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: 2017-2020)

 

Alex Luger, MD, Vice President, is an internal medicine physician in Tacoma, WA. He is a primary care provider at the Healthpoint Community Health Center in Kent, WA. As part of his primary care services, he provides Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid dependence with Suboxone (buprenorphine). In 2007 he spent 6 months in Santa Marta, El Salvador as a DGH volunteer. He is interested in the community-level effects of mining in the context of international trade policies, community medicine, psychosocial medicine, motivational interviewing, and social determinants of health.  (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 founding 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. From 1993 through 2016 she coordinated the Syracuse, NY - La Estancia Sister Community in rural El Salvador, organizing annual delegations and fundraising efforts for development projects. Shirley is a former teacher of immigrant adults learning English and an Early Childhood and Family Educator in a bilingual preschool program, and now retired from a more than 20 year position as a bilingual special education teacher of developmentally delayed Latino preschoolers in Syracuse, NY. She remains active in her local community, currently serving on the board of The Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice. (Board Term: 2016-2019)

 

Anna Landau, MD, Secretary, 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)

 

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: 2017-2020)

 

Sarah Jane Smith, MPH, MA, Communications Committee Co-Chair, Sarah Jane has more than 15 years of experience working on social justice issues in the areas of reproductive rights, racial justice, environmental advocacy, immigrant rights and worker health through programming, grassroots organizing, health education, and community capacity building. She is a recent graduate from UCLA where she completed her Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences and Masters in Latin American Studies. Prior to graduate school she worked at Planned Parenthood NorCal for 4 years as a Reproductive Health Specialist, providing comprehensive reproductive health services. She completed a double BA degree at UC Santa Cruz in Feminist Studies and Community Studies, part of which included six months of field research on infant and maternal mortality in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Sarah Jane was introduced to the work of Doctors for Global Health through her partner, Lorenzo, who is from one of DGH's partner communities - Santa Marta. She has since served on the board of directors, as co-chair to the Human Rights and Advocacy Committee, and currently serves as part of the Santa Marta liaison committee and co-chair of the Communications Committee. Sarah Jane's current work is focused on: Central American solidarity movement(s), the intersection of public health and immigrant rights, and addressing racism as a public health crisis. Sarah Jane also enjoys: teaching, reading, cooking, knitting, swimming in Lake Tahoe, traveling, and playing with her two puppies Tater and Tot. (Board Term: 2015-2018)

 

Rafaela Rodriguez, MSW, Communications Committee Co-Chair, grew up in Mexico City and moved to California as a teenager. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology. After graduation she took on an internship working and living in rural Uganda for six months. Here, she worked hand in hand with the community and helped develop income-generating activities for HIV+ orphans and their families, surveying their needs and goals and then translating that into action.  After Uganda, Rafaela worked in the Oakland School District in California where she provided emotional support to children and their families who had a hard time staying in school. These experiences pushed Rafaela towards obtaining her Masters in Social Welfare at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. During this time, Rafaela worked with undocumented immigrants who had been victims of  domestic violence and with foreign national human trafficking victims at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). Rafaela’s growing interests in working with Latin American communities drove her to work in Nicaragua during her summer. She collaborated with the UCLA BLUM Center and the Center for Demographic and Health Research in Leon, Nicaragua to investigate the current interventions and key stakeholders that are working to mitigate the rising teenage pregnancy statistics across the country. Upon graduation, Rafaela moved to Vermont to implement the first adaptation of the Fair Food Program from the tomato fields in Florida to the dairy industry in Vermont. The Fair Food program, started by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, monitors the tomato industry for human rights abuses in the fields. 

