Board of Directors

 

France Kathleen 248-2.jpg Marty Dewees is Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Vermont Department of Social Work. Marty received a master’s degree in counseling in 1974 and completed a master’s degree in social work in 1985 from Adelphi University’s Vermont-based program. She became a staff social worker at Vermont State Hospital in 1985 and stayed until 1988 when she became clinical supervisor for Spectrum, Inc., a youth agency in Burlington, VT. Beginning her doctoral studies at SUNY Albany in 1990, she returned to the State Hospital to be Chief of Social Work Services for the following five years. When she completed her PhD she joined the University of Vermont faculty in the Department of Social Work. Her scholarly interests remain closely related to mental health, disability practice, global human rights, contemporary theory, and the interface of the mental health system and the domestic and sexual violence system.  At UVM she taught generalist practice, mental health, assessment, and interdisciplinary practice. She is author of varied book reviews, book chapters, juried journal articles, and Contemporary Social Work Practice, published in 2006, a textbook designed for senior undergraduate and first-year graduate students in clinical practice. She lives in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont with her husband and frequently receives her four children, their spouses, and her five grandchildren. Marty served as Secretary of the Board of Directors 2011 to 2013.

IMG_0972.JPG Johanna B. Fine, JD, MIA, is the Legal Adviser and Manager of Projects and Operations at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Her work focuses on assisting the Global Legal Program director to administer and manage the program, implement the strategic plan and the monitoring and evaluation plan, and implement institutional priorities. During her time at the firm, she conducted extensive pro bono work for the Center, including researching and drafting the Center’s fact-finding report At Risk: Rights Violations of HIV-Positive Women in Kenyan Health Facilities and preparing advocacy letters to regional human rights bodies and UN Special Procedures. Her previous work experience includes the Carter Center, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya. Johanna graduated from Columbia University’s School of Law and School of International and Public Affairs with a joint J.D./Master of International Affairs. She has a B.A. from Emory University where she studied French and International Affairs and spent one year studying political science in France.

Justine FonteJustine Fonte, M.Ed, MPH, is the School Health Coordinator at The Dalton School, a K-12 independent school in Manhattan. A teacher by trade, she has been remotely managing an after school reading and math Learning Center in her father’s hometown province of Romblon, Philippines since 2009. After her teaching experience as a Teach For America Corps member in Hawai`i, Justine pursued a career path in public health when witnessing the effects of health disparities impacting students’ academic achievement in her middle school classrooms. Passionate about sexual and reproductive health in the Philippines, Justine worked with the Philippine Center for Population & Development evaluating the Department of Education’s Adolescent Reproductive Health curriculum as a visiting researcher at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati.

Stateside, she has created comprehensive sexuality education curricula for two schools in New York City and has established an extensive health program for students in grades 4-12 at Dalton consisting of substance use, sexual health, nutrition, and mental health issues. Justine holds a B.A. in Psychology from University of California, San Diego, a Master’s in Education from University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University.

jenniferJennifer Gachiri, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is a senior associate in the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP.  Her broad practice involves securities fraud litigation, regulatory investigations, FINRA arbitrations, and white collar criminal defense.  She also regularly represents indigent criminal defendants, in plea hearings and trials, as co-counsel with the Bronx Defenders.  Prior to law school, Jennifer received her B.A., with honors, and the Alice Paul Award, from the University of Pennsylvania.  Following law school, Jennifer clerked for Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and for Judge Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  She is a member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys, an Executive Member of the Council of Urban Professionals, and Secretary of the Roots of Health Board of Directors.

SH1.jpg Sabrina Hermosilla, MIA, MPH, MS, is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University focusing on research methodologies in complex emergency situations.  Her international experience began during elementary school when she studied abroad in Germany.  During her studies at Colgate University in International Relations she had the opportunity to live and study in China, Russia, and Nepal.  After completing her BA studies she went on to serve with AmeriCorps in the South Bronx, New York as a high school English as a Second Language Program Coordinator and Teacher, successfully creating and ensuring the sustainability of the entire English as a Second Language program for immigrant students in the school.  In 2003, Sabrina returned to Chile to complete the requirements for her dual citizenship and gain more formal international program evaluation experience working with physically and mentally challenged children homes.  Her most recent studies at Columbia University (MIA, MPH) have cemented her dedication to working with underserved populations around the world, work that she continued through her research interests and programmatic work as Assistant Director of the Columbia University International Family AIDS Program.

