DGH Board of Directors



Linda Sharp MD, President & CEO, is Assistant Clinical Professor and Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Program at Charles R. Drew University and an internist at Martin Luther King, Jr Community Hospital in South Los Angeles.  She is also DGH co-site coordinator in Oaxaca, Mexico with Comunidades Campesinas en Camino.  She is part of People’s Health Movement to promote health and human rights, and works with HealthBegins, a network of health professionals that focus on how clinicians and health systems can address social issues as part of a community centered approach to wellbeing.  She enjoys teaching students, health workers, and community members about liberation medicine and health and human rights issues.  (Board Term: 2014-2017)


Mitchel Erickson, NP, Vice President, is a native of British Columbia, Canada and an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco, School of Nursing and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Medicine/Prepare Pre-op Clearance at the UCSF Medical Center. He obtained two undergraduate degrees from the University of British Columbia in Food Science and Human Nutrition and then worked in nutrition research with coastal native tribe in BC assessing nutritional habits/food stuffs/nutritional status but then returned for a degree in nursing while doing psychiatric genetics research for UBC Department of Psychiatry and Columbia University in New York. He received his graduate degree from UCSF in Nursing as an NP.  He has worked with other non-profit groups in BC assisting the disabled with independent living and in the SF Unified School District with underserved high school students.  He came to DGH through Steve Miller 11 years ago and has been a partner and volunteered in Estancia and Tablon for two months in 2005.  Over the past year has been the registrar for DGH and now becoming Vice President of the Board. He worked with other Bay Area DGH members to organize the 18th Annual General Assembly for DGH at the University of California, Berkeley. He continues to be inspired by the energy, commitment, vitality, and diversity of DGH volunteerism and mission and looks forward to a lifetime of contributions. (Board Term: 2015-2018)


Jenny Abrams, MD, Chairperson, is an integrative family physician in Seattle, WA.  She completed her fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine, and currently works at International Community Health Services, a FQHC that focuses on Asian, Pacific Islander, and other immigrant health.  She practices full spectrum family medicine, and continues to do deliveries and inpatient medicine, as well as deliver other important women's health services. During medical school at the University of Rochester she was introduced to DGH through a course on physicians as social activists, and went on to spend 6 months as a DGH volunteer in Estancia, El Salvador in 2009.  Since leaving Estancia, she has worked with the International Volunteer Committee to recruit and assist volunteers, and has been involved in the Estancia work group. Jenny joined the board as an alternate in 2011, and took on the position of chair in 2013.  Jenny is devoted to providing holistic patient-centered health care to marginalized communities in the US and abroad.  As a dancer, yoga teacher, and integrative physician, she sees the importance in promoting nutrition, musculoskeletal well-being, mental health, creative expression, and honoring indigenous health knowledge in our communities locally and abroad.  (Board Term:  2015-2018)


Shirley Novak, MA, Treasurer (CFO), is a charter member of the DGH Board. She has participated in El Salvador solidarity work since 1984, through Syracuse Covenant Sanctuary, an NGO that advocated for and protected undocumented Salvadoran refugees in the US. Since 1993, she has coordinated the Syracuse, NY-La Estancia Sister Community in rural El Salvador, organizing annual delegations. A former teacher of immigrant adults learning English and an Early Childhood and Family Educator in a bilingual preschool program, Shirley currently works with developmentally delayed Latino preschoolers as a bilingual special education teacher in Syracuse, NY. (Board Term: 2016-2019)


Alex Luger, MD, Secretary & Communications Chair, is an internal medicine physician in Seattle, WA. He is a primary care provider at the Healthpoint Community Health Center in Kent, WA.  In 2007 he spent 6 months in Santa Marta, El Salvador as a DGH volunteer.  His current focus is on the environmental movement in El Salvador, which has been working to prevent environmental harm from international mining.  He is also interested in exploring the community-level effects of mining in the context of international trade policy.  His interests include community medicine, psychosocial medicine, motivational interviewing, and social determinants of health.  (Board Term: 2015-2018)


Linnea Capps, MD, MPH, Registrar, former DGH President, is a physician and site coordinator for the Chiapas project.  Prior to 2011, she was the Associate Director of the Department of Medicine at Harlem Hospital and also Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Columbia University in New York City. She is now a member of the faculty of the Residency Program in Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY.  She lived in El Salvador from 1986-1987 doing volunteer health work and spent 1998 working in the DGH project in Chiapas, Mexico. Linnea returns to Chiapas regularly. As part of her position at Montefiore Hospital, she will also be working with the new Global Health Fellowship which includes working in the DGH project in Kisoro, Uganda.  (Board Term: 2014-2017)