 
Rafaela learned about DGH through her colleague at UCLA, Sarah Jane Smith, who invited her to the regional assembly in Minnesota. As a social worker, Rafaela brings unique skills to the DGH board,  from interpersonal skills to facilitate one-on-one conversations to research skills that highlight the intersectionality between psychology, social relationships, and the environment. Rafaela hopes to increase her involvement in Latin American communities where her background as an immigrant and her education as a social worker will guide her towards creating effective positive change in communities abroad. (Board Term: 2017-2020)

 

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: 2017-2020)

 

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: 2017-2020)

 

Elvis Nataren, Local Volunteer and Human Rights and Advocacy Co Chair, 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)
 

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, DGH Europe Liason, Board Alternate, 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: 2017-2018)

 

Revery Barnes, MD, AAHIVS, Board Alternate, is a Family Medicine Physician and Primary Care HIV Fellow with the LA County Dept. of Health Services (LA DHS) located at the LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. Revery completed her medical school training at the Latin American School of Medicine (LASM or ELAM) in Havana, Cuba and residency at Harbor-UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program in Los Angeles, CA.

 
Born & raised in San Francisco, CA, Revery discovered her passion for medicine at the age of 17 while working for the Center for Young Women’s Development (now the Young Women’s Freedom Center), conducting direct street outreach in the Mission, Tenderloin, and Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhoods of San Francisco. As a Community Health Outreach Worker, she provided support to high-risk young women, and gained experience with a “harm-reduction” model for serving marginalized populations living or working on the street. Revery was awarded a full scholarship to study medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine (LASM) in Havana, Cuba in 2003. In 2010, following the massive earthquake in Haiti, Revery provided several months of medical service with the Cuban Henry Reeves International Medical Brigade. During residency, Revery served as a volunteer physician with Doctors for Global Health in Sept 2015, along with several other DGH physicians at Hospital San Carlos, in Chiapas Mexico, an indigenous community hospital serving the local Zotzil and Tzeltal communities. In Dec 2016, Revery had the humble honor of serving with the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council in solidarity with the indigenous water protectors at the #NODAPL resistance camps in North Dakota.
 
Revery has a special interest in integrative medicine, nutrition, and bridging the struggles of urban and global underserved/vulnerable populations most affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly, communities of color, LGBT communities, the undocumented, and those disproportionately affected by mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and reintegration into society after incarceration. She views medicine as a mechanism for social change, where true health is a reflection of the entire society, community and family as well as the individual. She believes that fighting oppression is central to the process of healing. It is important not only to identify the factors that cause disparities, but also to create tools that empower people to make change in their own communities. Revery applies the principles of liberation medicine in her daily practice and is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the dedicated team at Doctors for Global Health. (Board Term: 2017-2018)

 

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)

 

Mitchel Erickson, NP, 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)

 

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)

 

Margarita Loeza, MD, is family physician working at Venice Family Clinic. Since 2001, she has provided primary healthcare care to the underserved patients in Venice and teenagers at a school based clinic at Santa Monica High School. She is a clinical preceptor for medical students from Drew UCLA and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM).  As the Chief Medical information Office (CMIO), Dr. Loeza has worked on maintaining the electronic health. She is the faculty advisor for UCLA Flying Samaritans and the faculty advisor for Latino Medical Student Association for Drew/UCLA. Dr. Loeza is the Chief Information Officer (CIO), on the board of Alliance in Mentorship which supports MiMentor, and the Executive Board for Latino Physicians of California. Dr. Loeza is the oldest of five children. Born in Santa Monica, CA to Roberto and Graciela Loeza who came to California as adolescents. Her father was a gardener and her mother was a house cleaner. Finally, she is the mother of a 15-year-old boy. (Board Term: 2017-2020)

 

Shamsher Samra, MD, is a Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Harbor UCLA. He works on developing the Whole Person Care initiative in Los Angeles, a community health worker based program aimed at achieving health equity for vulnerable populations in LA county, with a focus on jail and prison reentry. He has an interest in applying the liberation medicine framework to his work with community based organizations on slum housing conditions in South LA, and migrant populations and deportees in Los Angeles and Tijuana. He has volunteered with DGH in El Salvador, Oaxaca, and Chiapas and researched inequities in World Bank water programs in India. (Board Term: 2017-2020)

 

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).