Ana Langer, Director
Ana Langer, MD, joined the Harvard School of Public Health as the leader of the Women and Health flagship initiative in 2010. For the previous five years, Dr. Langer served as the President of EngenderHealth, a leading international reproductive health organization working to improve the quality of health care in the world’s poorest communities. Prior to joining EngenderHealth, Dr. Langer served as the Population Council’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, overseeing reproductive health, family planning and HIV prevention programs and research in more than 10 countries. Prior to that, Dr. Langer was a special advisor to the Minister of Health in Mexico and, as Director of the Division of Research on Women and Children’s Health for the Mexican National Institute of Public Health, Dr. Langer led efforts to advance policies aimed at reducing maternal mortality and disability. Dr. Langer has published in more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as in the popular press, including the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and The Guardian. Dr. Langer sits on the World Health Organization’s Advisory Committee on Health Research and is the co-chair of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s International Medical Advisory Panel. Dr. Langer currently serves on several editorial boards, including those of The Lancet, the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and the WHO Reproductive Health Library. Dr. Langer earned her medical degree from the National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology. Originally from Argentina, she is fluent in Spanish, French and English and is proficient in Portuguese.
Mary Nell Wegner, Executive Director
Mary Nell Wegner did her undergraduate work in Cultural Anthropology (BA, Yale) and graduate work in International Education (EdM, Harvard) and public health (MPH, UCLA). She has spent the last 20 years working in international public health, with a focus on gender, reproductive health and maternity care. She has worked directly for donors (the Rockefeller Foundation, UNFPA and the Empower Foundation) as well as community-based and nonprofit organizations at both the local and global levels (Jubilee Refugee Camp, The White Mountain Apache Tribal Health Authority, The Women’s Dignity Project, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, The Margaret Sanger Center and EngenderHealth). She has worked with teams to help strengthen reproductive health programming in a variety of contexts in Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Ghana, Hong Kong, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and the US. She has a special interest in work with adolescents. In the last ten years, Ms. Wegner has written and spoken on maternal health in low-resource settings, including issues of quality of care in labor and delivery, obstetric fistula prevention and treatment, men’s roles in family planning and reproductive health choices.
Jacquelyn Caglia, Deputy Director of Administration & Operations
Jacquelyn Caglia, who joined the Women and Health Initiative in August 2011, manages several projects and assists with overall coordination of the W&HI as the Deputy Director of Administration and Operations. Before joining the W&HI, Ms. Caglia was Program Director at World Connect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and children in low-resource settings. Prior to this, Ms. Caglia worked with the Institute for Community Health as a researcher investigating how race, ethnicity, language and culture affect health and the quality of healthcare services. She has worked with many organizations addressing women’s health, including the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy and Circle of Health International, to evaluate their health interventions and communicate about their work. Ms. Caglia also has extensive experience in training development and grant writing and has held various positions focused on local and international health, including work in survey administration with John Snow, Inc., in community outreach and case study development with the Montgomery County Health Department in Pennsylvania, and with the Peace Corps, serving as a community health specialist in the Dominican Republic. Originally from Pennsylvania, with roots in community organizing and service learning, Ms. Caglia holds a BA in Biology and Psychology and an MPH from Boston University. She is fluent in Spanish.
Andrea Goetschius, Senior Communications Manager
Andrea Goetschius joined the Women and Health Initiative in May 2012. Previously, she worked in communication for public health and educational organizations, including Ipas and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Ms. Goetschius completed her MA in interdisciplinary health communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her research focused on the use of visual communications techniques to make reproductive health information more accessible for low-literacy audiences. Her case study on public relations strategies around football-related concussion won the grand prize in the 2011 Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition. Ms. Goetschius holds a BFA in graphic design from Alfred University and has more than 10 years experience as a designer for print and web.
Born in Indonesia to a Norwegian mother and an American father and raised in Nigeria, Kenya and Saudi Arabia, Anne Austin brings a personal and professional global perspective to the MHTF. She holds a BA from Emory University, an MPH from the Rollins School of Public Health and an ScD from the Harvard School of Public Health in Global Health and Population Studies. She was named a Pritzker Fellow two years in a row.
Dr. Austin has conducted extensive research in areas that make her exceptionally well suited to lead the MHTF’s innovative implementation research agenda on the quality of maternal health care. Her technical and analytical skills will enable the MHTF to contribute significantly to the global challenge of systematizing proven interventions to improve maternal health outcomes especially in high-burden settings. Among her studies, Dr. Austin has looked at maternal and child health trends in Egypt, analyzed global policy approaches to child nutrition, analyzed couple concordance on attitudes towards abortion and knowledge of abortion, and managed a unique CDC study on the prevention of malaria in pregnancy.
