Gynuity Health Projects

About

Dina Abbas

Program Associate

Ms. Abbas holds a B.A. in International Relations from Knox College and an M.P.H in Forced Migration and Health from Columbia University. She has experience working on monitoring and evaluation, designing training curricula, and conducting research for public health projects in South Africa and Sudan.  Previously, she served as a consultant to the Government of Qatar to help implement a national initiative to improve access to, and delivery of, public services.

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Peggy Alevrontas

Production & Design Assistant

Ms. Alevrontas holds a B.S. in Computer Science, Studio Art and Elementary Education from Hunter College. She also holds an M.S. in Early Childhood Elementary Education from Hunter College. She also holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before joining Gynuity, Ms. Alevrontas worked as a graphic design production associate for OnEarth Magazine formally known as the Amicus Journal.

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Holly Anger

Program Research Coordinator

Ms. Anger received a B.S. from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from Columbia University. Prior to joining Gynuity, she worked as a Research Scientist at the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she served as co-investigator for research studies related to TB prevention and control. She has also worked with Partners in Health in Lima, Peru on research related to community-based treatment of multidrug-resistant TB.

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Denise Arocho

Office Manager

Ms. Arocho holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications from F.I.T. Prior to joining Gynuity in 2009, Denise worked as an Office Manager at S2 New York, LLC and as Staff Supervisor at Madison Square Garden. Denise serves as Gynuity’s Office Manager and acts as assistant to the director of Finance and Administration.

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Paul Blumenthal

Senior Clinical Adviser

While maintaining an active practice in obstetrics and gynecology, Paul Blumenthal is Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Stanford University. He serves as Director of the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services (SPIRES) and also the Section of Family Planning Services and Research. Dr. Blumenthal was educated at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and the Chicago Medical School (MD). He did his training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago/Michael Reese Medical Center and at UCLA (MPH). He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), and is an advisor to the World Health Organization. Dr. Blumenthal is committed to the development and implementation of innovative approaches to reproductive health issues in both the domestic and international arenas.

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Hillary Bracken

Director

Ms. Bracken received her B.A. in Asian Studies from Dartmouth College.  She also holds a Master of Health Sciences degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Department of Population and Family Health, a Master of Arts degree from University of California, Berkeley, Department of South Asian Studies, and a doctoral degree in history from the University of Virginia. Before joining Gynuity, she was a Staff Program Associate at the Population Council, where she was involved with clinical studies of mifepristone medical abortion and social science research related to abortion.  Ms. Bracken was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa.

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Jennifer Britton

Program Assistant

Ms. Britton graduated from Skidmore College summa cum laude, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish. In college, Ms. Britton was a research assistant on numerous studies with the Psychology Department. Prior to joining Gynuity, she worked as an English teacher in Madrid, Spain.

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Meagan Byrne

Program Assistant

Ms. Byrne graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affairs, concentrating in International Development Studies and minoring in French. While a student at GWU, she interned at a number of community development and human rights-focused organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Catholic Charities USA, the Council of Europe, and Reproductive Health Uganda. Prior to joining Gynuity, Ms. Byrne spent a year in Senegal working as a Monitoring and Evaluation assistant at Tostan.

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Philicia W. Castillo

Program Assistant

Ms. Castillo is a graduate of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California where she majored in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies.  Prior to joining Gynuity, Ms. Castillo worked on reproductive health issues through the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception at Family Care International. Ms. Castillo has done research on HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy issues for LGBT and minority communities at AIDS Project Los Angeles and was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer in Retalhuleu, Guatemala. In addition, at the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency, Ms. Castillo assisted the Chronic Disease and Health Disparities department with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of various community health programs targeted toward underserved minority and refugee populations.

