Strengthening health systems and services in the developing world

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Joyce V. Lyons, RN, Ed.D., PresidentEmail

Dr. Joyce Lyons is the President and founder of Initiatives Inc. Her education and experience in health care delivery, public health management and education was the starting point for Initiatives' focus on developing human and system capacity for service delivery. Her interest and technical focus is the development of management and operational systems to improve and maintain high-quality health services, particularly organizational and human capacity development. She has served as director for projects based in the US and in the developing world. Her tenure in India as the Director of the UNDP Regional Project addressing the Social and Economic Implications of HIV/AIDS was one of the early efforts of the development community to address the non-health issues surrounding the epidemic. As President, Dr. Lyons' organizational responsibilities include financial planning, business development, and contract oversight.

Dr. Lyons has written, edited and coauthored books, guidelines, training materials and standards to enhance the knowledge, understanding and practices of health care providers and health system managers. She has experience working in countries across the globe, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Donna Bjerregaard, M.S.W., C.P.H.Q, Senior Technical Advisor Email

Donna Bjerregaard, Initiatives’ Senior Technical Advisor, has 20 years’ experience providing technical support to NGOs and FBOs, government Ministries, community organizations and international organizations to improve planning and performance, identify best practices, and create system approaches to performance improvement. Ms. Bjerregaard has extensive experience in curriculum design, quality improvement, CHW assessment tools, organizational and program capacity assessments, training and community health promotion and is the author of a number of training manuals, position papers and handbooks. Currently she is using her international and US-based experience to manage CHW Central, an online Community of Practice for and about Community Health Workers (CHWs), providing resources and opportunities for sharing learning globally. She has lived and worked in India, Nigeria and Jordan and provided technical assistance in Africa, Asia and South America.

Nicole Dupré, M.A., Director of Finance and AdministrationEmail

As Initiatives' Director of Finance and Administration, Nicole Dupré has managed the business operations of the Boston office and provided targeted project management support in the areas of finance and administration since 2004. Her specific responsibilities include proposal and budget preparation; contract management; development and management of corporate financial systems; and personnel administration. Ms. Dupré has served as Task Order Manager for many of Initiatives’ IQC Task Orders, and has provided technical assistance to projects including the development of an NGO management handbook and advising new PEPFAR grantees on organization policies and procedures related to US government funding compliance issues.

Ms. Dupré's skills range from financial management to technical writing to systems administration. Before she joined Initiatives, Ms. Dupré worked as a professional engineer, including several years as firm partner, providing general company management and oversight. She also has varied experience in non-profit management, including a year in Rome, Italy, where she was the administrator for an American non-profit arts organization.

Rebecca Furth, Ph.D., Senior Technical AdvisorEmail

Rebecca Furth is a Senior Technical Advisor with Initiatives, providing technical support in human resources management, research, quality and performance improvement, organizational capacity building, and training for national health systems, NGOs and targeted HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programs. She has served as Task Manager and Principal Investigator for the Rwanda Human Resources Assessment for HIV/AIDS Services Scale-up conducted under Initiatives' sub-contract on QAP. She also directed the Zambia Performance-based Incentives Study and is the Task Manager for Initiatives' contribution to the HR component of the Ghana Quality Health Partnerships Project. Dr. Furth also provides technical assistance in performance improvement to Initiatives' staff in Ethiopia under the ESHE project and to staff in Zambia with the SHARe Project.

Prior to these activities, Dr. Furth worked with staff in the Zambia Integrated Health Programme (ZIHP) to implement a participatory quality improvement process with local NGOs and CBOs. Dr. Furth is a cultural anthropologist and trained VCT counselor. She speaks fluent French and Pular and has worked in Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Jordan, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Jackie McCarthy, B.A., Project AssistantEmail

As a Project Assistant with Initiatives, Jackie McCarthy supports the administrative and financial components of several projects. She also provides office management support at Initiatives' headquarters in Boston, is part of the team that manages the Community Health Worker website, chwcentral.org and provides event and conference planning support. Prior to joining the team at Initiatives, Ms. McCarthy served as a Spanish instructor with IES Language Institute and as an office and project manager for a Denver-based nonprofit public access television station and media education organization.

Ellen Cho, B.A., Project AssistantEmail

As Project Assistant, Ellen Cho provides administrative and accounting support to several of Initiatives' projects. Ms. Cho holds a dual degree in Sociology and Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College, with a focus on the history of ethnic and religious conflicts. As part of her studies, she traveled through parts of India to meet with several grassroots community-based organizations, researching how they had adapted the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence. Prior to joining Initiatives, Ms. Cho worked in the Division of Genetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital as the residency program coordinator and continuing medical education course administrator.

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