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Staff

Ruth Assefa

Program Coordinator

Ruth joined AVAC in 2016 as a Program Coordinator, supporting work on the implementation and monitoring of activities related to building advocacy networks, translating research and engaging stakeholders. Prior to AVAC, Ruth worked in reproductive health care programming and advocacy with organizations such as Clinton Health Access Initiative and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)—where she supported the scale up of maternal health programs in Ethiopia and contributed to program planning and resource mobilization for a global child marriage prevention program. Ruth recently completed her Master’s in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Policy and Global Health, from the Yale School of Public Health. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Yale College.

Jeanne Baron

Web Editor

Jeanne is AVAC's Web Editor, overseeing content and strategy for our online presence. She came to AVAC in 2016 as an award-winning broadcast journalist with 18 years of experience reporting on justice and human rights issues in the US and overseas. Her reporting work in the Central African Republic, Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa has often focused on the impact of HIV and HIV prevention. Just before joining AVAC, Jeanne was part of a global team that covered forced resettlement practices at the World Bank for The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. That 2015 series won numerous honors including the Online News Association Award for Innovation. She has twice won grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Jeanne has created original programming for WGBH and The GlobalPost. She has reported stories for the BBC's The World, NPR's foreign and national desks, WNYC, VPR and MPBN. She was the Senior Producer and Editor for NPR's Justice Talking with Margot Adler and the on-air Host and Producer of Maine Things Considered at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Emily Bass

Director: Strategy & Content

Emily Bass is an advocate, communicator and strategist with twenty years of experience focusing on a rights-based response to HIV prevention and treatment. At AVAC, she has collaboratively developed and led a range of projects and initiatives focused on building powerful activist coalitions that use data to change how PEPFAR, GFATM and governments invest in and deliver comprehensive services. She is dedicated to advancing women’s sexual and reproductive rights; projects include co-leadership of the UN Women-commissioned Global Review of Women’s Access to Antiretroviral Treatment, and the AVAC-ICW EA co-convened Civil Society Advocacy Group on Hormonal Contraception and HIV, which was established in 2014 as a forum for African women and their allies. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters focusing on the role and impact of advocacy and activism in shaping the global AIDS response.

Jacqueline Borodan

Program Assistant

Jacqueline joined AVAC in the fall of 2012 as the Office Assistant. She provides administrative support to AVAC staff. Prior to AVAC, Jacqueline was the Annual Giving Administrator for a blindness organization in New York City. Jacqueline received an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Berkeley College.

Wanda Buckner

Senior Manager: Finance & Human Resources

Wanda is responsible for managing AVAC’s day-to-day accounting. In addition, she manages the administration of Human Resources and handles subrecipient Grants Management. She works with the Director of Finance and Administration to implement internal controls and to ensure organizational compliance with AVAC’s policies and procedures and donor requirements. She has over 25 years of accounting experience working with organizations in the non-for-profit and for-profits sectors. Prior to joining AVAC she worked for several years at the International Aids Vaccine Initiative within the Grants & Contract Unit of the Department of Finance and Administration, first as Grants and Contract Manager then as Grants and Contract Liaison. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York Hunter College where she majored in Economics with a minor in Political Science.

Levi Butcher

Administrative Assistant to Programs

Levi joined AVAC in the Spring of 2017 as the Administrative Assistant to Programs. He provides administrative support across all of the programs at AVAC. Before working at AVAC, Levi was the Support Specialist in the Center Services department at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City. Levi received a BA in Art History from Hunter College.

Manju Chatani

Director: Partnerships & Capacity Strengthening

Manju joined AVAC in 2009 as Senior Program Manager focusing on partnership management and capacity strengthening. Currently, she oversees AVAC’s Advocacy Fellows Program, coordinates activities in building civil society capacity and preparedness for microbicides introduction and other interventions that could be important to women’s HIV prevention, and is also AVAC's liaison to several partner groups and collaborative projects. She was on the AVAC Board prior to joining the staff. Manju co-founded the African Microbicides Advocacy Group in 2003 which she coordinated till 2008. Prior to that, she worked with Health & Development Networks, an organization she co-founded, facilitating information-sharing amongst the international civil society involved in AIDS work. She has worked as community mobilizer in Ghana, program manager in South Africa and Thailand, networking manager in Switzerland and an HIV case manager in Hawaii. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and she has a Master's degree in Public Health.

