health before attending the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, where she graduated from the I2CRP track focusing on improving healthcare access to medically underserved populations. She completed her family medicine residency at the University of Arizona. In her current role, she supports recruitment efforts, facilitates the development of partnerships surrounding potential family medicine sites for the GHSP program, and assists volunteers in the field.
Program Officer, Malawi
Thombi Kaunda contributes her energy, passion, and skills primarily to supporting Seed Global Health’s Malawi Team, in a fast-paced office during a time of rapid growth. Before joining Seed in 2018, she worked with two international banks in Malawi, namely Standard Bank and Ecobank Plc, and one local bank in different junior and senior positions. Thombi has vast experience in the financial sector including sales and marketing, operations, administration and finance, credit and risk management, and foreign trade dealings. She has a degree in Financial Services with specialization in Treasury and International Trade obtained from the University of South Africa and is studying towards a Master in Business Administration at UNICAF University.
Eleanor Liu, CPA
Eleanor Liu is the Finance Manager at Seed Global Health. She previously worked in the public accounting industry as an audit manager where she built strong technical accounting and internal control knowledge. She also has experience working in nonprofit organizations, managing day-to-day financial operations and establishing financial policies and procedures. She holds a CPA license in Massachusetts and a Non-for-Profit certificate from AICPA.
Chris Maddocks, MS
Managing Director of Partnerships and External Affairs
Chris serves as the Managing Director of Partnerships and External Affairs where he oversees the development and communication functions at Seed, as well as, supporting our strategic partnerships including policy and advocacy coalitions. Chris has served in a variety of roles in the health and development sectors including senior roles at UNICEF (USA) and Boston Children’s Hospital. Prior to his work at Seed Global Health, Chris served as Senior Vice President at March of Dimes where he directed efforts to modernize the charity’s brand and diversify its revenue portfolio. His work at March of Dimes includes award-winning media efforts, policy initiatives, and health awareness campaigns. Chris lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, and has volunteered for a number of nonprofits including the Essential Medicine Campaign, Avison Fund, Mobile Giving Foundation, as well as Earlham College’s national leadership council. He holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University and is a frequent public speaker on the social good and philanthropic sectors.
Associate Director, Midwifery
Julie has worked as a nurse-midwife since 2004 and has been recognized as a Fellow in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School and Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Julie has worked at Mount Auburn since 2005, most recently serving as the Assistant Director of Midwifery and Project Manager of Quality Improvement on the Labor and Delivery Ward. Working out of the Boston office, Julie is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer having served in Burkina Faso in 1998. She has also worked in Haiti with Partners in Health and was an MGH Global Health NUrsing Fellow at Lira University. Julie received her Master’s in Midwifery from the Yale University School of Nursing in 2004 and she is currently pursuing her MPH.
Clelia Anna Mannino, PhD
Director of Evaluation and Impact Analysis
Dr. Mannino is Director of Evaluation and Impact Analysis at Seed Global Health. She comes to Seed from Oxfam America where she most recently served as Research & Evaluation Advisor, advising impact evaluations and MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning) work across programming in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to that, Clelia Anna served as Researcher for Oxfam’s community-based savings groups program, collaborating with key stakeholders to design and implement an extensive research and MEL portfolio across 5 countries of operation. Her other experiences include research with immigrant groups as a Fulbright Scholar (Italy) and an evaluation of education programming as a Research Fellow with Save the Children (Malawi). Clelia Anna holds a PhD in Psychology (Social) from the University of Minnesota and a BA from Mount Holyoke College.
Fola May, MD, PhD
Director of Internal Medicine Programs
Dr. May is the Director of Internal Medicine Programs for Seed Global Health. She is a senior fellow in gastroenterology in the University of California Los Angeles Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program and a doctoral candidate in health policy and management at the Fielding UCLA School of Public Health. Her research addresses challenges in access to preventative services nationally and internationally, community engagement in health, and patient education. Dr. May serves on the board of directors for Operation Healthy Africa, a nonprofit foundation that provides basic healthcare in resource-poor regions in West and East Africa, and is also a medical director for the organization’s medical clinic in Bombo, Uganda. She has also participated in global health programs in Costa Rica, Nigeria, and South Africa. Dr. May graduated cum laude from Yale University in 2002 and then attended the University of Cambridge to study international systems of health care delivery, obtaining a Masters in epidemiology before matriculating to Harvard Medical School. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, she became a clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine and Manager of Trainee Affairs for the Multicultural Affairs Office, where her focus was increasing workforce diversity for MGH and overseeing a mentorship program for housestaff of color.
Kiran Mitha, MD
Director of Pediatric Programs
Dr. Mitha is a Director of Pediatric Programs for Seed Global Health, based out of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She is a board-certified pediatrician who served as a GHSP volunteer in northern Uganda. As a GHSP volunteer, she taught third and fifth year medical students during their clinical pediatrics rotation at Gulu University and mentored interns and medical officers at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor. Before joining GHSP, she finished a fellowship in community medicine at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. She completed medical school at the University of California, San Diego and pediatrics residency at UCLA within the Community Health and Advocacy Track. She also has global health experience in Kampala, Uganda; Ethiopia; and Guatemala. In her current role, she provides technical assistance to GHSP volunteers to optimize their roles as clinician-educators and strengthens partnerships with local host institutions and governments.
Finance & Administration Manager – Uganda
Eric holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a finance/accounting concentration from Makerere University Business School and has over five years of experience working with profit and non-profit entities. His expertise spans corporate finance management, accounting, project/operations management, HR management, and tax administration among others.
