Chiara Bercu, MPA
Chiara has over five years of experience working on the design, implementation and evaluation of international development programs. Prior to IRH, she worked at USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health on the integration of family planning into non-health sector programs and with Save the Children researching, piloting and evaluating Menstrual Hygiene Management education programs in El Salvador and Kyrgyzstan. Chiara also served as a Global Health Corps fellow in Uganda and a World Partners Fellow in India. She obtained an MPA in International Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. On the Passages project, Chiara works on an evaluation of social norms and male engagement across 6-sectors of USAID programs.
Susana Mendoza Birdsong, MA
Contracts and Operations Manager
Susana Mendoza Birdsong has over ten years of experience with family planning programs at IRH. She is responsible for supporting the overall administration of the Institute, including contractual, personnel, logistics and travel matters, as well as supporting knowledge sharing and internal staff skill-building. Susana holds a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University and speaks French and Spanish.
Jeannette A. Cachan, MA, M.Ed
Director of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance; Research Instructor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center
Jeannette Cachan is a research instructor with 20 years of experience working in family planning programs. At IRH, she has developed and implemented training strategies for youth, family planning and HIV/AIDS projects, and is responsible for designing, developing and evaluating appropriate solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of learning, performance and instruction for different reproductive health initiatives. Jeannette also supports IRH technical assistance efforts in the field. She received an MA in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of Maryland, and a M.Ed in instructional design and technology from George Mason University.
Franccesca Cesti-Browne, MPA
Director of Finance and Operations
Franccesca Cesti-Browne has over 10 years of experience in finance, operations and contract management. She also has over 8 years of experience in program management, grant writing and business development. Franccesca holds a master’s in Public Administration from Florida International University. As the Director of Finance and Operations, she leads the team that supports the Institute’s operating functions: HR, Contracts, IT, Field Operations, Administration and Finance. Franccesca manages the Institute’s annual budget, provides leadership and strategic management to all administrative, financial and operational functions.
Sandra Chipanta, MPH
Sandra Chipanta has over six years of experience in the management and implementation of international development interventions in Africa (Benin, Niger, and Togo) and in Asia (Bangladesh and Nepal). She has worked in the areas of maternal, newborn, and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS. At IRH, Sandra manages the Fertility Awareness for Community Transformation (FACT) Project in Nepal and reviews French translations. Prior to joining IRH, she supported capacity building activities for social franchises in Francophone West Africa and Madagascar. Sandra obtained her BA from Mount Holyoke College and MPH from George Washington University. Originally from Togo, she is fluent in both French and Ewe.
Laura Evaenes, BS
Hanley Fultz, BA
Liya Haile, MHS
Liya Haile manages research and programmatic activities for mobile solutions at IRH, including the Dot Efficacy Study and monitoring and evaluation of the CycleBeads app in several African countries. Prior to joining IRH, Liya‘s research interest was in reproductive biology, specifically IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. She transitioned to focusing on social and behavioral research after teaching sexual and reproductive health education to middle school students in Baltimore. Liya holds a MHS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Sammie Hill, BJ
Sammie is a communications generalist who works across all projects at IRH, supporting teams in creating and disseminating a wide range of materials including program tools, presentations, and webinars. She generates content for the Institute’s digital channels and manages internal communications efforts. Prior to joining IRH, Sammie worked as Digital Media Specialist for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Peace Studies and Journalism from the University of Missouri and is perusing a Masters in Professional Studies through Georgetown University’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program.
Victoria H. Jennings, Ph.D
Director, Principal Investigator of the FACT Project, and Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center
Dr. Jennings, an anthropologist whose academic interests focus on health behavior and culture change, has 30 years experience in the international family planning and reproductive health field. She is a recognized leader in fertility awareness as well as in research, capacity building, and scaling up health interventions. She is responsible for overall direction of the Institute and serves on numerous boards and task forces on international health issues.
Brianán Kiernan, MSc
Brianán works on the Passages Project at the Institute, providing project management and coordination support to the Growing up GREAT! and realist evaluation studies, as well as the Very Young Adolescents Task Team. Prior to joining the IRH, she worked on the Access Programs team at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Brianán began her career in Tamale, Ghana where she oversaw the operations of Saha Global’s Ghana offices and developed her interests in women’s empowerment and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. She holds an MSc in Global Health from Trinity College Dublin and her BA in International Studies from Boston College.
Anjalee Kohli, MPH, PhD
Senior Research Officer
Dr. Anjalee Kohli has over a decade of international health and development experience focusing on research and practice for prevention of gender based violence, violence against children, HIV/AIDS and promoting improved mental health and resilience. Anjalee works as a Senior Research Officer, providing strategic leadership, research expertise and technical vision under the Passages Project. Anjalee received her PhD from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds an MPH. Anjalee previously worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
Rebecka Inga Lundgren, MPH, PhD
Director of Research; Research Instructor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center
Dr. Lundgren has over 25 years of comprehensive, hands-on experience developing and testing reproductive health and behavior change programs, with particular interest in expanding family planning choice, youth and engaging men in reproductive health. Rebecka’s current research interests include systematic approaches to scale-up, social barriers to family planning use and prevention of gender-based violence. As an applied anthropologist, she has expertise applying qualitative and ethnographic methods to her work, and has developed innovative mixed method approaches to evaluate fertility awareness and gender transformation programs for very young adolescents. She received an MPH from UCLA’s School of Public Health in the Department of Population and Family Health in 1987, and her doctorate in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland.
