Dilys Walker is Obstetrician Gynecologist, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive at the University of California San Francisco and founding member of PRONTO International. Prior to joining UCSF, she worked at the University of Washington and was Associate Director for the Global Center for Adolescent and Womens’ Health. She also spent 11 years at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, where Dilys and her team developed this novel approach to emergency training in response to the local need to find a way to get provider teams to do what they need to do, when they need to do it, in response to an emergency to save a life. Dilys has lead PRONTO’s growth from Mexico to Guatemala, Kenya, and India. She reports a growing sense of both anxiety and excitement as the PRONTO strategy, based on highly realistic simulation, team-training and respectful care, continues to resonate on a local level, globally.
Board of Directors
Dilys Walker, MD – President
Susanna Cohen, CNM, MSN, MPH – Member
Susanna Cohen is a founding member of PRONTO International and specializes in curricular design, training material development and facilitator training. Susanna is a full-scope midwife, Assistant Professor and Director of the Nurse Midwifery and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Utah. She received her Bachelors of Science from UC Davis, her Masters of Science from UCSF, and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Utah. She collaborated with the PRONTO team in the creation of the PartoPantsTM- a low-cost birth simulator and the PRONTOPackTM. She is a leader the development of interprofessional training at the University of Utah, and low-tech, high-fidelity simulation globally. Susanna states that “Birthing PRONTO has been a labor of love and learning.”
Jen Fahey – Secretary
Jenifer Osorno Fahey, CNM, MSN, MSPH is a founding board member of PRONTO International. She earned a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. Jenifer also earned a M.S. in Public Health at Harvard University and a M.S. in Nursing (Midwifery) from Yale University and is currently a PhD student in Maternal and Child Health at the University of Maryland School of Pubic Health. She is currently Assistant Professor member at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) where in addition to faculty duties, she practices as a full-scope nurse midwife and also works as Director for the Center Director for the Maryland Advanced Perinatal Support Services and the Center for Outreach Medicine, Provider Awareness and Competency Training (COMPACT) – a center for simulation and other immersive training. Her research interests include breastfeeding, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, simulation, shoulder dystocia and patient safety. Jenifer was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico.
PRONTO International Staff
Heidi Breeze-Harris – Executive Director
With 20 years of leadership in the global NGO sector, Heidi has a proven track record of successfully growing organizations and programs. Her extensive program management experience includes planning, implementation, and monitoring of health and community development programs and projects in Africa; South, Southeast, and East Asia; Central America and the United States. Heidi has worked on provide maternal and child health programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, and Tanzania. Heidi joined PRONTO because caring for mothers and babies before, during, and after birth is beautiful, complex, and vital. Heidi has witnessed the power of well-trained health workers as they confidently provide life-saving care for mothers and infants. Heidi aims to bring PRONTO’s proven, culturally appropriate, innovative training to as many health workers as possible. Heidi received her BA in Anthropology and International Studies from The Evergreen State College and her MA in International Studies from the University of Washington. She holds certificates in International Crisis Negotiation and Non-Profit Executive Leadership, both from the UW.
Kimberly Calkins, MA – Director of Program Operations
Kimberly Calkins has spent over a decade working in maternal health in the global sector, and has worked at PRONTO International for over 5 years. She is PRONTO’s Director of Program Operations, overseeing PRONTO’s projects worldwide, and managing PRONTO’s curriculum and training development. She has a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training, with a focus on low-resource solutions to improve maternal health. Prior to joining PRONTO, Kimberly worked as a Certified Birth Doula, and lived in Nicaragua while working on a maternal health program.
Jessica Dyer, MPH – Program Director
Jessica Dyer received her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health with a special interest in using these skills to help improve maternal and child health worldwide. Over the last 8 years, she has accumulated a wide range of professional experience in public health programs internationally including work in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste. Jessica joined PRONTO International as a Program Manager in 2015 managing the implementation of PRONTO’s program in India. Jessica joined PRONTO because she is passionate about addressing critical health problems of women and children in resource limited settings.
