Click here to view our staff structure.
Julius Mbeya – Managing Director
As Managing Director, Julius is responsible for driving the mission of the organization guided by the 2020 Strategy and keeping in line with Lwala’s key identity as a Kenyan-first organization working with at-risk populations in western Kenya to achieve holistic development. He brings more than 17 years experience in international development. Prior to joining Lwala Community Alliance, he worked with MS ActionAid Denmark as a Regional Training and Development Advisor offering capacity development across the world, with UNDP Kenya as a Grant Manager, and as an M&E Officer with World Bank-funded Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project. He has an MA in Political Science & Public Administration from the University of Nairobi, a post-graduate diploma in Healthcare Management (Kenya Institute of Management), and a post-graduate diploma in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution (University of Fribourg – Switzerland). Julius is a co-founder of I Choose Life Africa, where he sits on the board, and is a Member of Kenya Evaluation Society, African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) and African Evaluation Association (AfrEA).
Robert Kasambala – Hospital and Operations Director
As Hospital and Operations Director, Robert is responsible for providing overall leadership and strategic management of clinical care services, operations, and human resources in Kenya in order to ensure the provision and effective delivery of quality services. He has been with Lwala since 2010 and has overseen rapid program growth during his tenure. Robert has more than 20 years of healthcare management experience. His previous positions at Kijabe Hospital included Resource Director, Clinical Support Services Director, and Community Health Coordinator. He also served as the Director of the AIDS Division at AIC Health Ministries.
Mercy Owuor – Community Programs Director
In this role, Mercy oversees the Kenya program team leads and directs the execution of the annual program plan. Prior to serving in the capacity, Mercy worked for the Lwala Community Alliance as the Community Health Manager. She has a background in managing community-based programs, community mobilization, and holds a Masters degree in Community Health and Development from Great Lakes University and a BA in Sociology. Mercy was previously employed by University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences as a Field Study Coordinator.
Emily Mbolo – Education Coordinator
As Education Coordinator, Emily manages education staff and all education programs in the 15 local schools around North Kamagambo. She works with LCA staff, local schools and community members to design and implement effective programs, and monitors and evaluates these programs. Emily’s background is in sociology and political science, community health and development. She previously worked with the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust as community development facilitator, Nairobi University as a research officer, and Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programme as a project officer.
Mark Barasa – Operations Coordinator
As Operations Coordinator, Mark manages operations including transport, security, and buildings and grounds. He is also responsible for procurement, catering and IT. Mark has worked in Lwala since 2011 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Kenya Methodist University and CPA II section IV. He previously worked with Bethany Kids at Kijabe Hospital and Ultimate Vetserve ltd as Program Accountant. He has over 7 years of experience managing donor funds.
Wycliffe Okoth Omwanda – Head Clinician
As Head Clinician, Wycliffe is responsible for supervision of clinical staff in the facility, including counseling, laboratory, pharmacy, nursing and clinical officers and also works in collaboration with the M&E Officer to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities to ensure continued success of programming. He is registered with the Clinical Officers’ Council of Kenya and experienced in HIV care and treatment, trainer of trainers in TB-HIV co-infection, and trained in Counseling and Programming for Infant and Young child Feeding from Cornell University in collaboration with UNICEF. He previously worked with AIDS Relief at Kendu Adventist Hospital and Kenya AIDS Response Program as the lead clinician. Wycliffe has more than seven years of experience in health care/ clinical management.
Mackenzie Opiyo Okun – Finance Manager
As Finance Manager, Mackenzie is responsible for financial planning, financial record-keeping, financial reporting, and the management of financial risks. He has 14 years of progressive financial management, grants management and office administrative experience in both the private sector and for large NGOs. He has conducted training for 8 affiliates on USAID financial management rules and regulations, contracting and procurement processes and is engaged in the design of costing of strategies, financial and grants management.