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Dyanna Charles

Program Research Coordinator

Ms. Charles received her B.A. in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and her Masters in Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.  Before joining Gynuity, she completed a research fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Violence Prevention.  The focus of this work was on intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, and youth violence prevention.  Prior to her work in violence prevention, Ms. Charles worked as a health educator in STI/HIV prevention in an inner city hospital emergency room in Chicago.

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Erica Chong

Senior Program Associate

Ms. Chong received her B.A. in Asian Studies from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. Before joining Gynuity, she spent six years at the Population Council in New York, where she was a Program Coordinator in the Gender, Family and Development program. While at the Council, Ms. Chong worked on issues ranging from adolescent livelihood activities, child marriage, and the needs of early adolescents.

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Rodica Comendant

Senior Consulting Associate

Dr. Rodica Comendant is an attendant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Moldova. She also serves as the coordinator of the International Consortium for Medical Abortion (ICMA), the head of the Reproductive Health Training Center in Chisinau, Moldova and a regional trainer for medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) for early abortion. She is currently engaged in clinical studies for medical abortion and incomplete abortion. Dr. Comendant received her medical degree from the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Moldova and a Ph.D. in Obstetrics from the N. Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Moldova.

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Rasha Dabash

Director

Ms. Dabash received her B.A. in French Literature and Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Masters in International Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Before joining Gynuity, she was Senior Program Associate at EngenderHealth in New York and was a researcher at the Population Council.

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Suchitra Dalvie

Senior Consulting Associate

Dr Suchitra Dalvie is a women’s health expert, with over 15 years of clinical experience and over 10 years of development work experience. She is currently the Coordinator for the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) and a national coalition in India called CommonHealth. Work experience includes quality of care in clinical services, training of health care personnel (in technical aspects as well as gender sensitization and values clarification), developing protocols and guidelines (both technical and managerial), supportive supervision and clinical audit. Dr. Dalvie received her medical degree and an MD in ObGyn from the Seth GS Medical College, University of Bombay and is also an MRCOG (London, UK). She has obtained a PG Diploma in Hospital and Health Care Management.

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Ayisha Diop

Senior Program Associate

Ms. Diop received a B.A. in human biology from Scripps College and is a graduate of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining Gynuity, she worked on reproductive health issues at the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health and then at IntraHealth International in Dakar, Senegal. As Regional Program Coordinator she provided technical assistance and conducted trainings in Francophone and Anglophone Africa. Currently, Ayisha coordinates Gynuity’s work in West Africa.

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Jill Durocher

Senior Program Associate

Ms. Durocher holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Michigan and is completing her M.A. in participatory development at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. Prior to joining Gynuity, she spent four years working at the Population Council, New York, where she was involved in a range of research activities on medical abortion, safe motherhood, and postpartum health. Most recently, Ms. Durocher gained considerable experience in the field of information and communication technology for health and development while working at Satellife, MA as their Information Officer.

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Ilana Dzuba

Senior Program Associate

Ms. Dzuba received a B.A. in Latin American Studies and American Civilization from Brown University and an M.H.Sc. degree in International Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She spent several years in Mexico coordinating women’s health programs at two community-based organizations and conducting research on cervical cancer prevention with the National Institute of Public Health and the Mexican Institute for Social Security. Most recently, she worked at EngenderHealth on cervical cancer prevention research and program implementation.

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Yelena Elyukin

Director of Finance and Administration

Ms. Elyukin holds a B.A. in Economics from Tashkent State Institute of Finance in the former Soviet Union. Before joining Gynuity, Ms. Elyukin worked as an office manager for Softlabs, LLC and as a bookkeeper for Fine Art Acrylic, Inc.

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Laura Frye

Program Associate

Ms. Frye received her B.A. in International Relations and Community Health from Tufts University and her Masters in Public Health from the Yale School of Public Health.  Before joining Gynuity, she was a Senior Management Consultant at Public Health Solutions where she provided training and technical assistance to non-profits in the areas of program planning, monitoring and evaluation, and behavioral science.  Ms. Frye was a Fulbright Scholar to Morocco.