Kate Bryant joined the Harvard School of Public Health in December 2012 as Faculty Assistant to Dr. Ana Langer. She provides administrative support to both Dr. Langer and the Women and Health Initiative. Previously, she worked at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where, as Project Coordinator, she was involved primarily in event management and communications. Ms. Bryant has been interested in women’s health since high school, when she developed a passion for long-distance running. She has completed a number of half and full marathons and is particularly interested in female athletics, sports medicine and nutrition. Ms. Bryant completed her BA at Wake Forest University in 2008.
Alison Chatfield joined the Women and Health Initiative in April 2013 as Project Manager of the Initiative’s collaboration with the University of Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute. Prior to working at the W&HI, Ms. Chatfield was a global health systems consultant, advising on projects ranging from evaluating the use of mHealth to improve health service delivery, to strategically investing in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, to building a comprehensive approach to providing acceptable alternatives to child marriage. Ms. Chatfield has also served as a Clinton Fellow at KGVK, a social enterprise in Jharkhand, India, where she implemented a maternal health quality improvement project in collaboration with LifeSpring Hospitals that led to an increase in customer demand for institutional delivery services in targeted rural and tribal communities. Ms. Chatfield holds an M.Sc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. in International Affairs, with a focus on International Development and Anthropology, from George Washington University.
Jess Christian joined the Maternal Health Task Force as project assistant in September 2013. A recent graduate of Brandeis University and Science Posse Foundation Scholar, she majored in Health Science and Social Policy and Women & Gender studies, with a concentration in racial, ethnic and gender disparities research. Through her involvement with the Girl Effect initiative at Brandeis University, she worked closely with MILANA—an AIDS/HIV NGO in Bangalore, India—to create and implement age-appropriate sexual education workshops for children and adolescents. She also learned techniques for counseling HIV-positive women facing interpersonal violence. Ms. Christian completed a four- month study at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil on the effects of perceived racial discrimination on health outcomes of university students. She is fluent in Gujarati and proficient in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi. Ms. Christian volunteers with the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong initiative, facilitating workshops to combat teen dating violence, and the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, raising awareness on the intersection of race and gendered violence in the United States. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, reading and exploring Boston.
Gennet Fantu joined the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard School of Public Health in June 2012 as Senior Grants Manager. She provides financial and grants management expertise and leadership, overseeing all sponsored research administration for the Initiative. Before joining the W&HI, Ms. Fantu spent two years in Ethiopia (her original home country) working for Fantu & Family Trading & Industry PLC as Deputy General Manager.
Prior to that, Ms. Fantu worked as the Administrative Manager in the Cancer Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine (2007–2009) and as Grants and Contracts Specialist in the Hematology and Oncology Section at Boston Medical Center (2005-2007).
Ms. Fantu received her Masters of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard University Extension School in Management and completed her undergraduate work at Kansas State University, where she majored in Business Administration. Ms. Fantu enjoys running and outdoor activities. She has run the Chicago Marathon and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Annie Kearns joined the Women and Health Initiative as a student Research Assistant in September 2011, remaining in this role while she completed her MSc from the Department of Global Health and Population at HSPH. She became Project Manager of WHI’s project on antenatal and postnatal care beginning in September 2013. Before coming to Harvard, Ms. Kearns spent two years working with AED to increase access to medical journals for health care workers around the world. She has a strong research background, particularly pertaining to antenatal care and early childhood nutrition. As an undergraduate at Cornell University and later as a graduate student, Ms. Kearns spent several months looking at breastfeeding practices across Brazil, from the Northeast to the Amazon region.
Tamil Kendall joined the Women and Health Initiative as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in January 2013. She is a specialist in gender and HIV in Latin America and has worked as a researcher and advocate in the region for more than a decade. Her former institutional affiliations include the Population Council, UNFPA and the UNAIDS Collaborating Centre at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health. Ms. Kendall has also worked as a community-based researcher with civil society organizations and networks of people with HIV in both the global north and the global south.
Ms. Kendall’s doctoral research identified implementation barriers for prevention of vertical (mother-to-child) HIV transmission and the integration of sexual and reproductive health and HIV policies and service delivery in Mexico and other Latin American countries. She is particularly interested in the sexual and reproductive rights of HIV-positive women and in catalyzing the positive synergies of a bidirectional response to HIV and maternal health. Her postdoctoral research at the Women and Health Initiative will evaluate decision-maker perspectives and experiences of indigenous women and women with HIV vis-à-vis the use of freedom of information legislation and strategic litigation in order to increase access to the HIV and sexual and reproductive health services covered by Mexico’s Popular Health Insurance. This research will contribute to understanding how diverse, multilevel advocacy coalitions can improve transparency, accountability and the effective exercise of health rights in decentralized health systems.
