Rita Bacho

Rita Bacho is originally from the Upper West Region, Wa, Ghana. She lived, schooled and worked in Ghana for over 27 years. She earned a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University for Development Studies in Ghana, she earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of New England. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She worked at Tamale Teaching Hospital for 3 years as a General Practitioner. She worked in various departments at Tamale Teaching Hospital including pediatrics and public health.

Rita is very passionate about helping poor and marginalized communities access health resources as well as better resources to improve their overall quality of life. Her passion for helping people access better health and quality of life informed her decision to embark on several community health outreach programs including Hypertension, Diabetes, Tobacco, Guinea worm, Obesity, HIV/AIDS and Malaria control programs in Ghana and in Tennessee (USA).

Rita moved to Clarksville, TN, USA in 2015 where she decided to pursue a career in Public Health. Rita is currently a Project Coordinator at Providence Health and Services, Portland OR. Her passion for serving diverse populations in health and wellness, especially underserved and marginalized populations aligns with GRACE cares’ Mission, inspiring her to become a part of the many positive changes that GRACE cares is making across the globe.

Cindy entered the GRACE Cares world in 2016 to redesign their website. She eventually moved into supportive roles and took over the day-to-day financial operations as well as maintaining the website. She is proud to be part of this organization that supports others in their missions that help communities thrive.

Cindy holds a BA in Sociology, an AA in Computer Technology and is a website designer, a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and a yoga teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking and snowshoeing and spending time with her two little granddaughters.

 

Aziza joined the GRACE Cares team in 2020. As Program Coordinator, she supports the Executive Director and the Program Manager in coordinating meetings, tasks, and communication between the GRACE Cares team and our partners. She also works on creating documents and templates to help organize information and workflow within GRACE Cares as well as with partner projects.

As a licensed TESOL trainer with SIT Graduate Institute since 2017, Aziza is proud to have led teacher training workshops to support educators in Algeria and abroad. Aziza proudly founded her own business, Pathways Training Center, a quality training institution offering blended TESOL Courses as well as language courses and vocational training for personal and professional development.

She is delighted to use her skills and experience to contribute to GRACE Cares' impact with all the wonderful projects we are helping our partners to implement.

Austin joined GRACE Cares as an intern in 2021, helping with social media, then transitioned into his current role as a Communications Specialist. He operates GRACE Cares’ social media accounts. As a Communications Specialist, he makes sure there’s always engaging content on Instagram and Facebook.

Austin is proud to have graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMass Amherst in 2017 (Phi Beta Kappa). He has published short stories in print and online magazines in the US and abroad.

Most of Austin's extra time is spent writing fiction or playing basketball with the local Men’s League; as well as meeting new characters every day in the high school where he teaches.

Austin joined GRACE Cares as an intern in 2021, helping with social media, then transitioned into his current role as a Communications Specialist. He operates GRACE Cares’ social media accounts. As a Communications Specialist, he makes sure there’s always engaging content on Instagram and Facebook.

Austin is proud to have graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMass Amherst in 2017 (Phi Beta Kappa). He has published short stories in print and online magazines in the US and abroad.

Most of Austin's extra time is spent writing fiction or playing basketball with the local Men’s League; as well as meeting new characters every day in the high school where he teaches.

As Program Manager, Dorothee has provided support to project leaders and partners based on their goals and needs since 2022. She enjoys working in International Development and supporting people with ideas and a passion for changing their communities.

Over the years, she has had the pleasure of working with numerous organizations and in multiple roles in the US and abroad. She worked in International Development for nine years, led an advocacy coalition, worked with fire-affected communities in Northern California, organized communities for political/initiative-based work, and so much more.

When not working, Dorothee loves being outside, traveling, and exploring with her husband and 7-year-old son.

Lamia Lahrech joined the GRACE Cares team in August, 2018 as the Executive Director. Under her direction, GRACE Cares continues expand project engagement and refine the organization's processes.

Lamia holds a  PhD English Language and Literature “Trauma Studies” and is an  International Consultant.

Cherise Adjodha is a human development practitioner with 25 years of human rights and sustainable development experience, working with some of the world’s leading global agencies. She is building on her work through the application of advanced systems thinking and applied positive psychology. Currently she is engaged in emerging discussions and work on global catastrophic and existential risk, with a focus on  addressing what is being termed the ‘metacrisis’, with the Civilization Research Institute. Her technical skills include designing and conducting research, developing policy and programmes, developing and delivering training and providing quality assurance, technical support and advisory services on many areas of work including poverty reduction, gender equity, complex systems analysis and climate change mitigation and response.

Isabel is a bilingual professional with over 8 years of program and data management experience across sectors and industries. She earned a Masters in Quantitative Methods of the Social Sciences from CUNY’s Graduate Center and Bachelors degrees in Economics and Latin American Studies from the University of Miami. This formal education was informed by and is balanced with international experience in social impact organizations, where she’s been responsible for strategic program and measurement framework design, development of indicators and data collection channels, program execution and iteration, and all things analysis: data cleaning, statistical analysis, visualization, and communication of outcomes to diverse stakeholders. Outside of impact learning and measurement, Isabel is called by nature, conflict transformation, and creative exploration.

