background

Staff

  • Peggy Alevrontas, Production & Design Assistant
    Peggy’s bio
    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.
  • Holly Anger, Program Associate
    Holly’s bio

    Holly started working at Gynuity in 2011. She designs and manages clinical and community-based studies addressing postpartum hemorrhage, post-abortion care and medical abortion. Her work focuses on research and evaluation of service delivery approaches that seek to expand use of simple, appropriate technologies in maternal and reproductive health. She has worked in various countries, including India, Egypt, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Before joining Gynuity, Holly worked as a research scientist at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and also gained experience working with the Partners in Health branch in Lima, Peru. She is proficient in Spanish, holds a Masters of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from Columbia University in New York, and received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry with Summa Cum Laude honors from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • Jennifer Blum, Vice President for Programs and Strategic Initiatives
    Jennifer’s bio

    Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French Literature from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s of public health from University of California, Los Angeles. She previously worked as a Program Officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation where she oversaw grantmaking for the Population and Reproductive Health’s Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Youth subprograms. Jennifer has extensive experience in the reproductive health field, and has led research and published papers on reproductive health technologies for over a decade. Her other work experience includes positions at Gynuity Health Projects and the Population Council, in New York, where she carried out research focused on post-abortion care, medical abortion and postpartum hemorrhage. She also served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa

  • Paul Blumenthal, Senior Clinical Adviser
    Paul’s bio
    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.
  • Manuel Bousiéguez, Consulting Program Research Coordinator
    Manuel’s bio

    Mr. Bousiéguez holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a MBA from the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresas in Mexico. Over the past 15 years, he has been involved in consulting work for a number of key organizations conducting research in reproductive and sexual health in Mexico, including Gynuity. Prior to Gynuity, he was a researcher at the Population Council’s Mexico office.

  • Hillary Bracken, Senior Director
    Hillary’s bio

    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.

  • Michelle Cardona, Office Manager
    Michelle’s bio

    Michelle is the Office Manager at Gynuity Health Projects, where she ensures the daily operations run smoothly and efficiently. To the Gynuity Team she brings her passion for Business Operation: Michelle has decades of experience in business management and coordination to which she’s honed and executed to reach numerous company goals. She’s always found the importance of women’s health; Mind and Body. Being an avid cyclist, a yoga enthusiast, and a mother of three; Balance is the KEY to Happiness.

  • Erica Chong, Director
    Erica’s bio

    Erica Chong is a Director at Gynuity Health Projects. Ms. Chong joined Gynuity in 2006 and coordinates medical abortion activities in the Caucasus region and the United States, including studies on late first trimester and 2nd trimester medical abortion, and studies seeking to make medical abortion more patient-centered. In recent years she has increasingly focused on issues surrounding access to medical abortion, and is co-leading a project piloting a direct-to-patient model of telemedicine abortion. She also coordinated a large multi-site study in the U.S. looking at the prevalence of Clostridium sordellii and Clostridium perfringens, two bacteria that were implicated in fatal infections following diverse reproductive events.

  • Kelly Cleland, Senior Consulting Associate
    Kelly’s bio

    Kelly Cleland is a researcher at Princeton University, with a focus on abortion and emergency contraception. Kelly also directs the American Society for Emergency Contraception, with a mission to improve access to and information about EC to providers, advocates and the public. Prior to joining Princeton University, Kelly worked at the University of California, San Francisco and Planned Parenthood of New York City. Kelly received her MPA and MPH from Columbia University and is a Full Fellow of the Society of Family Planning. Kelly serves as a consultant to Gynuity on the Mifepristone Coalition, helping to develop the Coalition’s strategy and expand outreach.

  • Rodica Comendant, Senior Consulting Associate
    Rodica’s bio

    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.

  • Ayisha Diop, Senior Program Associate
    Ayisha’s bio
    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.
  • Monica Dragoman, Consulting Medical Associate
    Monica’s bio

    Dr. Dragoman received her MD degree from the Medical College of Ohio and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. She then went on to pursue a fellowship in family planning as well as receive a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from Columbia University. Subsequently, Monica joined the faculty of Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY to develop and direct a successful Ryan residency training program in abortion and family planning. Immediately prior to joining Gynuity, Monica was working as a medical officer in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO. While at WHO, she contributed substantially to clinical research and the development of new and updated guidelines promoting evidence-based abortion and contraception clinical care and service delivery.

  • Jill Durocher, Director
    Jill’s bio

    Jill Durocher, a Director at Gynuity Health Projects, oversees the planning and implementation of a large portfolio of work on testing new approaches to deliver more effective care for postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in low resource settings. She participates in the design, coordination, and monitoring of field work on the use of promising PPH technologies and new models of care in facilities and community deliveries. She has worked in wide range of countries, including Pakistan, Uganda, and Ecuador, and has a strong track record in facilitating effective dissemination and advocacy of the research with governments, donors, and program agencies. Her specific research interests include identifying innovative ways and practical solutions for improving the diagnosis of PPH and offering more timely care. Prior to joining Gynuity in 2005, she supported research and program activities at the Population Council, including on medical abortion, postabortion care, and safe motherhood. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Michigan and completed graduate coursework in participatory development and planning at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies.

