Staff

Ana Langer – Director
The Women and Health Initiative is led by Dr. Ana Langer, a physician specializing in pediatrics and neonatology, and a reproductive health expert. She joined the Harvard School of Public Health in July 2010 as a Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Global Health and Population. Dr. Langer is respected worldwide as a leader in using research findings to influence policy and improve the overall quality of health care for women and families. For the past 25 years, she has been a leading researcher, programmer and advocate for the improvement of women’s health.

Dr. Langer has conducted and published extensively on maternal mortality; psychosocial support during pregnancy, labor, delivery and the post-partum period; quality of maternal health care, unsafe abortion,  emergency contraception; the introduction of evidence-based practices in maternal health services; and strategies to reinforce the reproductive health component in  health sector reform programs in developing countries. Read more…

Anne Austin – Deputy Director of Research & Education
aaustin@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-6943

Born in Indonesia to a Norwegian mother and American father, and raised in Nigeria, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia, Anne Austin brings a personal and professional global perspective to the Women and Health Initiative as the Deputy Director of Research and Education for the Maternal Health Task Force.

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.

Dr. Austin holds a BA from Emory University, a MPH from the Rollins School of Public Health, and a ScD in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health. She was named a Pritzker Fellow two years in a row.

Kate Bryant – Faculty Assistant
kbryant@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-7953

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.  Most recently, she worked at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 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.  Having completed a number of half and full marathons, she is particularly interested in female athletics, sports medicine, and nutrition.  Ms. Bryant completed her BA at Wake Forest University in 2008.

Jacquelyn Caglia – Deputy Director of Administration & Operations
jcaglia@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-7387

Jacquelyn Caglia joined the Women and Health Initiative in August 2011 where she 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 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing 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 to evaluate their health interventions and communicate about their work including the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy and Circle of Health International.

Ms. Caglia 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 Incorporated and in community outreach and case study development with the Montgomery Country Health Department in Pennsylvania. Ms. Caglia served with the Peace Corps 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 a MPH from Boston University. She is fluent in Spanish.

Alison Chatfield – Project Manager
achatfie@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-7724

Alison Chatfield joined the Women and Health Initiative in April 2013 as Project Manager of  the Initiative’s collaborations 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, strategically investing in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and 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 MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in International Affairs, with a focus on International Development and Anthropology, from George Washington University.

Jessica Christian – Project Assistant
jchrist@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-2267

Jess Christian joined the W&HI’s Maternal Health Task Force as project assistant in September 2013. A recent graduate of Brandeis University, Science Posse Foundation Scholar and Eli J. Segal  Citizenship Fellow, she majored in health science & social policy and women & gender studies, with a concentration in racial, ethnic, and gender disparities research. Through an award from the Brandeis India Initiative, 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+ women facing interpersonal violence. Ms. Christian also studied at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil, examining the effects of perceived racial discrimination on health outcomes of university students. 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. She is fluent in Gujarati and proficient in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, reading and exploring Boston.

Gennet Fantu – Senior Grants Manager
gfantu@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-7953

Gennet Fantu joined the Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at Harvard School of Public Health in June 2012 as the 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, Gennet spent two years in Ethiopia (her original home country) working for Fantu & Family Trading & Industry PLC serving as the Deputy General Manger.

Prior to that, Ms. Fantu worked as the Administrative Manager in the Cancer Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine (2007-2009) and in the Hematology and Oncology Section at Boston Medical Center as Grants and Contracts Specialist (2005-2007).

Gennet received her Masters of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard University Extension School in Management. She completed her undergraduate work at Kansas State University where she majored in Business Administration. Gennet enjoys running and outdoor activities. She has run the Chicago Marathon and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Andrea Goetschius – Graphics & Content Producer
goetschi@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-2281

Andrea Goetschius joined the Women and Health Initiative in May 2012 as graphics and content producer for the Maternal Health Task Force. Previously, she worked in communication for public health and educational organizations, including Ipas and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Andrea 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. Andrea holds a BFA in graphic design from Alfred University and has more than 10 years experience as a designer for print and web.

Annie Kearns – Project Manager
akearns@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-7230

Annie Kearns joined the Women & 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 W&HI’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 – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
tkendall@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-2276

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, having 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. Tamil 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.

Tamil’s doctoral research identified barriers to the implementation of 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 catalyzing the positive synergies of a bidirectional response to HIV and maternal health. Her post-doctoral research at the W&HI 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 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.

Tamil holds a BA in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Ottawa, an MA in Communication from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Anthropology and Health Sciences) from the University of British Columbia. During 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.

Kathleen McDonald – Project Manager
kmcdonal@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-2283

Kathleen McDonald joined the Women and Health Initiative in March 2012 as the Project Manager for the Hansen Project on Maternal and Child Health. Ms. McDonald previously managed an obstetric hemorrhage clinical trial in the Copperbelt of Zambia for the Safe Motherhood Program at the University of California San Francisco Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. During her time in Zambia, she coordinated project operations and logistics in the Copperbelt Province, working closely with frontline health workers, district and provincial health officials, and hospital administrators. Prior to this, Ms. McDonald mentored young refugee women in Seattle through the International Rescue Committee.

Ms. McDonald has a strong background in training and operations in the private sector and has held various global health positions, including survey design and administration in rural Kenya and monitoring and evaluating supply chain management of PMTCT drugs and testing kits in southern Zambia. 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 – Manager of the Knowledge Management System
kmitchel@hsph.harvard.edu | 617-432-2282

Kate Mitchell is the Manager of the Knowledge Management System for the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the Women and Health Initiative in January 2012 to manage the expansion and growth of the current MHTF knowledge management system.

From 2010-2011, Ms. Mitchell served as a Clinton Fellow with the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative in Jharkhand, India. During her time in India, she helped to design and facilitate workshops for frontline health workers and local organizations on community involvement in maternal and newborn health. Ms. Mitchell was interested in gaining a better understanding of community perceptions of Janani Suraksha Yojana, the national conditional cash transfer program that aims to increase institutional deliveries across India, and spent much of her time interviewing new mothers about their experiences with JSY. Ms. Mitchell shared photos, stories, and analysis of their experiences on various global health blogs.

Before heading to India, Ms. Mitchell worked on the knowledge management team of the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. In this role, she helped to launch the MHTF knowledge management system and managed the MHTF Blog, producing ongoing content, ranging from aggregation of news to original analysis, for the site. Ms. Mitchell also developed and maintained new partnerships, facilitated online dialogue among global health practitioners around specific maternal health issues, and coordinated a team of guest bloggers for the first Global Maternal Health Conference in Delhi.

Ms. Mitchell earned her MPH from Boston University. She completed her practicum in the Dominican Republic and Haiti where she produced a multimedia piece documenting the personal stories of Dominican and Haitian women who had experienced life-threatening barriers to quality health services in the DR. Ms. Mitchell holds a BA in International Relations, with a  focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, from Florida International University.

Ms. Mitchell is 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.

Ms. Nasshan is a graduate of Smith College with a B.A.  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.

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.

Mary Nell Wegner joined the Women and Health Initiative in November 2011 and serves as the Executive Director of the Maternal Health Task Force. She has spent the last 20 years working in international public health with a focus on gender, reproductive health, and maternity care.

Ms. Wegner 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 CT, 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. Ms. Wegner has a special interest in work with adolescents. In the last ten years, she has written and spoken on quality of care in labor and delivery, obstetric fistula prevention and treatment, mens’ roles in family planning, and reproductive health choices.

Ms. Wegner completed her BA at Yale in cultural anthropology, her EdM in international education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her MPH in public health at UCLA.