Lynn P. Freedman, Director

Lynn P. Freedman is Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) program at the Mailman School of Public Health. As director of the Law & Policy Project at Columbia´s Mailman School of Public Health from 1997 to 2009, Lynn became a leading figure in the field of health and human rights, working worldwide with women´s groups and human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1990, she worked as a practicing attorney in New York City.

Lynn has published widely on issues of maternal mortality and on health and human rights, with a particular focus on gender and women´s health. The current focus of Lynn’s research is on promoting inclusive health systems that can ensure equitable access to quality maternal and newborn health care. Increasingly, this research draws on insights and methodologies from implementation science to examine health interventions in their larger social and policy context. By researching in-depth the way programs are implemented as well as the content of the programs themselves, Lynn and colleagues are breaking new ground in addressing long-standing challenges in maternal and newborn health. Focus on implementation ensures that AMDD’s research relates to frontline realities, and is thus actionable and can be used to inform relevant policy. Recent work has examined social accountability and health governance; disrespect and abuse and quality of care in maternal health care; referral in maternal and newborn health systems; urban health, especially in slums, including the challenges and opportunities of informal systems; and issues surrounding human resource management, such as task-shifting, and posting and transfer practices in the health sector.

Lynn also serves on the advisory boards of maternal health projects and human rights projects with programs in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. She received a law degree (JD) from Harvard University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University, and a bachelor´s degree (BA) from Yale University.

Helen de Pinho, Associate Director

Dr. Helen de Pinho is Associate Director of AMDD and an assistant professor of clinical population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Helen has extensive experience in health systems and capacity development as a health services manager for reproductive and primary health care in rural and urban South Africa. At the University of Cape Town, she was a senior lecturer and director of the Oliver Tambo Fellowship program, which focused on strengthening management and leadership of senior health service managers to support the transformation of health systems in South Africa’s new democracy. She also engaged in research and policy development to strengthen women’s health services. Immediately prior to joining AMDD, Helen worked as a senior policy adviser to the U.N. Millennium Project Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health, with a focus on health systems and human resources.

Helen did her medical training (MBBCh) at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She specialized in Public Health (FCCH (SA)) and also completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused on systems thinking and management education at the University of Cape Town.

Patricia E. Bailey, Senior Technical Advisor

Dr. Patricia Bailey has been a senior technical advisor at AMDD since its inception in 1999. She is also a senior scientist at Family Health International and adjunct associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. Patricia has played a key role in building the research systems and processes of the EmONC Needs Assessments, a component of which has been the revision and global dissemination of the EmOC indicators for monitoring the availability, utilization, and quality of obstetric services. Her interest in quality improvement has led to capacity-building in different techniques, such as criteria-based audits to assess clinical treatment of complications, management issues, and human rights in a clinical setting. She is an expert in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, tailoring methodologies, and providing technical support to countries on study design, sampling, questionnaire development, data management systems and analysis, using both complex statistical techniques and text analysis. Her collaborations with the World Health Organization and other UN agencies focus on individual and multi-country analyses of maternal mortality and morbidity, using data for action, and assisting governments to sequence interventions to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.

Dr. Bailey has published extensively on maternal and newborn health issues. She earned her Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Technical Staff (in alphabetical order)

Shruti Chhabra, Graduate Research Assistant

Shruti Chhabra is a PhD candidate and Rosenfield SRH scholar in Sociomedical Sciences, with a political science minor. Shruti is currently assisting with literature reviews, research design, and data collection as part of AMDD’s implementation research of CARE India’s family health project in rural Bihar, India. Shruti has a medical degree (MBBS) from TN Medical College, Mumbai, and a Master in Health Administration from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has practiced medicine in India, and has also worked in several different Indian states for NGOs and the government on maternal health. Her experience includes management of rural maternal health projects, policy analysis and program design for the Indian government’s National Rural Health Mission, and research at different levels of the Indian public health system.