Jack Clancy

Product Introduction & Access Coordinator

Jack joined AVAC in 2016. He supports the organization's Product Introduction and Access projects by maintaining, tracking, synthesizing and disseminating information related to the introduction of new HIV prevention options. Prior to AVAC Jack coordinated global partnerships for Grassroot Soccer, an adolescent health organization that fights HIV/AIDS, malaria and gender-based violence. In this role, he supported partner organizations through program planning, curriculum development, monitoring & evaluation and scale strategy. Jack holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College.

Jules Dasmariñas

Senior Program Manager - Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Jules drives the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) initiative at AVAC, which generates measurable, meaningful and actionable results from its interventions and uses them to inform institutional policy and cultivate organizational learning. Prior to joining in 2016, he engineered the M&E system of various international and community non-governmental organizations working in the sphere of health development, climate change and human rights. He has taught university-level social sciences in New York City and the Philippines and was once a theater actor who helped stage grassroots cultural action and political plays using Asian and indigenized artistic expressions. Jules earned his PhD candidacy, MPhil and MA in sociology from the New School for Social Research, his BA in sociology from the University of the Philippines and another graduate degree in social development from the Ateneo de Manila.

Emily de Lacy Donaldson

Program Manager for Product Introduction

Emily joined AVAC in 2011 focused on financing for HIV prevention research and development with the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention R&D Working Group (RTWG), biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials database management and AVAC's policy-related advocacy. Currently, Emily works on AVAC’s product introduction efforts. Prior to joining AVAC, Emily worked as an Associate with Rabin Martin, a management consulting firm, on global HIV treatment access and maternal and child health initiatives. Emily also spent time in Chennai, India with the Positive Women Network (PWN+) as a Public Health Fellow of the American Jewish World Service and previously worked as a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow with NARAL Pro-Choice New York to successfully lobby for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. She has an MPH in health policy and management from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a BA in women's studies from Barnard College. She is an avid runner, who just finished her third marathon in seventh place.

Cindra Feuer

Senior Program Manager

Cindra is the Senior Communications and Policy Advisor at AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. She co-manages its various advocacy programs in the US, Europe and Africa. She sits on the steering committee of IRMA (International Rectal Microbicide Advocates). Cindra has been reporting and writing on HIV/AIDS and its attendant issues for almost two decades. She held staff positions at both POZ and HIV Plus magazines, covering the pandemic both domestically and internationally. Cindra also worked with various groups including the Lesbian Avengers and Sex Panic!, a sexual activism group dedicated to pro-queer, pro-sex worker and anti-racist campaigns for sexual freedom in the age of AIDS.

Kevin Fisher

Director: Policy, Data & Analytics

Kevin is the Policy Director of AVAC and focuses on new regulatory, legislative, financial and scientific approaches to accelerating the development of new HIV prevention options. He oversees the annual resource tracking reports from the HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Resource Tracking Working Group. He is co-chair of the Global AIDS Policy Partnership and the Research Working Group of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition and on the steering committee of the Global Health Technologies Coalition. Prior to joining AVAC, Kevin worked for over 20 years as a regulatory and transactional counsel, most recently as Senior Counsel with Covington & Burling. Previously he worked in a pro-bono capacity on drug and vaccine development and delivery issues for groups such as the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Global Development and the World Parkinson Congress. Kevin has a BA from Brown University in Urban Studies, a JD from New York University School of Law and an MSc in Epidemiology from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Elizabeth Gardiner

Director: Product Introduction & Access

Elizabeth is a market expert and a 20+ year veteran of access to medicines and social marketing. Previously, Elizabeth was Vice President of Market Access for the TB Alliance where she led the department and developed market strategies for the regimens in the pipeline, working closely with pharmaceutical partners and donors. She led a successful effort to secure a UNTAID grant to address market inefficiencies in pediatric TB. Prior to that she registered and introduced five health product brands while working for PSI as Director of PSI/Uganda and the founding director of PSI’s Russia program. She also served as a Market Dynamics Expert on UNITAID’s Proposal Review Committee, and has worked in over 50 countries. Elizabeth has a BA from Harvard University and an MSc in Management from London Business School.

John Glin

Finance Coordinator: Accounts Payable

John spent the past five years in finance, assisting HRA candidates get back into the work force at a job placement agency in midtown Manhattan. Prior to that, he spent ten years at BNYMellon doing a variety of jobs in their operations department. John received his BS in Business Administration from Concordia College in 2017 and is currently seeking his Masters.