Ms. Kendall holds a BA in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Ottawa, a MA in Communication from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Anthropology and Health Sciences) from the University of British Columbia. While working toward her doctoral degree, she was a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholar and a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar. Her postdoctoral research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Trudeau Foundation.
Rima Jolivet, who joined the Task Force in January 2013, is an expert coalition builder with depth and breadth of experience, including directing the Transforming Maternity Care Project: Setting the 2020 Vision for a High Quality, High Value Maternity Care System with more than US 100 stakeholders and building an international coalition to develop and promote Respectful Maternity Care: The Universal Rights of Childbearing Women. She is an excellent writer, organized, and dedicated to the cause.
Kathleen McDonald leads respectful care programs for the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the Initiative in March 2012 as the Project Manager for the Hansen Program on Maternal and Child Health and provides technical assistance on respectful maternity care to the Maternal Health Task Force. Previously, she managed an obstetric hemorrhage clinical trial in Zambia for the Safe Motherhood Program at the University of California San Francisco Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. With a strong background in management, training and operations in both the non-profit and private sectors, Ms. McDonald has worked closely with frontline health workers, administrators, and local and national health officials in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a MPH from Boston University, a Graduate Certificate in International Development from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Maryland.
Kate Mitchell joined the Maternal Health Task Force as Managing Editor of the Knowledge Management System in January 2012. From 2010–2011, she served as a Clinton Fellow in Jharkhand, India, where she helped to coordinate training for frontline health workers and community organizations. She also explored community perceptions of India’s cash transfer program, which aims to increase institutional deliveries—and shared photos and stories from the field on various global health blogs. Before heading to India, Ms. Mitchell worked on the first phase of the Maternal Health Task Force, helping to launch the MHTF Knowledge Management System, facilitating online dialogue among global health practitioners around specific maternal health issues, and producing ongoing content for the MHTF Blog. Ms. Mitchell earned her MPH from Boston University and completed her practicum in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where she produced a multimedia piece documenting the stories of Dominican and Haitian women who experienced life-threatening barriers to quality maternal health services. She holds a BA in International Relations, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, from Florida International University. Fluent in Spanish and a lover of yoga, she is fascinated by the intersection of public health and journalism—and is always on the lookout for new links between storytelling and community engagement and mobilization.
Abigail Nasshan joined the Women and Health Initiative’s Maternal Health Task Force as a project assistant in September 2013. Before joining the WHI, she worked with the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School where she focused in operations and academic event planning. Ms. Nasshan joins the Women and Health Initiative with a background in the nonprofit field having worked with the Global Women’s Health Initiative at Smith College, Love146, an anti-child trafficking organization in Connecticut, and with the Phoebe Lewis Leadership Program at Smith College where she was able to combine her love of nonprofit management with her passion for supporting women’s health and equality. She has traveled, worked, and volunteered in Central America, Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. In her spare time she trains for half marathons, including finishing the Boston Athletic Association Half-Marathon.
Ms. Nasshan is a graduate of Smith College with a BA in Government and Global South Development Studies with a concentration in Africa where her research focused primarily on the political economics of post-conflict regions and the changing role of women within those environments.
Natalie Ramm joined the Women and Health Initiative in October 2013 as a Communications Coordinator for the Maternal Health Task Force. Previously, she worked as an Editorial Assistant and Marketing Coordinator at Harvard Health Publications, where she managed social media and web content and created video promotions for books. Ms. Ramm completed her BA in English at Hendrix College with a focus in Women’s Literature in 2010. In her spare time she stays active by managing a book blog, contributing to ThoughtCatalog.com, volunteering at the Boston Book Festival and Big Sister Boston, attending Book Expo America, and doing lots of reading.
Hannah Ratcliffe joined the Women and Health Initiative in September 2011 as a student Research Assistant while completing her MSc in Global Health and Population at HSPH. In June 2013, she became a Project Manager for respectful maternity care projects at the Initiative. Ms. Ratcliffe has a strong background in research and program evaluation, particularly in the fields of maternal and child health. Before joining the Women and Health Initiative, Ms. Ratcliffe worked on a variety of maternal health projects and program evaluations in Ghana, Bangladesh, and the United States, and also spent two years as a Research Assistant at Harvard Medical School. In addition to her MSc, Ms. Ratcliffe holds a BA in Biology from Williams College.