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Staff


Patricia Mechael

Executive Director

Patty has been actively involved in the field of International Health for 15 years with field experience in over 30 countries primarily in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. She has worked on research, program design and implementation, strategic planning, and policy development for mHealth and eHealth initiatives as well as Reproductive Health and Women's Health and Rights with a broad range of institutions. Patty has a Masters in International Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene and a PhD in Public Health and Policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she specifically examined the role of mobile phones in relation to health in Egypt. Prior to joining the mHealth Alliance, she was Director of Strategic Application of Mobile Technology for Public Health and Development at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute. She is also faculty at the School of International and Public Affairs and Earth Institute, Columbia University. Patty can be reached at PMechael@mHealthAlliance.org.



Madhu Deshmukh 

Director – Special Initiatives:  MNCH, mHealth, Gender

Madhu has been working in the area of International Public Health for the past 22 years. She has field experience in over 40 countries including Africa, South and South East Asia, and South and Central America, working on HIV/AIDS, maternal, sexual and reproductive health issues. Madhu has served at leadership and senior management positions with several organizations including national and international NGOs, Government of India, UNDP, UNAIDS/WHO and DFID. Most recently, Madhu was the Chief of Party for CARE’s Integrated Family Health Initiative (IFHI) in Bihar, India funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  In her other capacities, Madhu has served at CARE as the Global Director for HIV and AIDS, Team Leader for Policy Analysis with the Policy and Advocacy Unit, and Senior Advisor on Maternal and Child Health with the Health Equity Unit.  Madhu’s experience includes strategy development, program management, designing and measuring community based interventions, and policy advocacy, with specific emphasis on women’s empowerment, gender, governance and human rights.  Madhu holds a Masters Degree (MA) in Social Sciences from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and a Bachelor’s Degree (Honors) in Psychology from Delhi University, India.  Madhu can be reached at mdeshmukh@mhealthalliance.org.



Dr. Peter Benjamin 

Director – mHealth Capacity Building  

Peter is the head of capacity building for the mHealth Alliance. Until April 2013 he was the managing director of Cell-Life, a leader in mHealth based in South Africa.  He has 20 years experience in the use of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) for social change and development. He has worked for Poptel in the UK, the SA National Civic Organisation, the Universal Service Agency, the Association of Progressive Communications and was the founder in 1997 of the LINK Centre for research and education into ICT policy at Wits University, Johannesburg.
 
Originally from the UK, he moved to South Africa in 1994.  He has a first degree in Physics, a Masters in Information Technology and his PhD examined universal access to ICTs in South Africa through the telecentre programme in the late 1990s. He is currently studying a Masters in Public Health. Peter is the treasurer of the People’s Health Movement of SA and is a member of the Treatment Action Campaign. He is married to Marion Stevens, and has two wonderful boys (Joel and Xanny).  He lives in Muizenberg, Cape Town and is wondering if it is too late to learn to surf at age 48.  Peter can be reached at pbenjamin@mhealthalliance.org


Bill Philbrick

Senior Technical Advisor  Sustainable Financing and Policy Advisor

Now a consultant working in global health and mHealth strategies, Bill Philbrick has over 18 years of experience working in international health and development and most recently served as the Director of the HIV/AIDS, Emerging and Infectious Diseases Unit at CARE. While at CARE, Bill successfully spearheaded CARE's effort to integrate mobile phone technology into CARE's global health programming, particularly into HIV and maternal health interventions. Bill's work with the Alliance will be mainly focused on supporting the Alliance's work surrounding evidence including working on the Evidence Community of Practice, Working Groups, and the eHealth Evaluation Framework process. Bill can be reached at WPhilbrick@mHealthAlliance.org.



Jonathan Payne

Technical Advisor  Standards and Interoperability 

Jonathan is an engineer turned public health practitioner applying information and communication technologies to health delivery challenges in the developing world. He has worked and traveled in over 30 countries, using mobile phones to facilitate antenatal and postpartum care in rural India or researching electronic health record systems in HIV clinics in Kenya. Jonathan is working with the mHealth Alliance to launch the global mHealth Standards & Interoperability Working Group to improve alignment and adoption of standards that support the scale of mHealth systems. He is also the Director of the Maternal Concept Lab and mHealth Informatics Specialist for Partners In Health. Jonathan received his MS at the Harvard School of Public Health and BE from Vanderbilt University. Jon can be reached at JPayne@mHealthAlliance.org.