Grace Kodindo, Technical Adviser

Dr. Grace Kodindo collaborates with AMDD in her work as the medical and advocacy advisor to AMDD’s sister program, the RAISE Initiative. She worked with AMDD on the implementation of emergency obstetric care in Mali and Rwanda. Her recent work at RAISE focuses on comprehensive reproductive health care for refugees and internally displaced persons. She practiced general medicine and obstetrics/gynecology in her native Chad for thirty years. She also taught in nursing and midwifery schools and served on the University of N’djamena’s Faculty of Medicine. Grace served as a reproductive health consultant for the WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA country offices in Chad. Grace has been honored many times. In May 2009, the Danish Government awarded the MDG 3 torch to Grace for her worldwide promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. In 2000, she won the FIGO/Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Distinguished Community Service Award for Emergency Obstetric Care. Grace has also been featured in two award-winning BBC documentaries. The 2005 Dead Mums Don’t Cry followed her work as the head of the primary maternity hospital in Chad. In 2009, Grace Under Fire accompanied her as she investigated the abysmal state of reproductive health services in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Grace holds a medical degree from the Université de Montreal in Canada and a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology from Khartoum University.

Margaret Kruk

Dr. Margaret Kruk works as a Technical Advisor to AMDD. She completed a family medicine residency and initially practiced family and emergency medicine in remote northern Ontario, Canada. She then worked as the Policy Advisor for Health at the Millennium Project, an Advisory body to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. At the Millennium Project, Margaret coordinated the work of expert Task Forces on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, Access to Essential Medicines, and Maternal and Child Health and assisted Ministries of Health in several low-income countries with planning for health system scale-up. Other prior experience includes working as engagement manager with the New York office of McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, and as acting country manager with Medecins sans Frontieres in Lebanon. She has also consulted with the WHO, the World Bank, and the United Nations.

Margaret’s research focus is in quantitative analysis of patient and provider preferences and health systems performance in low-income and post-conflict countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Specific areas of research include: financing and utilization of maternal health services, use of stated preference methods in health care (discrete choice experiments), and health system performance evaluation in sub-Saharan African and other low-income regions. Margaret received a medical degree from McMaster University and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University. She is an Assistant Professor in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and was previously an Assistant Professor in Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Therese McGinn, Technical Adviser, Associate Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia Medical Center

Dr. Therese McGinn is the director of the RAISE Initiative, AMDD’s sister program. In the past, she served as deputy director of AMDD and principal investigator of the monitoring and evaluation program of the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium. During her more than 25 years in public health, Therese has concentrated on using sound data collection and analysis to improve reproductive health services so that men and women can make choices about their sexual and reproductive lives. Since the mid-1990s, she has focused on reproductive health in conflict-affected populations, primarily in Africa but also in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

Therese received a DrPH from Columbia University, with a dissertation on fertility desires and behavior of women in post-conflict Rwanda, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Michigan. She is an associate professor of clinical population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Shanon McNab, Associate Director

Shanon McNab is Associate Director at AMDD with specific expertise in implementation science methods and program evaluation. Shanon’s research areas include task shifting for EmOC, innovative referral systems development, and larger MNCH program evaluations. In collaboration with multiple international research institutions, Shanon has guided research programs to improve access to and availability of EmOC services. Shanon brings 8 years of experience in public health research, program implementation and management spanning Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. Prior to joining AMDD, Shanon worked on strengthening family planning monitoring and evaluation systems in crisis settings; managing programs providing access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment for at-risk populations; and staffing international disaster response programs. She has worked for the RAISE Initiative at the Mailman School of Public Health, the Academy for Educational Development (AED), and the American Red Cross. Shanon has a Master in International Affairs and an MPH from Columbia University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kate Ramsey, Research Officer

Kate Ramsey has over ten years’ experience working in global health, with a focus on maternal and newborn health and health systems. Her main research interest is how organizational theory can be applied to improve health system performance. She recently returned to New York after three years based at the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she worked as a Columbia University investigator on several studies to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. Previously, she worked for UNFPA as the Global Coordinator and Technical Specialist for the Campaign to End Fistula. In this role, she provided technical support in the design, implementation, and evaluation of maternal health programs in 45 countries in Africa and Asia. She holds an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a BA in International Studies from American University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in public health at Columbia University. She has also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan and an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Appalachia.

Marta Schaaf, Deputy Director

Marta Schaaf is the Deputy Director, focusing on the “Accountability on the Frontlines” project. In this role, she develops program research and implementation to promote accountability for maternal and other health programs. Marta comes to AMDD having worked in health and human rights for nearly 15 years. Most recently, she managed pediatric HIV care and treatment and drug supply chain programs for the Clinton Foundation in several countries of West Africa. She has also conducted research and policy analysis and implemented programs on minority health, health and social exclusion, tuberculosis, and health systems for the World Lung Foundation, HealthRight, the Open Society Foundation, and the World Health Organization. Marta has lived in Burkina Faso, Kosovo, and Macedonia. She has a Masters in International Affairs and an MPH from Columbia University, and a BA from Smith College. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in public health at Columbia University. 


