Core Teaching Faculty
Les Roberts, PhD, is currently the interim Director and has led more than 50 surveys in 17 countries. In recent years he has taken part in studies to measure mortality during war in Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Central African Republic. He served as Director of Health Policy at the International Rescue Committee for three years. Les teaches Public Health and Humanitarian Action, Water and Sanitation in Complex Emergencies, Investigative Methods in Complex Emergencies, and Epidemiological Methods for Measuring Human Rights Abuses. Les previously served as the interim Director of the Program on Forced Migration and Health from 2012-2014.
Neil Boothby's research focuses on the long term consequences of deprivation and danger on child development, and the comparative efficacy of interventions that aim to strengthen the capacities of families and communities to protect young children from harm. He has published extensively on risk and resilience among war and disaster affected children, and is also the recipient of a number of awards for his field work. Boothby has held senior positions with UNHCR, Save the Children, and USAID focused on low income and disaster and conflict affected countries, and is also the founding director of the CPC Learning Network. Listen to Dr. Boothby talk about the Syrian refugee crisis here.
Joanne Csete, PhD, worked on health and nutrition programs in Africa for over 10 years, including in complex emergencies, and has published widely on health and human rights issues. She was a full-time professor at Mailman for three years before becoming Deputy Director of the Open Society Foundation Global Drug Policy Program in London. She was also the Founding Director of the HIV Program at Human Rights Watch and Chief of Program Planning for the UNICEF Regional Office in Nairobi.
Rachel Moresky, MD focuses on international emergency medicine systems development in resource-poor settings, humanitarian relief, disaster medicine, disaster communication systems, referral, and public health applications of emergency medical care. Dr. Moresky currently directs sidHARTe - Strengthening Emergency Systems program in Ghana, and teaches Communicable Disease in Complex Emergencies.
Mike Wessells, PhD, is lead investigator of inter-agency action research on strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms in Sierra Leone and Kenya. He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of psychosocial support. Mike teaches Psychosocial and Mental Health Issues in Forced Migration.
Dr. Craig Spencer, MD, MPH, is a PFMH emergency medicine fellow alumni and a new PFMH faculty member! He has added a much needed historical lens in the Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance curriculum with his course,” Lessons (Un)Learned in Humanitarian Assistance: A Historical Perspective.” Dr. Spencer is also the director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Our students are delighted to have Craig’s experience and enthusiasm in the classroom.
Jamie Eliades, MD, has led epidemiologic studies throughout Africa and Asia focusing on vector control and malaria. He worked at the CDC as a malaria advisor to the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative at USAID in Washington, and is currently the Asia Malaria Elimination Director in Myanmar.
Hanna-Tina Fischer, DrPH candidate, Leadership in Global Health and Humanitarian Systems, has over a decade of experience working with UN agencies and NGOs on issues of child welfare and protection in humanitarian contexts. Tina has designed and implemented needs assessments and protection responses for populations affected by natural disaster, conflict and displacement in Africa, Asia and Europe. Prior to starting the DrPH, Tina worked with the UNICEF-led Global level Child Protection Working Group of the Global Protection Cluster.
Zahirah McNatt, MHSA, is a doctoral student (DrPH) at Mailman School of Public Health and senior research associate with the Syrian Refugee Initiative. Zahirah is currently leading a mixed methods study on the impact of family separation on Syrian refugees in Jordan and is developing a new study focused on the impact of host-country healthcare policy on refugees residing in urban settings. Prior to joining the program, Zahirah spent 10 years managing and implementing projects in health and human rights in East Africa and Southeast Asia. Most recently, she served as Director for Leadership Education and Practice at Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI). Her current interest is in facilitating the creation of innovative and effective policies and approaches to health in crisis-affected contexts.
Jeanette Bailey, MSc, PhD candidate at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has nearly 15 years experience in humanitarian nutrition programs. She is currently the Project Director for ComPAS (Combined Protocol for Acute Malnutrition Study) at the International Rescue Committee, where she is leading a multi-agency, multi-country research consortium to pilot new approaches in the treatment of childhood acute malnutrition. She previously worked for the IRC, Doctors Without Borders, Action Against Hunger and Save the Children designing, leading and assessing nutrition programs in emergencies. She is the co-facilitator of the Nutrition Forum, an inter-agency working group of humanitarian nutrition partners.