Susan Glenn – Program Assistant
Susan Glenn joined PRONTO in 2016 as the Program Assistant. She is a graduate of the University of Washington where she studied Public Health and African Studies. Prior to joining PRONTO, Susan was a CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholar and a Bonderman Fellow. She is passionate about finding innovative solutions to global health issues in limited-resource settings and is excited to support PRONTO’s vision of making childbirth a safe experience for all mothers and babies.
Marisela Olvera Garcia, CD, MSc – Research Assistant, Project Coordinator and Trainer
Marisela Olvera Garcia, CD, MSc, is a Dental Surgeon, trained at the School of Dentistry at the University of Mexico and received a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Epidemiology from the National Institute of Public Health in Cuernavaca in 2011. She works with PRONTO performing statistical analysis on PRONTO project outcomes, as well as a project coordinator and PRONTO trainer.
Jimena Fritz, MD, MSc – Program Coordinator and Trainer
Jimena Fritz, MD, MSc is a physician and earned her medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 2008. She also earned a Masters in Health Sciences, with specialization in Epidemiology from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico in 2010. Since September of 2010, she has been working in the Division of Reproductive Health, in the Research Center for Population Health at the INSP, as the Project Manager of the PRONTO program. She is also one of PRONTO’s Training Facilitators on the Mexico team. Currently, Jimena Fritz is also a Doctoral student in Public Health & Science, Epidemiology at the INSP since 2011.
Minnie Kibore, MD, MPH – Regional Director, East Africa
Dr. Kibore, MD, MPH is a pediatrician and public health specialist with over 12 years’ experience working in pediatric health care and maternal neonatal and child health research and programs. She received her medical qualifications from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Dr. Kibore has been associated with PRONTO International since 2012 when PRONTO conducted its first training in Kenya. Since then Dr. Kibore has been instrumental in the growth of PRONTO in Kenya and the East African region, initially as a master trainer and program coordinator and now in her role as the Regional Director for East Africa.
Dr. Kibore also continues her role as a Master Trainer for PRONTO.
Edgar Kestler, MD, MSc – Principle Investigator
Edgar Kestler, M.D. MSc. is the Director of the Epidemiological Research Center in Sexual and Reproductive Health (CIESAR) in Guatemala and PRONTO’s Guatemalan Country project manager. The Center works closely with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health and specifically with the Reproductive Health National Program. WHO/Reproductive Health Program funded the Center during the first 10 years with a Long Institutional Development (LID grant). His main interest is the maternal mortality problem in developing countries focus in poor, indigenous and rural population. He was the national coordinator from the Baseline study in Maternal Mortality done in Guatemala during 2002. His work focuses on an intervention package to decrease maternal and perinatal mortality.
Seema Handu, Ph.D. - Country Director, India
After a long and successful career as a scientist and entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry, Seema offers her management, leadership, relationship-building, and organizational skills to nonprofits. She has worked extensively with several nonprofits on their global health-related programs and projects in India, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Ecuador. Seema believes in PRONTO’s vision of improving birth outcomes and improving quality of care for mothers and their babies. She is using her management and organizational skills to further the mission of PRONTO in India. She maintains a home in India and the US.
Amelia Christmas, M.Sc. Nursing - Obstetric and Neonatal Simulation Training Specialist
Amelia Christmas works on PRONTO International’s large collaborative implementation Master Nurse Midwife Training project in Bihar, India with CARE India, as PRONTO’s Simulation Expert in part of a Mobile Nurse Mentoring Team. She is a Nurse-Midwife and holds a Master’s degree in Nursing from Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. Before joining PRONTO, Amelia previously worked as a staff nurse in a large mission hospital and as a master mentor for CARE India, where she mentored nurse-midwives in government hospitals to provide a higher quality of and to help identify and manage complications relating to labor and delivery, in order to improve the very poor maternal health indicators in Bihar. Amelia joined PRONTO after being impressed at the tremendous increase in confidence in managing obstetric and neonatal emergencies after undergoing PRONTO simulation and team training as a participant in January 2014.
