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.


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.


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. 

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)

Anna Abelson, Program officer

Anna Abelson is a Program Officer at AMDD, focusing on disrespect and abuse in the US. Anna's interests sit at the intersection of health and human rights, and she is experienced in designing and implementing rigorous research with and for marginalized populations both in the US and abroad. Anna has previously focused on HIV and reproductive rights in sub-Saharan Africa with the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she was based in Cameroon. Prior to that position, Anna lived in Lusaka, Zambia, where she was a Program Officer and Global Health Corps Fellow at Population Council and focused on abortion research though a program evaluation of the Prevention of Maternal Deaths from Unwanted Pregnancies project. Anna has a Master of Science of Public Health in Population, Family and Reproductive Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BA in Women and Gender Studies from Bates College.

Adrienne Strong, postdoctoral research fellow

Dr. Adrienne Strong joins AMDD to conduct a research project on birth companionship in Kigoma, Tanzania as AMDD’s partner organization, Thamini Uhai, implements a birth companion pilot program. Adrienne focuses on the re-socialization of childbirth within biomedical facilities and local constructions of choice in maternity care. She comes to AMDD with eight years of experience conducting research in Tanzania, which centers on ethnographic, political economic, and historical investigations of maternal mortality and access to care, particularly the pathways leading to deaths in biomedical health facilities. Adrienne has received funding from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, and a P.E.O. Scholar Award for her research. Adrienne holds a joint Ph.D. in medical anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and the Universiteit van Amsterdam, an A.M. in sociocultural anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.S. in Biomedical Science from The Ohio State University. 

Caitlin warthin, program officer

Caitlin Warthin is a Program Officer at AMDD, focusing on measuring and improving the availability and quality of maternal health care, including dimensions of respectful maternity care.  She also performs research related to AMDD's work on accountability in health systems, and has supported AMDD's EmOC task-shifting and referral portfolios.  Caitlin has previously worked in monitoring and evaluation for reproductive health programs in the Philippines, as well as global EmOC programming for USAID's Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program.  She holds an MPH in Population and Family Health from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Williams College.


Technical Staff Outside of New York

Wasihun andualem gobezie, senior technical advisor

Wasihun Andualem Gobezie is a Senior Technical Advisor at AMDD.  He has over 17 years of experience in the field of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, working in diverse settings and at different levels of expertise. Since 2008, he has played a critical role in the execution of several emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) national assessments in a variety of African countries. Mr. Wasihun has published a number of articles based on results from these EmONC assessments, and has presented his analyses in both national and international fora.  He has also served in senior positions at different international NGOs, leading and implementing high quality monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management projects with diverse stakeholders.  He is an expert in quantitative and qualitative research methods, program evaluation, database management, and geomapping, and has provided support to countries in study design, sampling techniques, developing study tools, statistical analysis (including complex regression model fitting), report writing, and overall research management. He holds a Master of Public Health degree as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in biostatistics.

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.


Administrative Staff

Amy Manning, Program assistant

Amy Manning joined AMDD as a Program Assistant in 2016. She provides technical and administrative support across all of AMDD’s grants; her roles include conducting desk research and literature reviews 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, 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 United States, 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.