Technical Staff Outside of New York

Dr. Sourou Gbangbadé, Technical Advisor

Dr. Gbangbadé has worked with AMDD as a Maternal and Newborn Health Technical Advisor since 2000. In this role, he implements and supports EmONC needs assessments, primarily by working with Ministries of Health to gather and act on EmOC data. He has worked with Ministries in several countries of Western and Central Africa, including Djibouti, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to his work with AMDD, he is a consultant technical advisor for multiple agencies and donors, including USAID, the Global Fund, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Health Organization, IntraHealth International, JHPIEGO, Management Sciences for Health, PATH, and University Research Corporation. He advises in the areas of health systems research, health program and project evaluation, health systems planning, health systems management, facilitation and leadership. Dr. Gbangbadé obtained his medical doctor (MD) degree from the School of Medicine of Benin, and his MPH and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

Judith Fortney, Senior Advisor

Dr. Judith A. Fortney is a senior technical advisor to the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program, and has worked with AMDD since its inception in 1999. Judith has made significant contributions to the research field of reproductive health, and has been actively involved in this research since 1974. She worked for Family Health International in North Carolina for 25 years where she was involved in research and writing surrounding maternal mortality and contraceptive epidemiology. She conducted the first RAMOS (Reproductive Age Mortality Survey) Study in Egypt and Indonesia in the early 1980s and has consulted for various U.N. agencies and NGOs. She also worked for the World Health Organization in Geneva where she developed strategies for their Safe Motherhood program, and was a long time member of the WHO contraceptive epidemiology committee and maternal mortality research committee. She has published widely in the field of reproductive health, including such topics as: contraceptive epidemiology, maternal mortality, and sexually transmitted infections.

She received a PhD in demography from Duke University, a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics. She is an instructor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and an adjunct professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina.

Emily Keyes, Senior Technical Advisor

Emily Keyes has worked as researcher since 2007 focused on health services research in the areas of quality of intrapartum services, maternal and newborn mortality reduction and health system strengthening.  Since 2008, Emily has acted as Technical Advisor to the Averting Maternal Death and Disability program (AMDD) at Columbia University.  She has worked with national and regional ministries of health, UN partners and local NGOs to support efforts to improve the availability, access and quality of obstetric and newborn services in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Tanzania and Mozambique.  Currently, Emily leads evaluations of the impact of an mHealth intervention to improve intrapartum care in Tanzania and the impact of solar electrification on the quality of health services in Zambia, as well as geographic analyses to improve access to quality intrapartum services in Mozambique.  She also contributes to a UNICEF-funded effort to fill gaps in global knowledge of the status of WASH in health care facilities.  Emily has expertise in the areas of quantitative analyses, spatial analyses, data collection and management, as well as maternal and newborn health, emergency obstetric and newborn care and emergency referral systems. 

She received her MPH in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health.   Emily also holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Villanova University.

Barbara Kwast, Senior Advisor

Dr. Kwast has served as a senior advisor to the AMDD Program since 1999. She brings with her 45 years of professional experience as a specialist in Maternal and Child Health and Midwifery education, and as an epidemiologist focused on implementation, monitoring and evaluation of maternal mortality and morbidity programs worldwide. She has been given a number of awards and honors: the FRCOG from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in London (2002), the Community Service Award from the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ethiopia (2007), a Knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau in the Netherlands (2004), and was nominated for the Helping Hollander Award (2009). A film was broadcast in November 2009 about her work with the Hamlin College of Midwives and the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in the Dutch TV program called, The Netherlands Helps. She assisted in the development of midwifery education and practice both in Malawi and Nigeria. She was a lecturer in community obstetrics at the Medical Faculty of the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, working for the Department of International Co-operation of the Netherlands and the respective Governments. She worked as a scientist with the Department of Family Health at the WHO, participating in the development of the Global Safe Motherhood Initiative and as a member of the Interregional Technical Support Team of UNFPA to assist with the formulation of MCH/FP country programs. She also worked with USAID’s Mother Care Project and since then has worked as an international consultant in reproductive health and safe motherhood, participating in project development, implementation, and evaluation of emergency obstetric care for the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity in Africa and Asia.

