Core Teaching Faculty

Monette Zard is the Director of the Forced Migration and Health Program and Associate Professor of Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is an expert on forced migration and human rights, and her work has spanned the fields of policy, advocacy and philanthropy. She has served as the Global Human Rights Program Officer at the Ford Foundation in New York and as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva, Switzerland, a think tank focused on applied human rights research. Her work there explored issues of political violence and the human rights obligations of armed groups, economic and social rights and human smuggling. From 2000-2003, she was a Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington D.C. and held a visiting research fellowship in law at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University. Prior to that, she directed the international refugee work of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, during which time her work focused on the use of legal strategies to strengthen refugee protection in Africa as well as the particular issue of how international law should deal with refugees and asylum-seekers accused of committing serious international crimes. She has consulted on international human rights and forced migration issues for a number of organisations including Amnesty International, the Brookings Institute, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She holds a Law Degree from Cambridge University and a Masters degree in International Relations and Middle East Studies from the School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University.

Les Roberts, PhD, 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.

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.

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.

Sara Casey, DrPH, focuses on using sound data collection and analysis to improve the availability and quality of sexual and reproductive health services in countries whose health systems have been weakened by war or natural disaster. Dr. Casey is Director of the Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies (RAISE) Initiative, a global program collaborating with program partners to identify and respond to challenges to improve contraceptive and abortion-related services in humanitarian settings in Africa and Asia. She provides technical guidance to partners to establish program monitoring and evaluation systems and conduct health facility assessments, population-based surveys and other implementation research.


DrPH CandidateHanna-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. 

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.

Alina Potts, MPH, has led responses to gender-based violence (GBV) in a number of emergencies with the International Rescue Committee, and multi-country research on violence prevention with UNICEF. Her current work with the Global Women’s Institute includes leading participatory action research in Lebanon, Uganda and Bangladesh to mitigate the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse in the way aid is distributed; and developing training for gender professionals. Alina’s experience in forced migration extends to refugee resettlement; asylum advocacy; and addressing grave violations against children with Professor Les Roberts. She is a PFMH alum and looks forward to teaching the “GBV in Complex Emergencies” class each spring.

Emmanuel d’Harcourt, MD, is a pediatrician who has worked for the Peace Corps, the Pasteur Institute, and the International Rescue Committee. He is currently a consultant at Vital Strategies, working on data use and on early childhood development. He has worked as a clinician, researcher, outbreak responder, and manager. Emmanuel has lived and worked in primarily in Africa but also in Asia and Latin America, focusing on child and maternal health, conflict recovery, and health systems. Emmanuel received his MD from Johns Hopkins University and his MPH from Harvard University, and completed a pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Mark Canavera, MA, MPP, is the Associate Director of the CPC Learning Network, an entity housed at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health which convenes academics, policymakers, and practitioners to promote innovative research, nurture communities of learning, and build the next generation of researchers and advocates for children and families worldwide. In this role, he coordinates research and advocacy efforts on children’s protection, care, health, and development; he serves as the co-chair of the Building the Evidence Interest Group of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and the Task Force on Systems Strengthening and Disaster Risk Reduction for the global Child Protection Working Group. His current research focuses on effective means to strengthen the global social service workforce in low- and middle-income countries as well as efforts to strengthen national child protection systems through emergency response efforts. Mark came to the CPC Learning Network after many years working as a humanitarian aid and development worker in West Africa. He also launched and served as the founding coordinator of the Community Child Protection Exchange, an online initiative to improve the level of knowledge and understanding around community-based child protection mechanisms and national child protection systems. He has worked in over 20 countries with a variety of agencies, including Save the Children, UNHCR, Oxfam, Terre des hommes, AVSI, and Child Frontiers. His work has spanned former child soldier reintegration in northern Uganda, small arms control in Senegal, girls’ education promotion in Burkina Faso, and child welfare system reform in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon. He holds Master’s degrees in Peace Studies from Notre Dame and Public Policy from Harvard.

Affiliate Faculty

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.