Before joining Seed, he worked as the Finance & Administration Officer for Farm Radio International; a communication for development INGO with headquarters in Ottawa, Canada and with country offices in seven African countries. In this role, he supported the Uganda country office with occasional temporary duty assignment to the regional office in Tanzania. He is passionate about and derives satisfaction from being part of a team implementing impact projects to effect positive change across the world.
Maureen Ries, MD
Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology Programs
Dr. Ries is the Director of OB/GYN Programs for Seed Global Health. She is an Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California San Diego. She taught and worked in Tanzania as part of GHSP’s inaugural class and has also worked in Malawi, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and China. As a GHSP volunteer, she taught Assistant Medical Officer Students and Clinical Officer students during their clinical OB/GYN rotations at Sengerema Hospital near Mwanza, Tanzania. Dr. Ries graduated from Smith College in 2004 before going to the University of California San Diego for medical school. She completed her residency training at the Ohio State University where she stayed on as faculty for one year before joining GHSP. In her current role, she provides technical assistance to GHSP volunteers to optimize their roles as clinician-educators and is actively involved in the GHSP physician volunteer application process.
James Scott, MD, FACEP
Dr. Scott is a Senior Advisor of Seed Global Health. He is an emergency medicine physician and professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWU SMHS). He served as Dean of GWU SMHS from July 2003 through December 2010. Previously, he served as residency director, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in SMHS. Since stepping down as Dean, Dr. Scott has dedicated his time to the education of medical students in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is one of the lead faculty on the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, the first large scale, US government sponsored project aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of doctors in Africa. As Dean, Dr. Scott founded the Medical Humanities program at the GW SMHSH, a program of community service for the medical school, and in collaboration with Physicians for Peace, he established surgery, pediatric and obstetrics and gynecology residency programs in Eritrea as an attempt to reverse the “brain drain” of physicians from the developing world.
Program Coordinator for Educator Recruitment
Daniel Spearman is the Program Coordinator for Educator Recruitment at Seed Global Health. He most recently served as the Study Away Specialist in Global Engagement at Plymouth State University. Dan’s prior experience related to international development also includes an internship at the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, conducting research in Cuba on sustainable development practices and the economic impacts of tourism, and serving as a youth delegate at the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand. Dan holds a BA in Political Science with minor studies in Biology and Peace and Social Justice Studies from Plymouth State University.
Managing Director, Program Operations
Amy F. Stern oversees Seed’s program to achieve annual and multi-year targets and improve performance and impact. She works closely with country directors to successfully develop and execute Seed’s country strategies and impact model, ensuring alignment with our strategic plan.
Amy has served in a variety of roles in the global and domestic health sectors. Prior to her work at Seed, Amy served as the senior director for health systems at University Research Co., LLC. She led multi-disciplinary technical teams in supporting projects to sustainably strengthen systems and improve services in infectious diseases, primary care, and maternal and child health at all levels of the system in East and Southern Africa. As part of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Project, Amy managed the Partnership for HIV-Free Survival (PHFS), a consortium of six countries working to improve services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and lead activities to integrate nutrition, assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) into care and improve retention of antiretroviral therapy patients. The outcomes from PHFS and NACS resulted in changes to national policy and service delivery. Her earlier roles include senior director at the National Quality Forum, where she led outreach to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 15 Aligning Forces for Quality communities, and senior positions at the American College of Cardiology and National Committee for Quality Assurance.
She holds a master’s degree in health science from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and Hygiene and a BA in Communications/Psychology from McDaniel College.
Director of Program Quality and Management
Ms. Sud is the Director of Program Quality and Management at Seed Global Health. She brings over a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector, managing and providing technical assistance on US government-funded global health programs. Prior to joining Seed Global Health, Ms. Sud was with the American International Health Alliance. As a Program Officer and Team Leader for their flagship project, the HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, she oversaw the implementation of partnerships between academic institutions and hospitals in the US and sub-Saharan Africa which addressed health systems strengthening specifically, health professions education and workforce development. Ms. Sud also spent a year in India as an Indicorps Fellow after backstopping HIV prevention programs at AED (now known as FHI360). She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Maryland.
Brittney van de Water, PhD, RN, CPNP
Director of Pediatric Nursing
Dr. van de Water received her BS and MS at Boston College Connell School of Nursing and earned her PhD at Duke University School of Nursing, and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. She has spent over twelve years being involved with short-term immersion and nursing education trips throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa which set her career trajectory towards global health research. Prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner for in the Boston area serving children and youth from diverse backgrounds in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In 2013, Brittney moved to Malawi, Africa for one year volunteering with Seed Global Health and the U.S. Peace Corps as a Nurse Educator working at Mzuzu University teaching mostly bachelor degree nurses in pediatric clinical and course work. Currently, her research focuses on examining appropriate treatment for individuals with drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa and Peru. She plans to continue researching in low resourced settings with high disease burdens to generate new knowledge and translate this knowledge into practice. She continues to practice clinically in Boston, MA while directing the Pediatric Nursing Program at Seed Global Health.
Kate York, PhD, MSN, RN, CRP
Director of Community Health Nursing
Kate is currently the Director of Global Health Nursing and Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, where she received her PhD in Nursing Research. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has spent most of her career working with uninsured and underinsured clients in Federally Qualified Health Centers in Cincinnati. Kate conducted her dissertation research in Tanzania on a community-based medication distribution program for a neglected tropical disease. She was a GHSP volunteer at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in the 2014/2015 cohort, teaching community health nursing as well as a variety of other courses.