Dr Irwin Merkatz: Director
Irwin R. Merkatz, MD, The Chella & Moise Safra Professor and University Chair at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center is Director of the Department's Global Women's Health Program. He established this program in 2007 when he was honored for his life-long service to the health care of women at a celebration held at the United Nations. Since that time, Dr. Merkatz supported initiatives designed to benefit the women of the Republic of Benin, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.
Lisa Nathan: Deputy Director
Lisa Nathan, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health, and is the Deputy Director of the Division of Global Women’s Health and Family Planning. Dr. Nathan first began working in Africa in 2000, and has since worked and consulted on initiatives in Kenya, Benin, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. Based in Rwanda since 2009, her work mainly focuses on maternal morbidity and mortality prevention. Initiated with the support of the U.S. Fulbright African Regional Research Program and a pilot grant through Einstein’s Global Health Center, Dr. Nathan’s work includes both research and service to the local community. She has established a maternity center and mobile reproductive health program serving over thirty local villages. In addition, Dr. Nathan has created a comprehensive clinical and simulation-based training program at Kibogora District Hospital and a youth-friendly sexual education program for secondary school students in the community. Einstein medical students and residents participate in clinical and research activities under Dr. Nathan’s supervision and mentorship.
In addition to her work in Africa, Dr. Nathan directs Einstein’s Medical Student Education in Global Women’s Health, which is a faculty-mentored program initiated with support from the Association for Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO). She also directs the Global Women’s Health Track for Einstein’s OB/GYN residents. She has previously served as guest examiner of obstetrics and gynecology at the National University of Rwanda’s Medical School. Dr. Nathan serves on the U.S. Fulbright West and Southern Africa Regional Review Committee and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for Einstein’s Global Health Center.
Dr. Peskin-Stolze is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health. She practices as a Generalist OB/GYN with concentrations in family planning and global health. Dr. Peskin first began working in Africa after college, when she lived in Ghana for a year, volunteering in a remote village clinic. The experience was transformative and has since shaped her career choices. She graduated from Einstein OB/GYN residency, during which, she was introduced to Kibogora, Rwanda. There, she engaged in exciting clinical work with Dr. Lisa Nathan, and developed a project geared towards teaching adolescents about reproductive and sexual health, while also reducing barriers to obtaining contraception and STI care. The classroom material yielded promising results. The challenges to improving global access for adolescents to the youth friendly services they deserve, continues to be a huge obstacle. The Needs Assessment aspect of the project was presented as a poster at FIGO 2012. Dr. Peskin-Stolze stayed on as faculty and works with Dr. Nathan in supervising Einstein’s Medical Student Education in Global Women’s Health and the Global Women’s Health Track for Einstein’s OB/GYN residents. She travels to Rwanda annually with both medical students and residents. On one such trip, the group trained rural nurses in recognizing abnormal labor and treating postpartum hemorrhage. Her areas of interest and research include adolescent reproductive health care, family planning, and maternal morbidity and mortality prevention.
Nerys Benfield MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health within the Family Planning Division in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Benfield’s research interests include the integration of contraceptive counseling, access, and distribution into medical care for high-risk women both domestically and internationally, uro-genital fistula, and clinical training and health technologies in low-resource settings.
Dr Benfield has worked in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for the past 4 years where she has developed an academic collaborative research and clinical training program in conjunction with HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma and Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. Eastern DRC has been embroiled in a regional war for much of the past 15 years, and even though the situation is somewhat stabilizing, the impact of the conflict can still be felt with a large refugee population, a very limited health care system and a significant history of sexual violence and obstetric complications like maternal mortality and obstetric fistula.
Our areas of research are diverse and include contraceptive intentions and access for women with genital fistula as well as their post-repair reintegration needs; the epidemiology of fistula in North Kivu; physical therapy for fistula; the epidemiology of sexual violence and illicit abortion in a population in conflict; the use of portable ultrasound in a low-resource settings; research education in north-south collaborations.