Vincent Okoth – Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
Vincent ensures that all grant-specific data as well as department and organizational data is accurately and efficiently collected and analyzed. In addition, he develops and utilizes monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools for the organization’s grants and programs, and educates staff on M&E tools. Vincent previously worked with the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society as a Data Officer and as a Data and Information Officer with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Meshack Wafula – Community Health Nurse Supervisor
As Community Health Nurse Supervisor, Meshack coordinates all public health programming, including programs in maternal health, family planning, WASH, and Youth Peer Providers. Meshack oversees all community health staff, including community health nurses and Community Health Workers. In addition, he coordinates scheduling, training, materials and resources for all community health-related activities.
Catherine Omollo – Nursing Officer in Charge
The Nursing Officer is Charge coordinates the clinical staff in Lwala including Clinical Officers, nurses, lab techs, pharmacy techs, and various aides. Catherine oversees administrative aspects of the clinical care operations and is a leader in the department for building and maintaining high quality clinical care programming.
Winnie Oyugi – Economic Development Officer
The Economic Development Officer manages income generating activities including the sewing cooperative, soap making cooperative, youth groups, and agricultural work. Winnie also works to engage vulnerable groups such as HIV-positive community members and young mothers in income generating activities.
Gilbert Were Okinyi – Human Resources Manager
As the Human Resources Manager, Gilbert coordinates recruitment, training and development as well as performance management, reward management and culture management. Gilbert has worked at LCA since May 2015 and holds a bachelors degree in business management with a specialization in human resource management from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. He previously worked with KEMRI/CDC as a Human Resource Officer. He has more than 3 years experience in HR Management.
Ash Lauren Rogers – Executive Director
As the Executive Director, Ash Rogers leads the team and directs the vision of the organization. Ash comes to Lwala from the Segal Family Foundation (SFF), one of Lwala’s most significant supporters and friends. At SFF, she served as Director of Operations for over 3 years, overseeing a $12m portfolio of 180 grantee organizations across 20 Sub-Saharan African countries. During her tenure, Ash’s leadership allowed SFF to double the size of its portfolio, launch a Social Impact Incubator in Burundi, engage external donor funding on a large scale, and implement innovative frameworks for organizational capacity building. Prior to SFF, Ash was a GHC Fellow in Uganda focused on building management systems within a grassroots NGO. Ash has worked with organizations including U.S. State Department, Komo Learning Centers, and HELP International – the common focus being developing tools to support local social innovators. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University.
Katherine Carpenter – Director of Engagement
As Director of Engagement, Katherine oversees the development and execution of Lwala’s fundraising strategy and annual plan, including a major gifts program, institutional funding partnerships, and communication and marketing activities. Her background is in education and counseling with at-risk children, and she holds an MEd from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining the Lwala team in 2009, Katherine conducted and published educational research and coordinated a federally-funded research center at Vanderbilt University. She also has extensive grant writing experience. Katherine has worked with under-resourced communities in Romania, Northern Ireland, and Kenya.
Helen Chalmers – Executive Assistant
As the Executive Assistant, Helen supports the Executive Director’s workflow, coordinates meeting logistics, manages constituent services, and assists in all aspects of office management. Previously, Helen has worked with organizations such as The Contributor, Mercy Multiplied, and Adventures in Missions. Helen also served a year on The World Race, an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries. Helen holds a B.S. in psychology with a biology Minor.
Liz Decker Chamberlain – Impact Manager
As the Impact Manager, Liz examines both programmatic and financial data to evaluate the impact that LCA is making within the community of Lwala. She is responsible for managing the monitoring & evaluation department, overseeing organizational financial processes, and reporting progress to donors, management, the LCA Board of Directors, and external audiences. Liz’s expertise is in rural development in Africa; she holds an M.A. in international development and international economics from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in communications from George Washington University. Previously, she worked in program management and research in the international arena at the World Bank, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the German Marshall Fund. Liz has substantial first-hand community development experience from living and working in rural Ghana, Liberia and Kenya, including more than a year living in Lwala.