Casie Tesfai is the Senior Technical Advisor for Nutrition at the International Rescue Committee, based in New York. She has an MSc in Public Health Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MSc in International Studies. She holds a certificate in Breastfeeding Practice and Policy from the UCL Institute of Child Health and is a Certified Lactation Counselor. She has 15 years of experience working in nutrition in humanitarian contexts. She started her career with Peace Corps in Niger and went on to work with GOAL, HKI, and UNICEF in Niger, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia before joining IRC. Her area of expertise is in the community based management of acute malnutrition and infant and young child feeding in emergencies.
Ramin Asgary is a practicing physician and a teaching faculty of Weill Cornell Medical School. Over the past two decades, he has exclusively practiced a type of medicine that is primarily concerned with addressing health disparities-- the medicine and healthcare of the poor. His training is in internal medicine, social and community medicine, public health and tropical medicine, and clinical and translational research. Dr Asgary has been working with and researching the healthcare of refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, and the homeless since the mid-1990s and has developed related training curricula for students/trainees. He started working in humanitarian contexts and with Doctors Without Borders/MSF and other INGOs in 1997 as field physician, project/medical director, and technical/operational and research advisor in more than a dozen missions in regions including Eurasia/Former Soviet States, Sub-Saharan/East Africa, and South/Central America. Dr Asgary has been serving on the Board of Directors, MSF-USA since 2012 and a senior member of the IRB for International Rescue Committee since 2015. He has worked with multiple other INGOs and in humanitarian settings. Currently he serves as a Governing Councilor for the American Public Health Association representing International Health Section, and the President for the Global Health, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Travel Health. He serves as the Associate Editor for the BMC-International Health and Human Rights. Dr Asgary's research focus is on reproductive and women’s health, cancer screening, refugee health, and humanitarian/global health ethics.
Alastair Ager, PhD, has worked in the field of global health and development for over twenty years. Trained in the field of psychology, he served as head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Malawi for four years. Prior to joining Columbia he was Senior Research Manager for DFID. He teaches Investigative Methods in Complex Emergencies. Alastair has recently moved to Queen Margaret University in Scotland after 10 years but remains affiliated with the Program on Forced Migration and Health as faculty.
Richard Garfield, RN, MS, MPH, DrPH, was the first director of the Health and Nutrition Tracking Service hosted by HAC/WHO in Geneva and now works for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. He has assessed the impact of economic embargoes in Cuba, Haiti, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia for national governments and UN organizations.
Dr. SM Moazzem Hossain is the Chief of Health & Nutrition Section at UNICEF Sri Lanka. He teaches an intensive course on Food, Nutrition & Livelihoods for the Program on Forced Migration and Health. Previously, he has served as Advisor for Nutrition (HIV, IYCF and Child Survival) at UNICEF NYHQ, Head of the Nutrition Program for UNICEF in Pakistan, Head of Health and Nutrition Country Program for Save the Children UK in Bangladesh, among other positions.
Sarah Meyer, Phd, MPhil, is an assistant professor in clinical population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. She has extensive experience managing and leading research projects focused on migration, child protection and mental health in humanitarian and low-income settings. Her PhD research focused on migration and mental health on the Thailand-Burma border, and she has led qualitative and quantitative training and data collection in Cambodia, Rwanda, Uganda and Thailand. She is currently the co-investigator on a joint study between the CPC Learning Network and UNHCR, on measuring child protection in refugee settings.
Ronald J. Waldman, MD, MPH, was the founding director of the Program on Forced Migration and Health. He is a physician specializing in child health in developing countries, and began his career with the World Health Organization's Global Smallpox Eradication Program in Bangladesh. He subsequently worked at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more than 20 years where, among other assignments, he directed technical support activities for the Combating Childhood Communicable Diseases Project. He has worked in complex emergencies in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Albania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and, most recently, Iraq.
Nate Miller, PhD, is a Health Advisor at UNICEF Headquarters, focusing primarily on conducting research and providing technical support on community-based maternal, newborn, and child health in emergency settings. His research interests include provision of primary healthcare services in hard-to-reach contexts, community health in emergencies, improving primary healthcare service delivery, and methods for assessing and evaluating health programs.