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Leah Koenig

Program Assistant

Ms. Koenig recently graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in the College of Social Studies, where she completed an honors thesis on population and reproductive health policy in India.  Prior to joining Gynuity, she interned with several reproductive health and rights organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Family Planning, the New Delhi office of the Population Council, and most recently, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) in Washington D.C. 

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Tatyana Lotarevich

Program Assistant II

Ms. Lotarevich graduated from Brooklyn College and Macaulay Honors College summa cum laude, with a BA in Sociology and minors in Archival Studies and Community Documentation, and History. After graduation she worked for nearly two years for Deloitte LLP’s World Financial Center office, supporting Northeast Records Management. Ms. Lotarevich later worked as an archivist for Brooklyn College, where she was responsible for processing a collection of journalistic documents. At Gynuity, Ms. Lotarevich provides administrative support to program staff. 

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Karmen Louie

Program Research Coordinator

Ms. Louie received her BA in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, and her MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University.  She has experience working in Hepatitis B community-based participatory research, as well as various clinical and research work with aging populations.  Prior to joining Gynuity, she was a Staff Associate at Columbia University Medical Center on a study of Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans.

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Roxanne Martin

Program Assistant

Ms. Martin graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Human Services and concentrated in Public Health. She has interned for a number of public health organizations prior to joining Gynuity, including Planned Parenthood NYC, Doctors without Borders, and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Ms. Martin also volunteered and worked for Health Leads DC, where she supported and managed volunteers.

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Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc

Senior Consulting Associate

Dr. Ngoc is a practicing gynecologist with expertise in clinical practice and research. Previously, she was Vice Director of Research and International Collaboration at Hungvuong Hospital, one of the largest Ob-Gyn hospitals in Vietnam. She has also worked as a consultant for the Population Council on safe motherhood and medical abortion research, helping pave the way for the introduction of medical abortion in Vietnam. She is consulting on Gynuity’s portfolio of research around misoprostol for a range of obstetric and gynecological indications. Her other interests include research and training on emergency obstetric care, infertility and medical abortion. She received her medical training at Saigon University and her Masters Degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

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Melanie Peña

Director

Ms. Peña received a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Chico, and a dual Masters in Public Health and in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1992, she has worked in reproductive and sexual health and rights education and advocacy in Latin America and the United States. Ms. Peña most recently worked as International Programs Coordinator at Cicatelli Associates Inc., coordinating training and professional exchange programs for health care providers and people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Ingrida Platais

Program Research Coordinator

Ingrida Platais received her B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and her Master in Science from Columbia University School of Social Work. Before joining Gynuity, she was a Project Director at Columbia University’s Global Health Research Center of Central Asia where her work focused on developing and testing prevention and treatment interventions targeting the co-occurrence of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and substance use. Originally from Latvia, she has lived and worked in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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Sheila Raghavan

Senior Program Associate

Ms. Raghavan received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College and a Master of Science in Population and International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Before joining Gynuity, she was an Analysis and Reporting Manager at HIV Care Services, a project of the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City, Inc. She has lived in India and worked in India and Mexico.

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Elizabeth Raymond

Senior Medical Associate

Dr. Raymond received her MD degree from Columbia University, completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University, and received a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins. After several years as an epidemiology fellow at the National Institutes of Health, she joined the staff of Family Health International in 1994, where she spent 16 years conducting clinical, behavioral, and programmatic research in contraception and related reproductive health areas.  She serves as a consultant or board member for a number of institutions conducting research and advocacy work related to contraception.  She has written or coauthored more than 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals. She joined the staff of Gynuity in November 2010.

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Wendy Sheldon

Senior Program Associate

Wendy Sheldon obtained her doctoral degree in Population and Public Policy at Princeton University. She also holds an M.P.H from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S.W. from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Gynuity, she spent ten years working in the global reproductive health and rights movement: first as a Program Officer for Population at the Hewlett Foundation and most recently as Evaluation Specialist for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s international division.