Courtney J. McLarnon-Silk, MSc
Courtney brings has over six years of experience in international development, coordinating and managing initiatives related to gender equality and mainstreaming, women’s rights, and women’s empowerment. At the Institute, Courtney works on the Passages project, focusing her time on project management, management of the Transforming Masculinities/Masculinite, Famille et Foi intervention, and on establishing regional Communities of to strengthen regional work on normative change
for AYSRH. Courtney also manages the Institute’s ongoing work on bringing CycleTel to market. She received an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and a BA from McGill University. Originally from Montreal, Canada, she speaks fluent French.
Jarai Sabally, MA
Jarai provides administrative and financial related support to the Passages Project team. Prior to joining IRH, she worked at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Nursing. Jarai holds an M.A. in International Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in International Studies from Towson University. Jarai is originally from Senegal and The Gambia, and she speaks French, Wolof, and Mandinka.
Lea Satta, MA
Lea supports the Passages Project and the Learning Collaborative to Advance Normative Change. Prior to joining IRH, she worked for the Patient Advocacy and International Services department of Georgetown University Hospital. Lea has national and global-level experience in the field of women’s rights, and interned at the McCain Institute for International Leadership where she worked on human trafficking in the United States and corresponding legislation, and later at a women’s rights association in Morocco. Lea holds an MA in Political Science from Segalen Bordeaux II University, an MA in International Relations from Jean Moulin Lyon III University, and speaks fluent French.
Dominick Shattuck, PhD
Senior Research Officer and Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center
Dr. Shattuck has 20 years of development experience, focusing on rigorous public health research, implementation science approaches, and behavior change interventions that increase access to health services, education and economic opportunity. With vast experience leading social behavioral research projects around the world in the areas of HIV, gender, and family planning, Dr. Shattuck prioritizes collaborative work with government officials and grassroots organizations to define locally relevant solutions. At IRH, Dr. Shattuck leads the FACT Project’s work in Nepal, developing family planning messages and game-based approaches. As a known champion for the inclusion of men in reproductive health work, he is an active advocate of vasectomy services, publishing research articles, blogs, presentations and other thought pieces for a variety of audiences. Dr. Shattuck received PhD from NC State University in Psychology, his B.A. in History from Clark University. He speaks Amharic (Ethiopian National Language).
Bryan Shaw, PhD, MPH
Senior Research Manager
Dr. Bryan Shaw has over a decade of international health and development experience, focusing on rigorous public health research and behavior change interventions. At IRH, Bryan works as a senior research officer, largely providing strategic leadership and quality control for research studies under the Passages Project. He received his PhD from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in International Health and also holds a MPH and MS in Applied Medical Anthropology. Bryan worked previously with Population Services International (PSI), UNICEF, and USAID.
Esther Spindler, MS
Esther Spindler is a researcher practitioner with over seven years experience in global health and international development. Esther’s background is in mixed-methods research and M&E in the areas of gender and masculinities, immigrant populations, family planning and HIV/AIDS. At IRH, Esther supports research activities for the FACT project in Uganda and Jordan. She served as a Healthy Homes Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala from 2009 to 2012, and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and French. She holds an M.S. in Development Management from American University, and B.S. in Political Science from SUNY Oneonta.
Sarah Thompson, MA
Sarah supports the Fact Nepal project and the Dot Efficacy Study. Prior to joining IRH, she worked for an education NGO in Cambodia after completing her MA in International Development from the University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies. She has worked and studied in the areas of global education management, migration, and sexual and reproductive health.
Mercedes Valldeperas, BS
Information Technology Manager
Mercedes Valldeperas has over 25 years of experience in computer science. She serves as the Institute’s Information Technology Manager. In this role, Mercedes plans, implements, supports, and monitors technological strategic solutions in addition to creating contingency plans and disaster recovery procedures. She also designs and analyzes software applications and multi-relational databases for research, and oversees the maintenance of organizational systems and databases. Mercedes serves as the Institute liaison with Georgetown University’s Information Systems.
Lauren VanEnk, MPH
At IRH, Lauren Van Enk manages several family planning and reproductive health programs in Africa. She has over nine years of experience working in design, implementation and management of global reproductive and maternal health projects. She provides technical guidance in community-based family planning as well as training design for providers. Lauren is particularly passionate about building the capacity of faith-based organizations and religious leaders in family planning and has provided this support across several countries in Africa. Focusing on disseminating research and program results, Lauren has authored and contributed to many of IRH’s articles, reports, and curricula. She believes IRH is uniquely poised to address global family planning challenges by enabling both women and men to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. She holds a Master’s degree in Global Public Health from George Washington University and a BA from Calvin College. Her past experiences involve research in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS with BRAC University in Bangladesh, advocacy in global maternal health, and nutrition education.