Chelsea Hedquist

Senior Communications Officer

Chelsea joined the mHealth Alliance after three years working at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark. While at WHO, she worked on communications, including web and social media, for the vaccine-preventable diseases & immunization unit. She also coordinated the annual initiative European Immunization Week. Chelsea previously worked with an education advocacy organization called Communities for Quality Education (CQE) based in Washington, DC. She spent time as a publicist for the Sundance Film Festival's international film category and as a reporter and later executive producer for a news/talk radio show on KSL Newsradio.  She graduated from Stanford University and received her master’s in journalism from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. You can reach her at chedquist@mhealthalliance.org.  




Avrille Hanzel

Senior Manager 
 
Avrille works with the mHealth Alliance as Program Manager. She leads internal operations, events, partnership initiatives, and provides support for the Partnership Board activities.  Avrille has a diverse background that ranges from crisis intervention management to nonprofit capacity building. Prior to joining the Alliance, Avrille worked as Program Coordinator for Taproot Foundation DC where she facilitated consultant and nonprofit training sessions while managing the office’s grantmaking activities. Avrille graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Sociology and Anthropology and spent time studying abroad at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa and throughout the Ilocos and Central Luzon regions of the Philippines. Avrille can be reached at AHanzel@mHealthAlliance.org.




Eric Njoroge

Atlas Corps Fellow

Eric will be spending one year with the mHealth Alliance, during which he will assist with partnership and new business development. Eric comes to the Alliance with six years of experience in the nonprofit sector. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Urbanian University, Rome, and a master’s degree in Philosophy and Religion, specializing in peace-building and conflict resolution, from Kenyatta University, Kenya. He is currently pursuing his PhD on ethnicity and national cohesion from Kenyatta University. Previously, Eric was the Executive Director of Furukombe Initiative, a position he held for the last two-and-a-half years. His main responsibilities in this role included fundraising and building partnerships with corporations and foundations. He developed and coordinated a youth leadership program, which was funded by the U.S. State Department. Eric also worked for two years with the Sudan Catholic Bishops Regional Secretariat based in Juba, South Sudan, as an Emergency Coordinator, during which time he raised funds on behalf of refugees, returnees, and internally displaced people in South Sudan. Additionally, Eric worked with Caritas Nairobi, Kenya, as a Program Coordinator, where he fundraised, coordinated peace building programs, and facilitated capacity building. Eric can be reached at enjoroge@unfoundation.org. 


Francis Gonzales

Program Associate 

Francis works with the mHealth Alliance as a program associate and focuses primarily on projects related to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Prior to joining the Alliance, Francis was the Malaria and Child Survival Intern at Population Services International, where he helped the team with several knowledge management projects and provided assistance to the WASH and Nutrition technical advisors. Francis is a recent graduate of Brown University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development. He studied abroad in South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil on the International Honors Program’s Health and Communities track. This cross cultural experience provided him with insight into the regional and social differences that help shape the global burden of disease. During the summer of 2010 he returned to South Africa to attend the World Cup and to volunteer at a local South African non-profit that develops behavior change communication and provides access to care to migrant farm worker communities. Francis can be reached at Fgonzales@mHealthAlliance.org.


Shariq Khoja

Consultant

Dr. Shariq Khoja works as a consultant with the mHealth Alliance. Until August 2013, Shariq worked as the Technical Advisor on the core thematic areas of Evidence, Capacity and Policy for the Alliance. Shariq has over 15 years of experience as a scientist and planner in Health Systems and use of Information Technology in Health. Shariq also works as the global CEO of Tech4Life Enterprises, a company established to provide low-cost open source products in eHealth and mHealth in developing countries. Shariq has also worked as the Director for the Aga Khan Development Network's eHealth Resource Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive background and interest in using eHealth technologies to strengthen health systems in developing countries. He has led eHealth initiatives in over 10 countries of South and Central Asia and East Africa. Shariq has been the recipient of several awards, such as Rising Star in Global Health by Grand Challenges Canada, and Grand Challenges award for improving mental health in Northern Afghanistan.  He has written over 30 papers and several book chapters, along with developing tools for organizational needs and readiness assessment, and evaluation of eHealth initiatives. 

 
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