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Lindsay Shields

Grants and Contracts Manager

Ms. Shields received her B.A. in History and Gender & Sexuality Studies from New York University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and her Master’s of Public Administration degree from Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. She has several years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Ms. Shields worked in grants management for the New York State Health Foundation, designing grant applications, performing preliminary due diligence on grantees’ financial documents, and managing reporting and payment deadlines for all grants.

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Tara Shochet

Program Associate

Dr. Shochet received a P.H.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan and an M.P.H. in Population and Family Health at Columbia University. Before joining Gynuity, she spent several years as a Research Consultant working for non-profit organizations (including Gynuity) on projects related to women’s health. She has over 15 years of research experience, primarily in the areas of abortion and contraception. Previous places of employment include the University of Iowa College of Public Health and Princeton University’s Office of Population Research.

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Yi-Ling Tan

Program Research Coordinator

Ms. Tan received a B.Sc. in International Politics from Georgetown University and a Master of Public Health degree from the Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University. Prior to joining Gynuity, she worked on expanding HIV counseling and testing in Zambia for Emory University and provided technical assistance to the World Bank on HIV-serodiscordant couples in Kenya. She has also coordinated a clinical trial on obstetric hemorrhage in northern Zambia for the University of California – San Francisco, and has experience working on sexual and gender-based violence among refugees in Ethiopia.

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Meighan Tarnagada

Program Research Coordinator

Ms. Tarnagada holds a B.S. in Forensic Science from Florida Gulf Coast University and a MPH in Global Health from Emory University. She has over 5 years of experience in sexual, reproductive, and maternal health research in francophone Sub Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Gynuity, she coordinated community-based health projects for the US Peace Corps and led monitoring and evaluation for Marie Stopes International’s family planning program in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Most recently, Ms. Tarnagada was involved in evaluating a maternal health action-research initiative in Mali for CARE USA and conducted operational research on HIV and family planning service integration in Kigali, Rwanda for the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group.

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Tamar Tsereteli

Senior Consulting Associate

Dr. Tsereteli received her M.D. degree from Tbilisi State Medical University; a Master of Science in Reproductive Health from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D in Reproductive Health from the Scientific Academy of Georgia. Before joining Gynuity, she was a Research/Clinical Manager of an STI/HIV Prevention Project in Georgia implemented by Save the Children. While practicing medicine, Dr. Tsereteli was involved as an investigator in WHO clinical studies of mifepristone medical abortion and emergency contraception. From her base in Tbilisi, Georgia, Dr. Tsereteli will coordinate much of Gynuity’s emerging work on medical abortion in the Caucasus and help expand initiatives to other countries of the former Soviet Union.

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Beverly Winikoff

President

Beverly Winikoff, M.D., M.P.H., President, Gynuity Health Projects. Before beginning work on Gynuity, Dr. Winikoff was employed for 25 years at the Population Council where she was Director for Reproductive Health and a Senior Medical Associate. She developed and managed the Council’s Ebert Program on Critical Issues in Reproductive Health, including work on Safe Motherhood, prevention of STDs/AIDS, prevention of unsafe abortion, provision of safe abortion care, and improving postpartum care for mothers and babies. Prior to joining the Council in 1978, she was Assistant Director for Health Sciences, The Rockefeller Foundation. Her work has focused on issues of reproductive choice, contraception, abortion, and women’s health. Dr. Winikoff graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude, earned her M.D. degree from New York University and her M.P.H. degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has served on numerous boards of directors including the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (founding member), Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH, founding member), the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), the National Abortion Federation, The MediTeam Trust in South Africa, The Society of Family Planning, and Medicines360. Dr. Winikoff received the Carl S. Schultz Award from the American Public Health Association in 2007 and the Irvin M. Cushner Lectureship award from the Association for Reproductive Health Professionals in 2009. Dr. Winikoff is also a Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York.

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