Kafui Demasio, MD, MPH, FACOG- Is a faculty member in the Dept of OB/GYN and Women’s Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University,CA, Fellowship training in Maternal Fetal Medicine Yale University, CT, and Masters in Public Health with concentration in Health Policy and Management, Columbia University, NY.
Her global health experience in Ghana has been humbling, exciting, and personally rewarding. As a Ghanaian, raised and educated in the United States, the opportunity to participate in medical global health in Ghana is beyond rewarding as it allows her to give back. The challenges are great, but provide the opportunity to impact countless lives if success is met. The people of Ghana are forever appreciative, pleasant and welcoming making it more urgent to improve the health services.
Dr. Dragoman completed her residency training at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and came to New York in 2006 to pursue fellowship training in Family Planning and a Master's in Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center. She joined the faculty at Einstein with a local mission to expand family planning resident training opportunities and patient care at Montefiore Medical Center and recently served as Director of the Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Family Planning. Dr. Dragoman has had opportunities to partner with Dr. Lisa Nathan globally in Kibogora, Rwanda to initiate training in uterine evacuation techniques for miscarriage management and education in evidence-based contraception. She plans to continue this collaboration to increase provider knowledge and women's access to contraceptive care through a number of initiatives at this site. Dr. Dragoman is currently working in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Organization.
Dr. Duvivier is an Einstein Associate Professor who had developed a very strong interest in international healthcare while a medical student at Einstein in the 1970’s and has continued to do so as a resident and active faculty member to this day. He has been working in Global Women’s Health for several decades here in the Bronx as well as in Haiti and in Guatemala, the two nations in our Western Hemisphere where girls and women have remained the most vulnerable and the most underserved in the world.
He believes that Safe, Healthy and Educated girls and women are the global solutions to most contemporary problems at home and abroad…for, to paraphrase the Pullitzer Prize winners N. Kristof and S. WuDunn, “the S.H.E. girls and women of the world hold half the sky of our interconnected, interdependent global village.”
He continues to advise, guide, and mentor Einstein students and residents interested in his GWH in Haiti (-for the AMHE Medical Relief Missions in Port-au-Prince; for the OMAT in Milot; for Grace Children Hospital and for the Haiti Medical Education Project…) and in Guatemala (-for the Berhhorst Clinic Foundation in Chimaltenango; for W.I.N.G.S-ALAS de Guate in Antigua). He would like to pursue his ongoing clinical, research and educational activities in these 2 countries with interested students and residents (focusing particularly on the HPV-VIAA-cryo screening programs and on the sterilization/contraception programs of tubal occlusion; insertions of IUD’s and subdermal implants)
Dr. Klatsky MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health. He specializes in Infertility and divides his time between the Divisions of Global Women’s Health and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. His international work for the division is focused on infertility in east Africa, as well as supporting the division’s ongoing projects on maternal mortality and cervical cancer prevention. His research spans clinical, epidemiologic and basic science work, and has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Klatsky has worked on human rights issues for a year with Burmese refugees in Thailand. As a medical student Dr. Klatsky founded Medical Students Making Impacts, which initiated and supported programs addressing malaria and HIV epidemics, in Nigeria and Tanzania.
Dr. Murokora Daniel is a consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Medical Director of the Uganda Women’s Health Initiative and also past president for the Association of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Uganda; www.sogc.org/aogu. He has been implementing cervical cancer prevention programs in Uganda and within the East African Region as a trainer and clinical supervisor. He is also involved in in-service training of health providers in emergency obstetric care. He has engaged in programs funded by WHO, PATH, UNFPA, Ipas, We-ACTx and FIGO among others. He has interests in cervical cancer prevention and maternal mortality reduction programs, as well as interventions aimed at strengthening health systems.