DSC_1024.JPG Suneeta Kaimal is Deputy Director of the Revenue Watch Institute, a non-profit policy organization promoting transparent, accountable and effective management of natural resources for public benefit. Prior to joining Revenue Watch, Suneeta was founder of the New York office of the Brussels-based International Association for Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR International), the operational arm of a research program based at Harvard University. At HPCRI, Suneeta led the development of peace-building initiatives in partnership with the UN Peacebuilding Commission, directed research, and conducted policy assessment missions to countries like Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Nepal. Suneeta formerly worked at Human Rights Watch in the Legal and Policy Office and has held various consultancies with the UN, research institutions such as the National Human Rights Institute in Bangalore, and supporting civil society organizations. She has a B.A. from Duke University (where she was a Hart Fellow), and an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Suneeta is currently serving as President of the Board of Directors.

christine moranChristine Moran is a Director of Business Development at CBS Local Digital Media, a division of CBS Radio, which runs the digital operations for CBS’s 150+ owned and operated TV and radio stations across the U.S. In such capacity, Christine is involved with expanding CBS Local’s content licensing and distribution, audience development and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining CBS, Christine was an associate in the Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance practice in the New York office of White & Case LLP where she represented financial institutions, governmental lenders, and multinational corporations in project and asset finance transactions around the world ranging from the development of power plants to aircraft financings. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College (B.A. cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Economics), the London School of Economics and Political Science (MsC with merit in in European Politics & Governance), and Brooklyn Law School (J.D. cum laude). A fervent proponent of empowering women, Christine is excited to help grow Roots of Health’s community-based initiatives and reach.

keefe1Keefe Murren is a filmmaker and digital media professional specializing in messaging, content creation and online product development. As a filmmaker, Keefe has produced and directed two feature documentaries televised nationally in the United States. iThemba|Hope (2005) is a film about the incredible work of young activists in Durban South Africa fighting to gain access to HIV/AIDS treatment for all South Africans. August in the Empire State (2006) is a film about economic human rights and economic inequality in the United States. Both films had their premiere on Sundance Channel, a cable channel founded by the actor and activist Robert Redford. Keefe’s relationship with Sundance Channel continued with his work as director of the Digital Media Department where he developed online video delivery products, publications and led their digital marketing and social media content strategies. Keefe subsequently left Sundance Channel to join UNICEF’s communication department to manage their online content strategy and production.

Keefe has also worked as the Coordinator of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York and London and acted as a mentor to young filmmakers in underserved communities in New York City through Reel Works Teen Filmmaking program. Keefe currently works as an independent consultant in digital product development, content creation and strategic communication.

melissa-nibungco-1Melissa Nibungco is currently the Senior Manager, Grants Program, at New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ), a community teaching hospital located in Flushing, NY. Under her leadership, NYHQ’s Grants Program secures funds to support a wide range of innovative programs and services including primary care medical home transformation, patient navigation and palliative care. She will soon be leaving this post to join the Revenue Watch Institute as its Development Officer. Prior to NYHQ, Melissa spent over three years at the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA) as the organization’s principal writer and was responsible for all grant applications, reports, presentations and health care policy position papers. She has a B.S. in Anthropology and Biology from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and an M.A. in Medical Anthropology with distinction from Southern Methodist University. Her PhD research, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of International Education – Fulbright Program, focused on how gender intersects with the lived experience of disease (tuberculosis) in Navotas, Philippines.

Turkey _edit3.JPG Mae Podesta is currently an Associate with McKinsey & Company’s Mid Atlantic Office where she has worked primarily in the areas of strategy development, organization, and change management for large healthcare companies and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining McKinsey, Mae spent 5 years in Africa, working for the Clinton Foundation Health Initiative (CHAI), generating extensive experience designing and implementing global health programs. While at CHAI, Mae served as the West and Central Africa Regional Director, responsible for management of CHAI’s offices in 10 countries, including overseeing strategy design as well as programmatic, financial and human resources management. She also launched CHAI’s offices in Liberia, Ethiopia and Lesotho, where she fostered partnerships with each government and designed country-specific programs to facilitate the expansion of quality HIV treatment. Mae received a B.A. in economics and international relations from Wellesley College and her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Mae is currently serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors.

Stefanie K. Schmidt, JD, is an associate in the Business, Finance and Restructuring practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. At Weil, Stefanie is involved with several pro bono matters involving women and children who are in need of volunteer legal assistance. She participates in the VOLS Incarcerated Mothers Law Project counseling incarcerated mothers on Rikers Island with respect to their parental rights and child welfare issues, and works with the non-profit organization Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to represent unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. in understanding and protecting their rights in the context of their respective immigration proceedings. In law school, Stefanie was a member of the New York International Law Review and studied International Human Rights and children’s rights. She also spent a semester working at the United Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations where she drafted the UN protocol for reporting incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children by UN Peacekeepers. Stefanie has a B.A, cum laude, from Middlebury College in French and Political Science, with a minor in German, and spent time studying abroad at L’Université de Paris, La Sorbonne, in Paris and the Freie Universität in Berlin. She received her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. Stefanie is currently serving as Treasurer of the Board of Directors.

blanka-wolfeBlanka K. Wolfe is an Associate in the Finance and Bankruptcy practice group at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, where she represents domestic and international companies from a variety of industries in bankruptcy cases and creditors’ rights litigations. She is co-chair of her firm’s New York Women Attorney’s Group and is involved in various organizations in New York. She has a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in English and Sociology and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. Blanka was born in Poland and grew up in Canada, and is fluent in Polish. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Events Subcommittee, where she plans to put her planning and organizing skills to the good use.

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