Barbara has published over 66 articles on maternal health and maternal mortality/morbidity and has a dedicated professional history of commitment to maternal health. In addition to diplomas in nursing, midwifery, midwifery education, family planning, and tropical medicine, she earned a master’s degree in community health at the School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool and a PhD degree in epidemiology at the University of Wales College of Medicine.

Dr. Halima Mouniri, Technical Advisor

Halima Mouniri joined AMDD in 2003 as Senior Staff Associate. In this role, she coordinated and led an AMDD/UNICEF joint project in Afghanistan supporting the Ministry of Public Health to strengthen maternal health. Since 2009, she has worked as a senior advisor to AMDD. She has led or contributed to EmOC needs assessments in Niger, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Laos, and South Sudan. Her work includes the development of research protocols and tools, training field workers, supervising field activities, contributing to data analysis, and report writing. Prior to joining AMDD, Halima worked in Morocco as a general practitioner and then a public health program manager for the Ministry of Health, as well as the EmOC needs assessment coordinator at UNFPA. In 2005, she joined UNICEF in Yemen as a maternal and newborn health officer. Halima completed her medical studies in Morocco, and got an MPH with a focus on maternal and child health from Tulane University.

Aline Mukundwa

Aline Mukundwa is a technical advisor to AMDD. She has a long history of work in reproductive health that has taken her to many different countries in Africa, Europe, and the US. She worked for two USAID funded international non-governmental organizations, PRIME II and EGPAF. She worked for the government of Rwanda as a technical advisor to the reproductive health division and as director of maternal and child health. In 2008 she joined the World Health Organization as a Program Administrator. Aline has experience as a freelance consultant in areas of reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender, and sexual and reproductive health rights. As a consultant, she has worked for UNICEF Rwanda, FEMNET Nairobi, Rwanda TracPlus, and VOXIVA.

In addition to her work, Aline was an appointed medical focal point on the national forum fighting against child sexual abuse and gender based violence, member of the Rwanda Medical Association, and a visiting lecturer at the Kigali Institute of Health. Aline holds a Masters in Gynecology and Obstetrics and is close to completing an MPH.

Dr. Dahada Ould el Joud

Dr. Dahada Ould el Joud joined AMDD in 2010 as a Technical Adviser on the EmOC needs assessments. Before joining AMDD, Dr. Ould el Joud was a public health consultant and Director of the Mauritanian Bureau of Studies in Health and Population. Prior to that, she worked as a physician at several health centers in Mauritania, and she also served as Director of the National Health Information System at the Mauritanian Ministry of Health. She completed her PhD in epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine Paris-South; a diploma in epidemiology and biostatistics from the School of Public Health at the Free University of Brussels; an MPH from the National Institute of Health Administration in Rabat, Morocco; and a medical degree from Mauritania. Dr. Ould el Joud is the author of several academic articles about maternal health.


Administrative Staff

Amy Manning, Program assistant

Amy Manning joined AMDD as a Program Assistant in 2016. She provides programmatic and administrative support across all of AMDD’s grants; her roles include conducting desk research on issues related to maternal health, working with the Business Manager to process sub-awards and other grant-related financial tasks, and assisting in the development of proposals, final reports, and communications. Amy graduated from American University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies. Prior to joining AMDD, she interned with several government and research institutions, including the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., the Wilson Center, and the U.S. Department of State.

Kim Norland, administrative coordinator

Kim Norland is Administrative Coordinator for both AMDD and Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies (RAISE) specializing in travel coordination and logistics. Prior to joining RAISE/AMDD he served as Program Assistant for the Free To Grow National Program Office, handling site reporting and meeting coordination. Mr. Norland has more than 20 years’ experience with not-for-profit agencies in the field of social services, housing provision and the arts. A native of Detroit, he has been a volunteer and board member of arts, social and advocacy organizations in New York and Michigan.

Angélika Tapia, Business Manager

Ms. Tapia manages finances for the AMDD program. She has coordinated research funding, reconciliation, and reporting at Columbia University Medical Center since 2008. Prior to joining Columbia, Ms. Tapia worked in corporate finance and wealth management for UBS Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch. She has served on three non-profit boards and currently volunteers with South Bronx United Soccer League and New York Cares.

Ms. Tapia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Romance Languages (French and Spanish) from Dartmouth College and a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Business from Columbia University.