Meet the Team

Our team of professionals around the world

Leadership

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Taraneh Shirazian, MD

President and Founder

Dr. Shirazian is a practicing gynecologic surgeon and an Assistant Professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. She received her MD through the accelerated program at Brown University and completed her post-graduate residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Shirazian is recognized as an international leader in global women’s health and is frequently called on by national media outlets to appear as an expert in this field. She is also an accomplished researcher focused on interventions designed to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality, and her work has been published in many prominent medical journals including the American Journal of Perinatology and ACOG Today.

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Lisa Gilligan, MPH

Executive Director

Lisa received her MPH from Columbia University. Prior to working with Saving Mothers, she served as curriculum consultant to the Mount Sinai School of Public Health and as an advisor to the low-resource Ob/Gyn clinic there. Lisa brings analytical skills and a strategic focus to the organization and contributes to the development of Saving Mothers’ research protocols.

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Jessica Oliveira, MSPA

Guatemala Program Director

Jessica is a Family Medicine Physician Assistant at FIU Herbert Wertheim’s College of Medicine, working in a community health program with uninsured vulnerable populations in South Florida. She received her M.S. in Medical Education at Seton Hall University and has been practicing Family Medicine and Ob/Gyn since 2007. Her specific interest has always been in global community health development with a focus on household-centered care and health literacy, particularly in relation to maternal health in indigenous populations. She founded and directs of the School of POWHER in Guatemala, which trains traditional birth attendants to become prenatal care experts. Her work has been published in multiple journals, including Healthcare and Frontier.

Board of Directors

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Terrie Paladino, Chair

A graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business, Terrie is the President and Co-Founder of the PHB Group, a marketing consultancy. She previously served as EVP & Chief Development Officer of the Publicis Groupe, a French multinational advertising & public relations company. Terrie also has extensive experience in the non-profit arena, having served as Chairman of the Global Nomads Group, President of the Bedford Hills Library, and President & Co-Founder of the civic group BH Live.

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Andrea Kutscher

Andrea is a graduate of Columbia University Business School and has spent most of her career in Latin American and U.S. financial and corporate markets. She is particularly interested in investing in women-owned and operated businesses and supporting medical initiatives serving this group. To this end, Andrea has been an active member of an angel investment group. She currently services Saving Mothers as Secretary of the Board.

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Samira Nanda Sine

Samira is the New York Director of Common Sense Media. With over 15 years as a writer, on-air broadcaster and producer, she has worked at the BBC World Business Desk, Reuters Television News and the Huffington Post, and her fieldwork has inspired her to raise awareness of global public health crises. Samira holds a master’s degree in journalism from NYU, a master’s degree in English Literature from Bombay University in India, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics & Political Science from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India.

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Christine Fisher

Christine was a founding principal of Women for Women International’s London office and served as Chair of that office’s board from 2005 through 2010. She is currently an active member of Women for Women’s U.S. board. Other leadership positions include the McDowell Colony Board of Directors, the Advisory Council for the School of Public Health at Brown University, and the Executive Committee for the Parent's Leadership Council at Brown.

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Margaret Davino

Margaret is a partner in the New York City and Princeton offices of Fox Rothschild LLP and a member of the firm’s 75 attorney health law group. Former General Counsel to medical centers in New York and New Jersey, Margaret has experience in a broad spectrum of health care matters. She has been included in the list of “Super Lawyers” for Health Law in New York every year since 2007. Margaret formerly chaired the Health Law section of the New York State Bar Association and is a board member for the Health & Hospital Law section of the New Jersey Bar Association. She is also a Registered Nurse.

Medical Team

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Charles Ascher-Walsh, MD

Dr. Walsh is the Director of Urogynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and is a practicing surgeon there. He has extensive experience in Female Reproductive and Reconstructive Medicine and frequently accompanies our team to perform pro bono surgeries.

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Nerys Benfield, MD, MPH

Dr. Benfield is the Director of Family Planning in the Department of Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She completed her residency in Ob/Gyn and Fellowship in Family Planning at the University of California, San Francisco, and received her MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Benfield's research focuses on increasing contraceptive knowledge and access for high-risk women including those with chronic medical conditions, women with genital fistula, and women in conflict situations.