Marc Sklar MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health. For the past ten years Dr. Sklar has been engaged in a wide array of programs working on improving reproductive health in the developing world. Beginning in 2001, Dr. Sklar developed the first comprehensive cervical cancer screening program in rural Uganda. This work with the Rakai Health Science Program, led to important research on the efficacy of varying cervical cancer screening methods appropriate for limited resource settings. As a technical advisor working with Jhpiego, Dr. Sklar has worked in numerous sub-Saharan African countries, central Asia and Vietnam on programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality through improved training of physicians and midwives, as well as improving pre-service medical education in reproductive health. Most recently, Dr. Sklar developed and led the first training of providers in cervical cancer screening in Rwanda. He trained the first group of Rwandan national trainers who will be responsible for training providers for Rwanda’s national cervical cancer prevention program.
Dr. Tropper, who is leading our work in Ethiopia, is an experienced specialist in Maternal-Fetal-Medicine. Although she has done work in global health in other areas of Africa, she has worked primarily in rural Ethiopia during the last five years and directs that part of Einstein's program for Global Women's Health. She has developed close personal and professional relationships with several Ethiopian health care providers and administrators who have been highly supportive of our work there. Dr. Tropper has mentored fellows, residents and medical students from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who have participated in programs in Ethiopia. While we all learn a great deal from working in underdeveloped countries, Dr. Tropper feels strongly that there must be a commitment to work toward a change that will endure beyond the brief periods we spend abroad. She believes that one of the most effective ways for visiting medical personnel to have a positive impact is to provide education and training for local health care workers. In addition, there are many options for research as well in Ethiopia as medical training institutions there are eager to develop collaborative projects and to advance their scientific development.
Rodney L. Wright, MD, MS is currently the Director of HIV Programs and Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Since early in the HIV epidemic, Dr. Wright has been actively involved in research, education and treatment aimed at combating this disease. The biggest barrier to the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in many resource limited countries is the lack of adequate prenatal care. To this end, Dr. Wright has spent time in Ethiopia meeting with stakeholders and conducting research to help develop our programs there. Additionally, he has supervised the training of midwives in Southern Ethiopia in the use of partograms and has provided clinical consultation for infectious disease patients participating in our programs in Rwanda. Most recently, he participated in the Center for AIDS Research Sub-Saharan Africa conference held in Kampala Uganda. The purpose of this conference was to encourage African investigators to conduct HIV research. Dr. Wright currently serves as chair of the board of directors for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which provides medical care to over 125,000 patients in 17 countries and is also on the board of directors of the African Services Committee which operates four clinical sites in Ethiopia. He is currently facilitating the collaboration between Einstein researchers and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to develop an HIV specimen and data repository in Rwanda. Dr. Wright has just returned from a two-month stay in Butare, Rwanda, working under the auspices of the HRH program. He was one of the MFM Attendings assigned to the teaching hospital at the medical university in Butare. He worked one-on-one with the local faculty to strengthen their curriculum and training materials. In addition, he assisted in the direct training of medical students and residents in OBGYN.
Diana S Wolfe, MD MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Dr. Wolfe’s work in global health began locally when she volunteered as a bilingual pregnancy counselor in Escondido, California. She then started working in Africa in 1998 where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa. She was part of the national Maternal and Child Health Program. She worked as health educator in a remote village, Karangasso, located in the Sikasso region, with a birth assistant to develop health education for 7 local villages on subjects such as infant nutrition, prenatal care, family planning, and developing community health committees for each village. She also initiated a birth assistant training program with the head nurse of the nearest local health center that included training subjects such as management of postpartum hemorrhage, contraception, and first steps in obstetric emergencies.
During medical school, Dr. Wolfe worked on “the Assessment of the Knowledge of Women’s Health,” a project that initiated with the Bedoin community of Israel. She implemented the same pre and post-training test to the 7 Malian villages where she served in the Peace Corps as well as to several villages in the Peruvian Amazon.
Her most recent work in Africa was in Butare (Huye), Rwanda, serving as a MFM subspecialist in the Human Resources for Health (HRH) program, directed by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Rwanda.