Anabel Gomez

Global Marketing Manager of Product Introduction & Access

Anabel joined AVAC in 2016. Her responsibility will include creating a global platform to help inform development of HIV prevention technologies and accelerate their introduction to market. Prior to AVAC Anabel was a s global social marketing advisor for PSI where she was responsible supporting the introduction of new products such as HIV self-testing kits, developing programs to drive demand for male circumcision and led innovation in research approaches and operationalization. She is an award-winning journalist and has had papers published. Anabel has worked around the globe for private and public institutions, such as Publicis, Rio Tinto and the European Union. A dual Spanish and Australian national, Anabel is fluent in both languages. She earned a Master’s in business administration from Curtin University in Australia.

Deirdre Grant

Director: Program Coordination

Deirdre joined AVAC in 2005 and has been a Senior Program Manager since 2011. She co-manages the US domestic advocacy leadership program (PxROAR), conducts trainings and capacity building activities and is part of the writing and editing team that produces AVAC materials. Her writing on HIV prevention research and implementation has appeared in publications such as GMHC and ACRIA’s Achieve newsletter and GMHC’s Treatment Issues. She is also a member of the US Women and PrEP Working Group and New York City PrEP Taskforce. Prior to joining AVAC Deirdre worked as an independent consultant in New York. She received a BA in Political Science from Bates College.

Stacey Hannah

Director: Research Engagement

Stacey joined AVAC in 2011 as a Senior Program Manager with a focus on research literacy and capacity building. She manages AVAC's Good Participatory Practices program, and oversees training related activities of AVAC and its partners. Stacey has over twelve years of experience in HIV prevention research, which began in South Africa helping prepare the first HIV vaccine trial site in the country. Her experience has focused on country programming, preparedness, and advocacy for HIV prevention research and introduction of new interventions. She has served long-term posts in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. Before joining AVAC, she took a short break from the HIV world to develop and implement a research literacy program for the TB Alliance, a product-development-partnership for new TB drug regimens. Stacey has degrees in microbiology, nutrition and chemistry from the University of Florida and an MHS in international health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Stacey has completed two full marathons and does not have plans for a third. Her home is in Brooklyn, New York.

Polly Harrison

Senior Advisor

Polly joined AVAC in January 2010 as a Senior Advisor and supports AVAC's work to monitor the prevention research field and mobilize political, financial and community support for prevention research. Polly founded and served as director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development from 1998 to 2010. She was Senior Program Officer and Director of International Health at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, where she founded the Forum on HIV/AIDS Research and Forum on Emerging Infections. Prior to that, Polly spent two decades living and working in the developing world as a medical anthropologist, policy analyst, faculty member of the Development Studies Program, and Regional Social Science Advisor for USAID. She has sustained those commitments as a Governing Councilor of the American Public Health Association, Fellow of the American Anthropological Association, Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, member of the Board of the BioDesign Institute and the Scientific Advisory Group of CONRAD, and ad hoc membership on numerous advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from Mount Holyoke College and the Catholic University of America, respectively.

Micky Hingorani

Program Manager of Digital Strategy

Micky joined AVAC in 2010 and serves as Project Manager. Among other tasks, he works on the organization's web presence (AVAC.org, PrEPWatch.org and other specific campaign sites) and on Px Wire, AVAC's quarterly newsletter. Prior to joining AVAC, Micky was Web Strategist at The Opportunity Agenda, an organization working with social justice organizations and leaders to build the national will to expand opportunity in the United States. He also worked in print and digital communications at Doctors Without Borders. Micky received his bachelors degree from New York University and has a masters from Rutgers University.

Navita Jain

Program Manager

Navita joined AVAC in 2016 as Program Manager with a focus in program implementation, grant management and monitoring, and operations. She supports AVAC’s work in advocacy, research translation, research preparedness and policy engagement through the development of project and partner workplans, strategic planning, reporting and operations. Prior to joining AVAC, Navita worked as a Senior Project Officer with ICAP at Columbia University supporting the implementation and monitoring of HIV care, treatment and prevention programs in South Africa, Kenya, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Navita also worked as a fellow with ICAP in Rwanda on the intersection of gender-based violence and HIV, and as a USAID Global Health Fellow in Cambodia assessing HIV home-based care programs. She has a BA in Economics and Global Health from Northwestern University and an MPH in Population and Family Health and Global Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Micheal Osabohien Ighodaro