Cameron Plese – Engagement Associate
As the Engagement Associate, Cameron supports the development and execution of Lwala’s fundraising strategy and annual plan as well as communication and marketing activities. Previously, he worked with organizations such as the Global Green Growth Institute, Caminos de Agua, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, and served a year with AmeriCorps. Cameron’s most recent studies and experiences have been focused on access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Cameron holds an M.A. in sustainable international development from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a B.S. in sociology from Portland State University.
Jessie Morris Adams, PhD
Jessie Adams holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University, an MEd in human development and psychology from Harvard University, and a PhD in early childhood intervention from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. As CEO of a family foundation, she draws from her experience on both the grantmaking and grantwriting sides of nonprofit management and her knowledge of local, national, and global organizations. Jessie has taught in classrooms from the preschool to graduate school level and seeks to foster inclusive educational environments that nurture students’ engagement in a complex and changing global landscape and a commitment to social justice. She currently serves as Director of Service Learning at Harpeth Hall, an independent girls’ school in Nashville, TN. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two young sons.
Elizabeth Carr, MBA (Board Chair)
Elizabeth Carr holds a BA in Economics and a BS in Finance from the University of Richmond. A Michigan native, she returned to her hometown to earn her MBA in 2012. Her professional experience includes the Commodities division of Goldman Sachs and five years as Director of Development at New York Road Runners in New York City. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New York City. She is currently a member of the Diaconate at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and works with non-profits to assist in fundraising strategy development and execution.
Susan Rae Douglas, PhD
Susan Douglas, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, consultant, and part-time faculty at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. She received her doctorate at Vanderbilt University with pre- and post-doctoral training at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. Over the past 20 years, Susan has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, community agencies, military facilities, and international aid programs. For the past decade, she has focused on evaluation and development efforts to improve practice in health and mental health care organizations. She has expertise in evidence-based assessment including the integration of routine outcome monitoring and feedback technology into clinical routines. Her passion is collaborating with agency partners to implement innovative practices that are evidence-based and organically grown to enhance sustainability. Susan lives in Nashville, TN, with her family.
Dave Eilers (Board Vice-Chair)
For over 25 years, Dave Eilers has been an enterprise leader in the consumer, B2B, and healthcare industries. A graduate of Syracuse University, Dave began his career in marketing management leading key accounts at Eric Mower Associates, Cowley Associates, Tenaz Import/Export and Syracuse China Corp. In 1998, Dave entered the healthcare industry as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at B.G. Sulzle Inc., a member of the Marmon Group of companies. Over the course of nearly 15 years, Dave pioneered new products, opened new international markets (50 country visits) and developed new business models for the healthcare industry through his work with InterV Medical Group/Roundtable Healthcare Partners and NextTech Consulting. In 2008, Dave applied his interest in Open Innovation business models to the co-founding of Blue Highway (originally a Welch Allyn company). With over 40 master research agreements worldwide, Blue Highway is dedicated to creating innovative, intellectual capital regarding early detection and diagnosis of adverse health conditions. Dave’s interest in generating the most cost-effective care models has lead him to currently become involved in remote patient monitoring and mobile health. Throughout his marketing career, Dave has lead two start-up enterprises, raised capital for a number of acquisitions and been involved in a business turnaround and successful exit. Outside of the office, Dave is active in the American Telemedicine Association, serves on the MedTech Board of Directors, and often speaks to groups interested in open innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies.
Tom Glanfield holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Economics from MIT. He is the founder of Solent Capital, a private investment firm with a broad macro-economic focus across private and securities investing. Prior to this, he spent 12 years at Goldman Sachs, first in New York City and then London, as a Managing Director within the Foreign Exchange, Fixed Income, and Commodity Division. There he held many roles including Global Head of Oil Derivatives and Head of Commodity Index Trading. Tom served on the Commodities Firmwide Risk, Managing Director Promotion and European Regulation Implementation Committees in addition to focusing on new product development, recruitment, internal systems development and delivering client solutions working closely with the Human Capital, Legal, Finance, Tax, Technology, Credit, Risk and Compliance divisions. Tom lives in Florida with his wife and two young children.
