OUR TEAM

Dr. Wamai is from Nyeri County, Kenya, but now splits his time between his research in Kenya and his teaching at Northeastern University. He has 20 years of research experience in global health. Since 2011, he has spearheaded VL efforts in East Pokot. He has participated in numerous policy, strategic and technical meetings with MOH, WHO and the key VL partners in Kenya and discussed the VL work in various national, regional and global forums and with scientists in the field from diagnostics and drug discovery and development. He has led the establishment of the TERMES Center in Chemolingot with a goal to develop a center for excellence in VL in the region.

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Dr. Richard Wamai, PhD

Team Lead

Dr. Wang’ombe is a professor of economics at the UON-SPH where he has worked since 1984. He was Chairman of the SPH from 1995 to 2001 and has served on national and international initiatives and bodies. He is a member of the MOH NTD Working Group and has provided leadership in proposal development to fundraise for project activities. He provides leadership in all aspects of project implementation and is a central figure in national policy. Professor Wang’ombe has worked on research projects in Kenya spanning HIV/AIDS, health systems, non-communicable diseases and NTDs for more than 10 years.

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Dr. Joseph Wang'ombe, PhD

Project Director

Mr. Atuko served as the first Baringo County Executive Commissioner for Health (CEC) during the project's founding. Currently, he is Director of Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and a public health consultant with United Nations and WHO. He has been a leader in the MENTOR Initiative, the Kenya Red Cross, and Aga Khan Foundation. During his term as the Baringo CEC, Atuko expanded health access and advocated for support of VL activities. He organized County level meetings between many stakeholders. He has provided technical advice and supervision during the construction and renovation of the VL ward and laboratory at Chemolingot Hospital and the establishment of the TERMES Center. 

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Moses Atuko, MPH

Technical Advisor

Ms. Nyakundi has managed the NEU-UON VL project since its founding in 2011. She has coordinated and managed all projects led by Professors Wamai and Wang’ombe in Kenya since 2010. Her basic training as a social worker with an advanced degree in public health has the trans-disciplinary advantage of applying public health tools and skills to social issues. She has supervised implementation of all project activities and is the liaison for project partners at country, county and sub-county levels. She is a member of the National Leishmaniasis Technical Working Group. She has been instrumental in designing VL posters and fliers for use by CHVs to conduct health education in the community, which was adapted by the MOH to mark the 2014 World Health Day.

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Hellen Nyakundi, MPH

Project Manager

Mr. Kitondo has been with the NEU-UON Collaboration in the Baringo/East Pokot VL project for four years supporting field activities, following up with health facilities and project personnel in the field on supplies, needs and status on the ground as well as data collection and reporting through DHIS2. He has been trained by the WHO in DHIS2 management. He has extensive field experience and engagement in all parts of the VL Baringo zones and is well-known by all health facilities and CHVs. He will continue to play these vital roles, support the project data systems and assist the Project team in all other areas.

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Mwatela Kitondo, BSc

Data Manager

Mr. Plilan is the MOH district community health strategy focal person for East Pokot. He is head organizer for the Kaperur Community Based Organization (CBO). For the past 10 years, the CBO has worked in East Pokot and responded to the lack of water and sanitation, weak education systems, gender decimation and retrogressive cultural practices. Due to limited opportunity for education (especially for girls), the CBO has advocated for enrollment of girls in schools and elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM). Through the CBO, Elijah provides critical field-related logistical support including recruitment and mobilization of CHVs to support the integrated mobile screenings, active case finding and patients follow-ups.

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Elijah Plilan

Social and Community Organizer

Ms. Grifferty is a magna cum laude graduate of the Northeastern University Honors College with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. She grew up in Kazakhstan, Georgia, Senegal, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates. Throughout her undergraduate career, Grace conducted five years of immunology-oncology research at Harvard Medical School, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Jounce Therapeutics. Grace joined the Global Health Initiative at Northeastern University in the Fall of 2014. For the last six years, she has supported the Visceral Leishmaniasis project in East Pokot, Kenya by studying primary literature, writing grants, conducting analyses on data collected from the project, presenting this research at numerous conferences, and developing this website. After winning a research grant, Grace was able to travel to East Pokot in December 2017 to conduct hands-on research in the field.

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Grace Grifferty

Research Associate

Ms. Orriols studied Behavioral Neuroscience and History at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where she met Dr. Wamai. Adrienne has been a part of the ACCIH team since 2017, conducting research with the team throughout her undergraduate career and after. Alongside fellow student Grace Grifferty, Adrienne was able to travel to Baringo County in Kenya and work directly with the ACCIH team in educating and treating patients of East Pokot. Since then, she has taken part in preparing and sharing collected data on behalf of the ACCIH at numerous conferences.

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Adrienne Orriols

Research Associate

Mr. Shirley is a medical student at Harvard Medical School, where he serves as the HMS representative to the Harvard Graduate Council and as a leader in several student organizations. During his undergrad at Northeastern University, he studied access to surgical care and capacity in Baringo County, Kenya. He has built and managed websites for two student organizations in which he served as a leader, including NUGHI, a global health group that organizes an annual conference for students and leaders, builds relationships, and creates opportunities. Hugh is passionate about a career focused on serving and uplifting people living in underserved communities around the world.

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Hugh Shirley

Research Associate

Sarah Weihl is a 5th year student at Northeastern studying Human Services, Global Health, and International Affairs. Sarah began working with Dr. Wamai as a teaching assistant in Fall 2020 and joined his research project in Spring 2021. Sarah is currently working in Kenya for 5 months to complete her final co-op at the TERMES Center in Baringo and get firsthand experience with the research project and hospital. Alongside her coworker Catherine, Sarah is leading independent research studies on VL, Snakebite, and health systems in East Pokot.

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Sarah Weihl

Research Associate

Catherine Wenger is in her 5th year at Northeastern, studying International Affairs, Global Health, and Biology. She previously completed co-ops at Mass General Brigham IRB and the Fishell Lab at Harvard Medical School and has joined the ACCIH team at the TERMES Center in Kenya for her final co-op. There she is supporting Chemolingot hospital, field research activities, and the Visceral Leishmaniasis, Trachoma, and Snakebite programs. She and her co-worker, Sarah, are leading independent research studies on VL, Snakebite, and health systems in East Pokot. 

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Catherine Wenger

Research Associate