Program Manager

Micheal Ighodaro joined AVAC in the fall of 2014 as a Program and Policy Assistant. He supports AVAC’s program activities including maintaining contact with grantees and providing technical and administrative support for special projects and strategic initiatives. Micheal Ighodaro is a passionate advocate for LGBTI rights and HIV prevention. Originally from Nigeria, Micheal had to flee his country after he was attacked due to his sexual orientation and work. Prior to joining AVAC, Micheal worked in HIV prevention and care for the LGBTI community around Africa for many years. He has also worked with Housing Works and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York. Micheal is a member of several HIV/LGBT advocacy groups around Africa. He has spoken before the United Nations, the US Congress and State Department. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, New York Times and several UN news outlets. Micheal is currently a student of The City University of New York.

Angelo Kaggwa-Katumba

Program Manager

As Program Manager at AVAC, Angelo is responsible for providing technical and communications support to the AVAC team with a specific focus on expansion of activities and materials focused on building research literacy in communities affected by and involved with research. Angelo previously worked as the Communications Officer with the UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program in Uganda. The program is sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and has the Government of the Republic of Uganda as a partner. In this role, he was responsible for communications, documentation, media relations, public relations, and development of education and communication materials. He was also the editor of the program's quarterly newsletter, The Uganda AIDS Vaccine Update. Angelo sits on the Governing Council for the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), and formerly worked as Assistant Public Relations Officer for The Mildmay Centre, a specialist HIV/AIDS treatment, care and training center. Angelo holds a BA in Mass Communications from Makerere University (Uganda) and received his Masters in Public Health from New York University.

Shawn Malone

Project Director

Shawn joined AVAC in 2017 as Project Director for a Gates-funded user-centered research initiative on HIV prevention for adolescent girls and young women in South Africa, under the broader Prevention Market Manager umbrella. He also serves as Project Director of a PSI-led sister project on testing and treatment for young men in South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, his primary focus on both projects is stakeholder engagement and coordination, helping to ensure that the project is responsive to the needs and priorities of government, funders and implementing partners, and that the findings of the research and pilots inform and improve efforts to break the cycle of transmission and achieve epidemic control. Shawn was previously Director for Southern Africa at FHI 360, providing guidance and support to 20+ projects across eight countries, largely in the areas of HIV prevention, testing and treatment. He also worked with Pact in South Africa as Program Director for an HIV & AIDS service delivery and capacity development project, working with 18 NGO partners and 46 CBO partners to scale and strengthen the HIV response. Shawn holds a bachelor's from Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a master's from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Kay Marshall

Senior Communications Advisor

Kay is a senior advisor focusing on communications and media relations. She coordinates AVAC’s four international Communications Working Groups composed of staff from major HIV prevention research and advocacy organizations and funders focusing on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), microbicides, vaccines and voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). Kay also leads AVAC’s media relations in the US and globally, including media training and engagement with key African journalists. Kay has worked with a number of organizations on HIV and global health communications issues for more than two decades. She has degrees in English and Philosophy from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Daisy Ouya

Communications Advisor

Daisy joined AVAC as Communications Advisor in March 2017. She provides technical support to AVAC’s communications and content development, with a focus on in-country and Africa-centric perspectives. Her 10-years-plus experience in development and science communications comes from working with international research and development non-profits as science writer, science editor and communications specialist (with a penchant for social media). Between 2007 and 2012 she managed the Africa communications program of one of AVAC’s partners, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Daisy has an MS in chemistry from the University of Connecticut and a BSc in chemistry from the University of Nairobi in her native country, Kenya. She is also a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS, Boston).

Fatima Riaz

Program Coordinator - Research & Data Analytics

Fatima Riaz joined AVAC in 2016 and works on the analytics and implementation of HIV prevention research. She brings over five years of diverse organizational and thematic public health experience to AVAC, including founding and spearheading a national polio advocacy campaign in her home country of Pakistan. As a Consultant for the World Bank, Fatima informed post-MDG policy recommendations in the areas of water and sanitation, education and gender empowerment. She also collaborated with the International Rescue Committee on a project to prevent gender-based violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian emergencies. Most recently, she interned at the Public Advocacy Section at UNICEF working on maternal child health. A graduate of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, Fatima served as a Teaching Assistant in the Departments of Global Health and Environmental Health Sciences. She was also listed as one of the Great Graduates of her class and has an MPH with an advanced certificate in Global Health. Her favorite thing in the world is watching scary movies and ordering Chinese food, in that exact order.

