Celebrating 15 years of public health and microenterprise service to communities in rural Kenya

Previous Global Health Fellows


Since 2009, a Global Health Fellow has been working at Village HopeCore in Chogoria for six months to a year offering technical expertise and management skills to the health program. While contributing to the organization and the village, the fellows gains invaluable experience working with the community to promote health.

The current Global Health Fellows are: Anne Gildea and Angel Farrell. Their profiles can be found on the “Current Chogoria Staff” page.

Natasha Abadilla, 2014-2015

In July 2014, Natasha joined Village Hopecore as a Global Public Health Fellow after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology from Stanford University.  Natasha had previous global public health experience working with NGOs in Guatemala and the Philippines, and at HopeCore she managed the organization’s social media and communications platforms, assisted with monitoring and maintenance for the WASH and PPG programs, and helped to start the Mother-Child Wellness program . She also piloted and expanded the School-to-Community program, through which she strengthened relationships with HopeCore partner schools and educated 600+ students on topics like good hygiene.

Natasha and the Makuri Primary Health Club on one of her very last days teaching school-to-community lessons

Natasha and the Makuri Primary Health Club on one of her very last days teaching school-to-community lessons

After leaving HopeCore in June 2015, Natasha will be working with a public health social enterprise program in Nairobi while applying to medical school, and will begin medical school in the Fall of 2016.  HopeCore, Chogoria, and all its people will always have a place in her heart, and she knows she will always return to visit her co-workers and community members that have become very close friends.

Haylee Barbo, 2013-2014

Haylee began her tenure in July, eager to begin her career upon graduating with a Masters in Public Health, concentrating on global health and specifically epidemiology. Village HopeCore provided an excellent opportunity for her  begin her chosen career, not only did she receive hands on training everyday while working in the field to design, implement and supervise public health programs; she was also able to use her analytic schools to monitor, evaluate, and measure impact of these programs. Haylee worked to liaise with community leaders to strengthen linkages between HopeCore and local churches, schools, ministries, and other youth organizations. She was able to fundraise for HopeCore in order to support, sustain, and expand our programs. Lastly, she contributed in the short and long term to the establishment of standards as well as the realization of high-quality water sanitation, and hygiene practices in all of Eastern Kenya.

Drs Andrew Lindner and Anika Reynolds, February-July 2013

Doctors Andrew and Anika are UK trained medical doctors that worked as the public health fellows in the beginning of 2013. They were born in the East of England, Anika in Cambridge and Andrew in Norwich. They met at university in Brighton, on the south coast, whilst studying medicine and lived together there for 3 years. During their studies both travelled to Africa as part of a medical elective, an experience they relished. After Brighton they moved to London for a year where they worked in a busy hospital in the south east of the city. Towards the end of that year they got married in a field near Cambridge, before taking off on an adventure to Australia. They moved to Melbourne where they worked in a friendly Emergency Department for 18 months. During their time down under they met Dr Robyn Parker, an emergency medicine consultant with a keen interest in global health medicine. She had travelled with Dr Rasori, the medical director of HopeCore and a renowned global health lecturer, and recommended Andrew and Anika make contact as they were interested in returning to Africa. And so it goes through a mixture of people, movement, timing and fortune they ended up coming to HopeCore in February 2013 until July 2013 when they finally returned to the UK.

Anika and Andrew

Dr. Andrew and Dr. Anika

Currently, Andrew and Anika are back in Norwich, UK. Andrew is undergoing training to be an emergency medicine specialist, while Anika is half way through her training to be a general practitioner. Read about their accomplishments at HopeCore.

Stacy Gray, 2012

A graduate from University of Utah with a Masters in Public Health and concentration in global health, Stacey brought with her experience working in Ghana on a nutrition census and provided one-on-one support to Burmese refugees and expertise as a prevention counselor and educator for HIV/AIDS. Her enthusiasm earned her the local name “Kagwiria” meaning someone who makes people happy. Her knowledge, experience, and passion strengthened the school mobile clinics and community outreach programs significantly.

Stacy with local school child

Mitsuaki Hirai, 2011-2012

After graduating from a high school in Japan, he spent six years in the United States. He attended Soka University of America for his undergraduate study and received masters in public health at UCLA. During his time at HopeCore, he strengthened the health education provided at mobile clinics, established a water sanitation program at partner schools, and secured a relationship and funding from Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a youth sexual and reproductive health program. His contributions to the Chogoria community are immeasurable and the health program owes a debt of gratitude to his hard work and dedication. He is currently working towards a Doctorate in public health from George Washington University.

Mitsuaki returned to Chogoria in July 2014 to help support monitoring and evaluation activities. He wrote an impact assessment on our school mobile clinics, it was wonderful to have him back with us for a short time!

Mitsuaki and Liz with Kenyan nurse, Winjoy, picking up medications at the local district hospital.

Liz Applegate, 2010-2011

Liz greatly enjoyed her fourteen months living in Chogoria and gained invaluable experience in health and development. Liz is from Sacramento, California, graduated from Emory University in 2007 with degrees in psychology and women’s studies, and received a Masters in Public Health from UCLA in 2009. She is passionate about social justice, racial and gender equality, and sustainable agriculture. Working with Village HopeCore and living in rural Kenya was a dream come true for Liz and she now serves on the Board of Directors as the Assistant Medical Director. She is currently working at New York University as a Research Associate at the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research. Her favorite memory of working at HopeCore was teaching health education and being mobbed by (what felt like hundreds) of adorable school children.

Gretchen Wagner, 2010

Before coming to HopeCore, Gretchen had spent the past 13 years developing a strong foundation for her work in Social Justice both domestically and abroad in the fields of education and public health. Following over two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and trainer in Senegal, a MA in Dispute Resolution from the UMass, Boston and a MEd from Harvard University, Gretchen Wagner has applied the importance of an asset-based approach to development and reconciliation.  Ms. Wagner developed and ran a peer mediation program to improve school climate in Boston Public Schools where over 1,000 youth were trained and mentored to prevent violence and seek better understanding of disputes.  At Village HopeCore International in Kenya, she built and engaged in a foundation for their public health program where over 30 community groups of 10 individuals discussed matters of public health, specifically malaria awareness and prevention, and HIV prevention.  She continues to work with youth directly through Experiment in InternationalLiving to instill a better awareness and curiosity among youth about different cultures and ways of life.  She works as a consultant for family mediations and as a mediator trainer/coach and as a Research Assistant examining curriculum for youth to ameliorate their reading and comprehension levels, especially for students who are underperforming. Gretchen specializes in youth centered approaches to development and public health. Currently Gretchen is the program coordinator of the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition engaging with youth in community development and the research and development of better mental health and prevention practices specific for the Charlestown community in Boston. 

Previous Global Health Fellow

Gretchen Wagner

Cristin Weekley, 2009

Cristin was the inaugural Health Program Coordinator. She received her undergraduate degrees in Human Biology and Anthropological Sciences from Stanford University, and moved to Chogoria after graduation in 2009. Living and working in Kenya and helping implement the medical program for HopeCore was an invaluable learning experience for Cristin, and she loved her time working there. She is currently a research assistant at UCSF in San Francisco, and is applying for masters programs in public health, where she plans to study the effects of environmental change on the spread of infectious disease. She enjoys seeing the enormous progress that has been made at HopeCore, and hopes to one day return and visit the HopeCore family!

Cristin preparing for a malaria presentation