Noah Steinberg-Di Stefano is a seasoned humanitarian Program Manager with expertise in Cash and Voucher Assistance, Disaster Risk Reduction and food security programming. He has worked on emergency response, refugee support and early recovery projects throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, Jordan and East Africa. He has a MA Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University Heller School for Social policy and published a MA Thesis on Neuroscience frameworks for positive youth development and reducing violent extremism. Noah first connected with GRACE Cares in 2021 and has supported with fundraising and grant writing strategy for partners.

Over the past 10 years, Noah has worked for International NGOs such as Lutheran World Relief, Save the Children, Shelterbox, Malteser International and Global Communities, where he is currently the Senior Regional Manager for Latin America, supporting a portfolio of both humanitarian assistance and sustainable development projects. Noah has worked on both the program management and technical design side of projects as well as contributed to more grassroots fundraising and partnership development efforts. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, daughter Issolina and dog Zelda.

Suzanne AndrewWith 17 years of nonprofit and corporate leadership experience, followed by 15 years founding, growing and selling her own businesses, plus multiple volunteer leadership roles, Suzanne is a values driven leader who is passionate about making systems, structures and organizations perform better for all stakeholders.

Skilled in training and public speaking, Suzanne has developed and delivered hundreds of training classes, workshops and presentations. She excels at developing and implementing operations, projects and programs from the ground up. With a passion for change management, Suzanne has successfully led organizations thru IPO, reorganization, merger, rapid growth and sale.

Additionally, with a belief that creating healthy, successful vibrant organizations requires healthy, vibrant stakeholders, Suzanne offers the perspective of 20+ years experience as a yoga teacher and licensed massage therapist, including teaching and mentoring other alternative health care practitioners.

Meghan McClain Garcia was born in West Virginia and grew up moving every few years nationally and internationally with her family. Her early travels internationally inspired her interest in development and healthcare, leading her to study International Relations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a minor in chemistry and certificate in Spanish. She went on to obtain her Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

It was during her MPH studies in 2012 that she connected with GRACE Cares by way of volunteering with Project Hearts in the Dominican Republic to complete her master’s practicum. She helped design and implement their Community Health Leader (CHL) program that has been ongoing to the present day. After returning from the DR, she remained in contact with GRACE Cares and has served many roles in the organization both previously on the Board and as an employee working to strategically plan, coordinate and develop partner projects, write grants and lend her health expertise. Meghan also went on to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, graduating from Yale University’s FNP program in 2017. She completed a Family Nurse Practitioner Residency at Community Health Center, Inc (CHC) providing primary care in the safety net health setting.  She is currently completing a Fellowship with CHC’s Center for Key Populations integrating substance use treatment, HIV care, and care for other “key populations” into primary care. Meghan is passionate about GRACE Cares’s unique model supporting local heroes around the world to promote development projects at the grassroots level.

Dr. Zoe Kopp is originally from Tarrytown, New York. She has lived and worked throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. She received her PhD in Health Behavior from Union Institute and University in 2007 and her Master of Public Health in epidemiology and evaluation from Tulane University in 1987. In 1981 she founded North Florida Women’s Health and Counseling in Tallahassee, Florida, and was guest Lecturer at Florida State University. During 1987-1989 she was Clinical Services Officer for International Planned Parenthood Federation and led that organization’s development of clinical guidelines for reproductive health and quality of care initiatives. As Deputy Director for Primary Health Care for CARE International (1990 -1992) she guided health education programming and expanded HIV prevention activities in Asia and Africa. Dr. Kopp, as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) programs, authored several texts on Women’s Health/Urology and helped to establish the continuing education department for the Indian Medical Association. Zoe is retired from Pfizer, where she was Senior Director of Outcomes Research, leading international research teams and studies from 1996 until 2012. She and her husband currently reside in Vermont.

Philippe Elghouayel is an experienced managing director with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Skilled in international project management, Intercultural communication, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, and capacity development. Strong business development professional with a Diplome Sciences Politiques focused in Political Science – International Economy from Institut d’Etudes politiques de Paris.

Kasey Ochiltree joins the GRACE Cares Board from Boston, Massachusetts, where she is currently the Program Specialist for the Humanitarian Team at Oxfam America. Kasey graduated with her MA in International Peace Studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rica and her BA in Intercultural Studies with minors in Missions and Islamic Studies from Houghton College in Houghton, NY. Her growing area of focus with Oxfam is around Gender Justice and Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights. Kasey enjoys soccer, photography, and exploring the world. She is very excited for this opportunity to be a part of the GRACE Cares community.

Dean Gallea is a co-founding board member of GRACE Cares. A test engineer with Consumer Reports since 1974, Dean has provided mentorship, technical expertise and capacity building to GRACE Cares projects for over a decade. Dean continues to lead annual service tours in the Dominican Republic with Project Hearts. He is passionate about the transformative effect of technology, arts, health and education for GRACE Cares community partners..

Danielle Huffaker, MA, is a social scientist, community development practitioner, and communications professional. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Oslo, where her thesis research focused on what the Cosmovision of the Maya people of Guatemala can offer a transformative enactment of climate change adaptation. She has eight years of involvement in grassroots development projects in Indigenous communities in Guatemala, having lived in Guatemala from 2013-2017. She now lives at the Monastic Academy for the Preservation of Life on Earth (MAPLE), a training center for developing leaders able to confront global existential crises with wisdom, love, and power. She is excited to lead the board of GRACE Cares because she finds inspiration in the passionate service of local heroes serving their communities all around the world.

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