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Noel Strong, MD

Dr. Strong is a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist who practices at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and is an Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She received her MD from the University of Illinois and did her post-graduate training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Strong frequently accompanies Saving Mothers on pro bono surgery trips and trains local health providers in limited-resource settings.

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Michael Girshin, MD

Dr. Girshin is the Chief of Anesthesiology at the Metropolitan Medical Center in New York City. He graduated from the Russian State Medical University and served as a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Anesthesiology at the New England Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Girshin oversees anesthesia during Saving Mothers surgery trips and also trains providers in limited-resource settings.

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Nils Hennig, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr. Henning is the Director of the MPH Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Assistant Director of the Mount Sinai Global Health Center. He is an expert in infectious disease and has done extensive humanitarian work in underserved and war-torn regions around the world with Medicine Sans Frontieres.

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Sasha Hernandez, MD

Dr. Hernandez is currently in her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training at New York University/Bellevue Hospital Center. She received her MD from Weill Cornell Medical College where she graduated with Honors in Research in Global Health. Dr. Hernandez has been most involved in the training of our traditional birth attendants in Guatemala and has led our community based research

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Andrei Rebarber, MD

Dr. Rebarber is a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in private practice and an Associate Clinical Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He received his MD from the State University of New York at Syracuse and did his post-graduate training at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Rebarber is an accomplished researcher and a frequent contributor to the development of Saving Mothers’ research protocols.

 

Guatemala Team

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Concepcion Mendoza Sosof

Program Coordinator and Lead Educator

 

Concepcion has been working with Saving Mothers for 7 years. She leads the educational training for midwives at the School of POWHER. She works closely with the communities around Lago Atitlán in Guatemala to improve maternal health services and refer high-risk pregnant women to neighboring clinics.

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Maria Candelaria Lopez Culan

Assistant Educator

 

Maria helps with the training program at the School of POWHER. She is committed to improving prenatal care for Guatemalan women and making sure that they have safe deliveries.

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Concepcion Damian Chicajau

Intern

 

Concepcion is a senior nursing student and assists in all aspects of programming and education at the School of POWHER.

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Rosario Mendoza Sapalú

Clinical Educator

 

Rosario provides clinical training and oversight for the midwives who study at the School of POWHER. She has been working with Saving Mothers for 4 years.

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Juana Pospoy Chicajau

Clinical Educator

 

Juana trains midwives in conducting physical exams and doing home visits in Guatemala. She has worked with Saving Mothers for 4 years.

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Ana Maritza Lacan Petzey

Clinical Educator

 

Ana teaches midwives in various clinical skills as well as reproductive health and anatomy. She has worked with Saving Mothers for 4 years.

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Yeshika Mendoza de Paz

Clinical Educator

 

Yeshika assists with all aspects of training and education at the School of POWHER. She has been working with Saving Mothers for 4 years.

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Josefa Damian Coquix

Lead Clinical Educator

 

Josefa coordinates and provides clinical training for the midwives at the School of POWHER, teaching them to identify common risk factors and proactively refer women with warning signs to receive hospital care. She has worked with Saving Mothers for 4 years.

 

 

 

 

Kenya Team

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Dr. Dan Munyuny

Medical Fellow

Dr. Munyuny is a Medical Officer at Kapenguria District Hospital in Kenya. He assists in the implementation of the Maternal Continuum of Care Program and is conducting research on the applicability of a preterm birth indicator test.

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Dr. Esther Nyambura

Medical Fellow

Dr. Esther Nyambura is a Medical Officer at Kapenguria District Hospital in Kenya. She assists in the implementation of the Maternal Continuum of Care Program and is conducting research on the applicability of a preterm birth indicator test.

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Augustine Kakuko

Program Director

Augustine Kakuko is a Community Health Worker at Kapenguria District Hospital in Kenya. As the program director, he manages the on-ground logistics and operations for the Maternal Continuum of Care Program and a study on the preterm birth indicator test.

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Antonet Kpar

Head Nurse

Antonet Kpar is the head nurse who oversees our family planning project. She reaches out to women interested in long acting reversible contraception and counsels her patients on risks and benefits of each available form of contraception, administers a survey on preference, and also places IUDs herself.