Ajantha Attaluri, Development and Finance Chair, is an Applications Engineer at a facilities management software company, by profession. Born and brought up in a coastal city called Visakhapatnam in South India, she was raised by communist grandparents, parents and their close-knit family friends. She strongly believes that access to real food, clean water, safe shelter and health care is the most basic human right. Her association with DGH began when a family friend made the introduction to "one of the most transparent organizations I've ever worked with" and owes it to the friend, rest of the DGH crew & partner communities for constant inspiration. Ajantha has been working on the DGH website since 2009 and works closely with the Communications team and Treasurer. In addition, she does community outreach and FUNd-raising. In 2012, she led organizing efforts for the 17th Annual General Assembly for DGH at Simmons College in Boston, MA, her home base, which has a wonderful group of DGH friends. (Board Term: 2014-2017)


Colleen Lynch, MD, International Volunteer Committee Chair, is a National Research Service Award Fellow in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York. Her research currently focuses on novel primary care delivery models for patients with multiple medical comorbidities and psychosocial complexity. She practices primary care in an urban underserved clinic, treats patients for Hepatitis C in the liver clinic, and teaches residents and medical students through the medical school. During the year after the completion of her Internal Medicine residency at the University of California San Francisco, she spent six months as a DGH volunteer in Santa Marta, El Salvador, working on community education on chronic disease and womens' health. Since then, she has been a member of the International Volunteer Committee. She joined the board in 2014. (Board term: 2014-2017)


Jyoti Puvvula MD, MPH, Local Volunteer and Human Rights and Advocacy Co Chair, is Associate Clinical Professor at the Harbor-UCLA Department of Family Medicine and Geffen UCLA School of Medicine. She directs the community medicine curriculum there with focus on health & human rights, social injustice, poverty medicine. Her interests are also in underserved, maternal & child health and immigrant health. Co-founder of local group Doctors for Peace and Justice, she works on education and activism surrounding issues of war and human rights as well. She volunteers annually with DGH in Chiapas, Mexico. Other international work has been in India, Sri Lanka disaster relief, Guatemala and Mexico. (Board Term: 2014-2017)


Sarah Jane Smith, Local Volunteer and Human Rights and Advocacy Co-Chair, is a graduate student at UCLA working towards her MPH in Community Health Sciences and Masters in Latin American Studies. Prior to UCLA, she worked as a Reproductive Health Specialist for four years. She has two BA degrees from the UCSC in Feminist Studies and Community Studies. For the last 15 years she has been engaged in social justice work in a variety of capacities. In LA, Sarah Jane is engaged in a variety of community­ based projects focused on the social determinants of health with a particular focus on reproductive health and justice and undocumented workers right to health. For the last two years she has been involved with DGH in a variety of ways: as an alternate board member; giving presentations at local universities on Liberation Medicine and the work of DGH; raising emergency funds for CoCoSI; as a community liaison to Santa Marta; and increasing DGHs’ social media presence. (Board Term: 2015-2018)


Lanny Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H, Liberation Medicine Counsel & President's Council of Honor Member, Lanny Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H, FACP, Liberation Medicine Counsel & President's Council of Honor Member, is the founding president of DGH, and is Global Community Health Advisor in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School, and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Family & Social Medicine. After 12 years as a practicing community health physician in the South Bronx, he now lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, and continues as a clinician-educator in primary care. For six and a half years (1992-8), Lanny served as the volunteer Coordinator of the Salvadoran Mission of "Médecins du Monde-France" (Physicians of the World-France) in Morazán, El Salvador (a program using "health as reconciliation" and responsible for "building health where the peace is new" through community health promoters, day care centers, women's rights programs, clinic-schools, a bridge and other means). From that experience, he recognized the need for an organization like Doctors for Global Health and also pioneered the concept of Liberation Medicine (the conscious, conscientious use of health to promote social justice and human dignity). He has also helped found and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Social Medicine, www.socialmedicine.info, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published in Spanish and English serving the diverse international community of people working in social medicine and health activism. (Board Term: 2016-2019)