Jessica Salzwedel

Program Manager

Jessica joined AVAC in 2013 as Program Coordinator. She focuses on developing innovative tools for the AVAC/UNAIDS Good Participatory Practice Guidelines and supporting their implementation. Jessica also works closely with the research literacy database, both in its management and content development. Prior to joining the team Jessica worked at the NIH in the Division of AIDS as a bioethicist. At DAIDS she worked on community engagement ethics and became familiar with GPP. She holds degrees in Biology, Philosophy and Bioethics and like her coworkers enjoys distance running, completing several marathons.

Sean Sappleton

Finance Coordinator — Accounting/IT

Sean joined AVAC in the summer of 2014 as the Accounting Assistant. He assists with the day-to-day accounts payable function. Sean received a BS in 2009 from the University at Albany in Accounting. Sean has experience working in both the non-profit and for profit fields, where he previously was an Accounting Associate at a property management company.

Marie Semmelbeck

Director: Finance & Administration

Marie is AVAC's Director of Finance and Administration. She leads the finance and administration team, her responsibilities include AVAC's financial management and planning as well as the management of human resources and administration. She works closely with the Executive Director and the Board to implement AVAC's strategic plan and policies. Marie has over 20 years of experience in not-for-profit management. Prior to joining AVAC, she was the Director of Finance and Administration at International Trachoma Initiative in New York, leading the finance and administration department of an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of blinding trachoma in Africa and Asia. For five years, she was the Senior Advisor for Sustainability at the Catalyst Consortium, a USAID-funded consortium based in Washington, DC dedicated to the expansion of reproductive health services in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. In 1988, she started her career with IPPF/WHR where she held different positions including Senior Financial Advisor and provided technical assistance in finance, accounting and management to IPPF affiliates in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. She holds an MBA from Baruch College and speaks fluent French and Spanish.

Bill Snow

Senior Advisor

Bill Snow was Director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Secretariat, which represents the alliance of organizations conceived in 2003 to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine, through mutual coordination, collaboration, knowledge sharing and increasing and optimizing resources to the field. Starting at the Enterprise Secretariat in 2012, Bill restructured Enterprise activities by reshaping the Strategic Convening function: with the Timely Topics in HIV Vaccines program, strategy roundtables and Enterprise Explorations with four focus areas. The Secretariat holds regular meetings of funders and clinical collaborators and work with industry advisors. The Secretariat is also hosting the new HIV Research for Prevention (R4P) Conference, the world's first and only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to biomedical HIV prevention research. An advocate for HIV vaccines since 1990, he was instrumental in establishing national, local and global community advisory boards at the NIH clinical trial networks and continues to serves on many scientific leadership and review groups. Bill was a founder of AVAC and has written about the many challenges of developing AIDS vaccines, including major portions of the first several AVAC reports and the first edition of AVAC's widely used HIV Vaccines Handbook.

Heeyoung Sohn

Program Coordinator

Heeyoung joined AVAC in the fall of 2014 as a communications program assistant. She works on AVAC’s web-based/social media presence and supports the communications working groups. Heeyoung has experience in vaccines, malaria and maternal and child health. She has worked in Indonesia and Nigeria. She holds a BA in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and a MPP from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Mitchell Warren

Executive Director

Mitchell has been the Executive Director of AVAC since 2004. He was previously the Senior Director for Vaccine Preparedness at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and also spent four years as Vice President and Director of International Affairs for The Female Health Company (FHC), the manufacturer of the female condom, where he directed efforts to design and implement reproductive health programs that integrate the female condom, and he led global advocacy efforts for expanded commitment to female-initiated prevention methods. Mitchell also spent six years at Population Services International (PSI) designing and implementing social marketing, communications and health promotion activities in Africa, Asia and Europe, including five years running PSI's project in South Africa. Mitchell is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); the board of directors of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise; the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Scientific Programme Committee for the 2016 International AIDS Conference; and Maloto. Mitchell has degrees in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Alysha White

Finance & Administration Manager

Alysha joined AVAC in the spring of 2010 as the Finance Assistant. She assists on a variety of projects and reports, as well as providing administrative and logistical support to AVAC staff. Prior to AVAC, Alysha was an administrative assistant for an art advisory and production firm in New York City. Alysha received a BA from SUNY College at Old Westbury in 2007 in American Studies and served as the president of the American Studies Club from 2006-2007.