Chris Hobday, MBA (Treasurer)
Chris Hobday is a Vice President at Equifax, driving business unit strategy across a number of US data assets. In previous roles with the bureau, he worked as senior financial officer for several sales organizations, led the Sarbanes-Oxley controls program, and completed technical accounting research and SEC filings. Chris began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a financial statement and controls auditor. Serving a three-year term on Hope International’s Financial Advisory Board, Chris helped the organization with financial consolidation and presentation. He earned his BS in Accounting from the University of Richmond, his MBA from Georgia State University, and was an actively-licensed CPA in the state of Georgia for almost ten years. He now lives in Nashville with his family.
Bonnie Miller, MD
Dr. Bonnie Miller received her MD degree at the University of Oklahoma. She spent six years in Nashville for post-graduate training in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Affiliated Hospitals. Dr. Miller is now Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education, Vanderbilt University and Executive Vice President for Educational Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Miller was the Primary Investigator of the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Grant, awarded to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in June 2013. Vanderbilt is one of only 11 medical schools in the country to receive this honor. She is married to Robert Miller, a pulmonologist who serves as medical director of Vanderbilt’s student-run free clinic. They have three children and one grandson.
Fred Ochieng’, MD (Co-founder, Lwala Community Alliance)
Fred Ocheing’ is the third born of Margaret and Erastus Ochieng’s six children born in Lwala. He attended Alliance High School in Kikuyu, Kenya (just outside Nairobi) and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2005. He graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in May 2010 and completed residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at VUMC in 2015. He is currently pursuing a cardiovascular medicine fellowship training at St. Louis University in Missouri. Family, faith, community support, and his friends in Kenya and abroad have helped him immensely in dealing with the painful loss of his parents. He and his brother, Milton Ochieng’, founded the Lwala Community Alliance and built the Ochieng’ Memorial Lwala Community Health Center to honor their parents who died of AIDS.
Milton Ochieng’, MD (Co-founder, Lwala Community Alliance)
Milton Ochieng’ grew up in the small rural village of Lwala in western Kenya. He is the second born in a family of four boys and two girls. His parents were both teachers. He attended Alliance High School in Nairobi, Kenya then attended Dartmouth College in the United States for his undergraduate studies. He graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2008. Currently, Milton practices gastroenterology with the BJC Medical Group at Progress West Hospital, having completed his gastroenterology fellowship at Brown University and internal medicine at Washington University/Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO. Milton and his wife, Laura, live in St. Louis with their two daughters, Ma’lee and Madeleine. He and his younger brother, Frederick Ochieng’, founded the Lwala Community Alliance and built the Ochieng’ Memorial Lwala Community Health Center to honor their parents who died of AIDS.
Joel Stanton holds a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Originally from Utah, Joel now lives in Boston, MA, where he has spent the past 15-plus years working as a researcher and consultant in the payments industry. He currently works as a Senior Research Manager for Lightspeed Research, specializing in credit and debit card payments. Previously, he spent nine years as a strategy consultant with Dove Consulting. Joel also serves on the Board of Elders for Park Street Church in Boston and has partnered with Charity: Water to help end the clean water crisis and with Kiva to help finance microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. He enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, and visiting new places — having spent time in all 50 states and over 30 countries, including time in Lwala, Kenya. Joel is blessed with a wonderful wife, two sons, and a daughter.