Michéle Brothers, MIA, Arts Chair, DGH Europe Liason, who is Franco American, arrived in Paris in 1985 from her hometown of New York, where she had worked with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). She was manager of International Development at Médecins du Monde in Paris and the MDM representative in New York with the U.S delegation during 2000-01. Michéle founded and manages International Connections, a small consulting group based in Paris. She received degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a MIA from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in NY. She is a founding member of Women in Film France and is on the board of AARO (Association of American Residents Overseas). Michéle, who has previously been a DGH Advisory Council member, is particularly interested in DGH's whole approach and the use of the arts to reach out, exchange ideas with and inform populations about health and human rights concerns. (Board Term: 2014-2017)


Daniel Bausch, MD, MPH&TM, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. He is a physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases with a master's degree in public health and tropical medicine. Dan specializes in tropical viruses and has extensive experience in research, outbreak control, community health development, and medical training in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia. He also has a keen interest in the role of the scientist in promoting health and human rights. (Board Term: 2015-2018)


Jennifer Kasper, MD, MPH, FAAP, is an Assistant Pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, an Instructor at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Pediatrician at the Chelsea HealthCare Center, where she cares for Latino immigrant families. She is Chair of the HMS Faculty Advisory Committee on Global Health. Jennifer has been actively involved with Doctors for Global Health since 1996 when she served as a volunteer pediatrician and field coordinator in rural El Salvador. She has worked in Honduras, Nicaragua, India, Chiapas (Mexico), Mozambique, Uganda and Haiti. In Mozambique, she was Interim Country Director, HIV/AIDS Program Manager and Pediatric HIV Technical Advisor with Health Alliance International. Jennifer has published articles and book chapters on the human rights of children, child poverty, immigrants and hunger, child labor, pediatric HIV/AIDS, developing a global health career, and human resource constraints in sub-Saharan Africa. She has been a contributing author to the following books: Rights-Based Approaches to Public Health; Comrades in Health: U.S. Health Internationalists, Abroad and at Home; Building Partnerships in the Americas: A Guide for Global Health Workers. She is also a co-editor of MGHfC Handbook for Pediatric Global Health. (Board Term: 2015-2018)


Elliot Trester, MD, is a family physician in a private office in Austin, Texas.  He has always been interested in places and organizations trying to make changes for the better in their societies.  After years of reading the DGH Reporter, and inspired by the idea of offering assistance for people who ask for it (and are very specific in their needs), combined with a desire to work in a model of accompaniment, he decided to volunteer in Estancia, El Salvador in 2004.  He continues to do telephone rounds with volunteers in El Salvador, and he also shares his volunteer work as well as the DGH mission and principles with medical students whom he mentors in his office practice.  As a board member, he hopes to bring his experience and skills to work with DGH in new directions, as well as recruit Texans to do DGH accompaniment work at home and abroad.  (Board Term:  2016-2019)


Joe Shortall is a second year student of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Still School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. (SOMA) In 2007, he spent several months providing emergency humanitarian aid to migrants in the Arizona-Sonora Desert as a member of No More Deaths; his experiences there led him to change his career towards medicine. As a DGH member since 2011, he was selected for the 2013 Sandy Kemp Scholarship. He also spent this May with DGH’s sister community of Primeros Pasos in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. There, he provided health education services to combat high rates of parasitic infection. Joe practices Krav Maga and has keen interests in Latino culture along with family medicine, the social determinants of health and public policy (Board term: 2016-2019).


Anna Landau, MD, was first introduced to DGH in 2005 as a Sandy Kemp scholar for our General Assembly in NYC. She was reintroduced to DGH during her family medicine residency at Harbor­ UCLA. This year she will be starting her UCSF HEAL Initiative Fellowship, focused on health equity and delivery, and will be spending the next two years working in Tuba City on the Navajo Nation and with Last Mile Health in Liberia to help strengthen local infrastructure with a focus on maternal and child health issues. (Board Term: 2016-2019)


Elvis Nataren, joins us from one of our partner communities, Santa Marta, El Salvador. Over the last 10 years he has worked on solidarity and emancipation movements with Cuba and Palestine, and has also been developing an organic agriculture movement, including an educational farm to teach this trade to community members in Santa Marta. He is also involved with various youth education programs in Santa Marta. (Board Term: 2016-2019)