  • Ilana Dzuba, Director
    Ilana’s bio

    At Gynuity, Ilana Dzuba develops and leads strategic initiatives and partnerships in Latin America on medical abortion. She also designs and manages global multi-center research to expand access to safe abortion and simplify models of care, and provides technical support to health systems, hospitals/clinics and provider networks to enhance the quality of evidence-based medical abortion services, including in Mexico, Indonesia and Chile. Prior to joining Gynuity in 2005, she focused on cervical cancer prevention strategies and research at EngenderHealth and in Mexico with the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) and the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS). A former full-spectrum doula, she serves on the Board of Directors of The Doula Project. Ilana received a dual B.A. degree in Latin American Studies and American Civilization from Brown University and a Master of Health Sciences degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (International Health).

  • Yelena Elyukin, Senior Director of Finance and Administration
    Yelena’s bio

    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.

  • Emma Frank, Program Assistant
    Emma’s bio

    Emma Frank is a summa cum laude and Psi Chi graduate from Clark University where she studied Psychology, Marginalized Community Studies, and Gender and Sexuality. She has worked at the Institute of International Education for the Fulbright Students and Scholars Department, and for the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy for the Adult Treatment Clinic and the Psychoanalytic Training Program. Emma’s senior honor’s thesis focuses on same-sex adoptive parenting, and her research on this topic was cited in the New York Times. She joined the Gynuity team in 2019 and currently assists with the TelAbortion and the Diagnosis and Prediction of Preeclampsia research projects.

  • Laura Frye, Program Associate
    Laura’s bio
    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.
  • Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc, Senior Consulting Associate
    Nguyen Thi Nhu’s bio

    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.

  • Melanie Peña, Senior Director
    Melanie’s bio

    Ms. Peña, MPH, MA, has worked at Gynuity since 2004 on a broad portfolio of projects including research, training and technical support to governments and health systems on medical abortion, postabortion care, postpartum hemorrhage, preeclampsia, and increasing access to quality maternal and reproductive health care through task-sharing initiatives. She has supported a growing body of work in Mexico since 2007. Prior to joining Gynuity Ms. Peña worked for various NGOs managing reproductive and sexual health and rights education and advocacy initiatives in Latin America and the United States. She has a strong track record developing training curricula for a range of audiences including youth, health care providers, health systems administrators and other professional groups. Ms. Peña holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Chico, and dual Masters degrees in Public Health and in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a native English speaker, fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Ingrida Platais, Program Associate
    Ingrida’s bio

    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.

  • Elizabeth Raymond, Senior Medical Associate
    Elizabeth’s bio
    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.
  • Wendy Sheldon, Senior Consulting Associate
    Wendy’s bio

    Wendy Sheldon is a Senior Consulting Associate at Gynuity Health Projects in New York where she conducts and oversees clinical, social science and implementation research. She has more than 15 years of experience in the global reproductive health movement and her work has spanned a range of topics including abortion, contraception, HIV, postpartum hemorrhage and intimate partner abuse. Before joining Gynuity, Dr. Sheldon worked as Evaluation Specialist at Planned Parenthood Global and as Program Officer for Population at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She holds a Doctoral degree in Demography and Public Affairs from Princeton University, a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Tara Shochet, Senior Program Associate
    Tara’s bio

    Dr. Shochet joined Gynuity in 2013. Her primary focus is on medical abortion and contraception in the United States. 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 20 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. Dr. Shochet holds a PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan and an MPH in Population and Family Health from Columbia University. She is fluent in English and French.

  • Meighan Tarnagada, Program Research Coordinator
    Meighan’s bio
    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.
  • Valerie Tossas, Contracts and Grants Coordinator
    Valerie’s bio

    Ms. Tossas graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Prior to joining Gynuity in August 2016, Ms. Tossas worked as Grants Coordinator at a non-profit in Westchester, NY for 6 years. She has several years of prior administrative experience as well.

  • Tamar Tsereteli, Senior Consulting Associate
    Tamar’s bio

    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 PhD in Reproductive Health from the Scientific Academy of Georgia. Dr. Tsereteli joined Gynuity in 2006. From her base in Tbilisi, Georgia, she coordinates Gynuity's work on medical abortion in the EE/CA region. Before joining Gynuity, she was a Research/Clinical Manager of an STI/HIV Prevention Project in Georgia implemented by Save the Children. She also worked with John Snow Research and Training Institute where she served as clinical coordinator for the project which focused on improving reproductive health in Georgia. While practicing medicine, Dr. Tsereteli was involved as an investigator in WHO clinical studies of mifepristone medical abortion and emergency contraception. In addition to her native Georgian, she is fluent in English and Russian.

  • Beverly Winikoff, President
    Beverly’s bio
    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.