Lindsey Carpenter Toomey, MPA
Lindsey Toomey is a health systems strengthening specialist who has lived and worked in Africa for over 20 years. With an MPA in health policy and management from NYU, she managed hospitals in the NY and Boston areas in the 1980’s and early 90’s. Lindsey, her husband David and their three daughters, lived in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa from 1993- 2000. Following the democratic elections of 1994, Lindsey worked with the newly appointed Eastern Cape Minister for Health to establish the first Eastern Cape Department of Health for the African National Congress. Her other professional commitment at that time, was the design and implementation of a model primary healthcare delivery system at the district level, for replication throughout the country. Lindsey and her family moved to the Upper Valley of Vermont in late 2000. She provides technical assistance to a variety of health care consulting companies, funded by USAID and DfID. Lindsey works as a freelance consultant with expertise in health systems development. Her particular area of focus is maternal child health and the infectious diseases of HIV/AIDs, malaria and TB. She also provides analysis and evaluation of healthcare delivery systems and development projects in central, eastern and southern Africa. Lindsey enjoys swimming, mountain biking, hiking, poetry and music of all sorts.
Richard Wamai, PhD
A Kenyan, Richard G. Wamai is an associate professor at Northeastern University in the Department of African American Studies. He earned his PhD in international health and development from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Prior to joining Northeastern, Wamai was a research fellow at the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard School of Public Health. Before that, Wamai was a research associate at Oxford University Department of Social Policy. Wamai has previously worked in a number of institutions including the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Public Policy and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the World Bank, the London School of Economics Center for Civil Society, the Nordic-Africa Institute in Sweden, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Wamai conducts research in the areas of health systems and HIV/AIDS epidemiology and policy in developing countries.
Senator Bill Frist, MD
Doctor and Senator Bill Frist is both a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Senator Frist majored in health policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs before graduating with honors from Harvard Medical School and completing surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford. As the founder and Director of the Vanderbilt Multi-Organ Transplant Center, he has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants and authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical articles and chapters, over 400 newspaper articles, and seven books on topics such as bioterrorism, transplantation, and leadership. Dr. Frist represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years where he served on both Health and Finance committees responsible for writing health legislation. He was elected Majority Leader of the Senate, having served fewer total years in Congress than any person chosen to lead that body in history, and his leadership was instrumental in passage of prescription drug legislation and funding to fight HIV/AIDS at home and around the world. Today Senator Frist is focused on domestic health reform, the basic science of heart transplantation, global health policy, economic development in low-income countries, health care disparities, medical mission work in Sudan, the health of the mountain gorilla, and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Frist annually leads medical mission trips to Africa. Frist is chair of Save the Children’s “Newborn and Child Survival” campaign and the Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands. His current board service includes the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Kaiser Family Foundation, ONE Vote 2010, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, and the Advisory Committees for Global Health at Duke and Harvard. Senator Frist was the 2007-2008 Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the 2010 University Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University. He is a partner in the private equity firm of Cressey and Company. Senator Frist’s latest book, A Heart to Serve: The Passion to Bring Health, Home, and Healing, is an inspirational treatise of channeling one’s passions to serve others through medicine, politics, and global health. Dr. Frist lives in Nashville, Tennessee
Sten Vermund, MD, PhD
Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Health, the Amos Christie Chair in Global Health and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, and professor of pediatrics, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and preventive medicine with the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. As an infectious disease epidemiologist and pediatrician, his work focuses on diseases of resource-limited settings, especially HIV, HPV, and parasitic diseases. He has led international HIV care, treatment and prevention projects in several countries, and spearheaded efforts to ease the burden of tropical and childhood diseases through research and teaching in low and middle income countries (LMIC). His recent fieldwork has emphasized HIV prevention clinical trials and cervical cancer prevention. He has published 420 original research papers, reviews, and chapters and his work is funded through six grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control. In 2012, Dr. Vermund was elected to membership to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Vermund received his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his pediatric internship and residency, as well as a fellowship in epidemiology, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He also earned a master’s degree in science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a diploma in public health from the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene in London and a doctoral degree in epidemiology from Columbia University in New York.
Joel Vikre works on global health innovation and strategy for Management Sciences for Health in Cambridge, MA. He graduated from Dartmouth College with high honors in ecology and went on to live and work with poor communities in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Kenya. He holds an M.S. in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley, where he wrote an ethnography of changing AIDS stigma in Lwala. From 2006 to 2009, he served as the first Executive Director of the Lwala Community Alliance.
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