Rebecka Thananki, MSN.Ped, RN - Obstetrics and Neonatal Specialist
Rebecka is a nurse midwife, holding a Masters degree from Pavan College. Before joining PRONTO, she worked as a ICU charge nurse in Andhra Pradesh and for CARE India as a master mentor in their CEmONC mentoring program. Now with PRONTO, she works as the obstetrics and neonatal specialist, where she supports the nurse mentors in developing their technical and simulation skills. She is excited by PRONTO’s simulation techniques and is eager to use simulation to improve the health system of her birth place.
Manju Siju, B.Sc. Nursing - Research Simulation Video Analyst
Manju Siju is part of PRONTO International’s Mobile Nurse-Midwifery Mentoring Program in Bihar, India, working as a Research Simulation Video Analyst. She holds a Post-Basic Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Symbiosis College of Nursing in Pune, Maharashtra, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work from Sam Higginbottom Institute in Allahabad, India. Prior to her position with PRONTO, she worked as a Staff Nurse in N M Wadia, Institute of cardiology in Pune, India, as well as a Senior Staff Nurse in Batra Hospital and Medical Research Center, in New Delhi, and most recently as a Nurse Mentor for the Christian Medical Association in Bihar, India. Manju joined PRONTO because it helps her to connect with people in Bihar.
Renu Sharma, B.Sc. Nursing - Research Simulation Video Analyst
Renu Sharma is a Research Simulation Video Analyst with PRONTO International’s Mobile Nurse-Midwifery Mentoring program in Bihar, India. She holds a BSc in Nursing from The Army Institute of Nursing in Guwahati Assam, India. Prior to joining the PRONTO team, she worked for three years in Fortis Hospital in Kolkata and Paras HMRI in Bihar, India. Renu’s decision to join PRONTO was focused on the her desire to help improve maternal and neonatal care in the state of Bihar.
Rohit Srivastava, MBA - Simulation Video Coordinator and Administrative Assistant
Rohit Srivastava is PRONTO International’s Simulation Video Coordinator and Administrative Assistant in our Mobile Nurse-Midwifery Mentor Project in Bihar, India. He holds an MBA from NIMS University in Jaipur, India. Before joining PRONTO International, Rohit worked for two years as a Project Coordinator and in Technical Support for a Telecom Company in Bihar, India. Rohit joined PRONTO because PRONTO is involved in improving the quality of obstetric and neonatal care in Bihar, and as a citizen of Bihar, he is passionate about improving health and is honored to be a part of the project.
Karen Hays, DNP, CNM, ARNP
Karen Hays, DNP, CNM, ARNP, has been a nurse since 1986 and a midwife since 1992. She earned her BSN from Humboldt State University in California, and her MN and DNP from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her clinical experience in the U.S. includes working in home birth, small birth centers, and both community and high-risk hospitals. She is co-creator of and faculty in Bastyr University’s Maternal Child Health Systems graduate program. Karen has been involved in global health activities since 1988, serving as a consultant, educator, and practitioner in several countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She has worked alongside maternal-newborn care providers, educators, and policy-makers in over 2-dozen countries to promote high-quality midwifery and nursing education and practice, believing that healthcare providers in all settings deserve robust support in order to best serve their clientele. In addition to being a PRONTO International master trainer, Karen is an active volunteer with the American College of Nurse-Midwives (Disaster Caucus), Global Health Media Project, Health Leadership International, Medical Teams International, and her local Medical Reserve Corps.
Jen Gaines, CNM, DNP
Jennifer Gaines is a nurse-midwife who has trained with PRONTO in Mexico, Guatemala, India and Uganda. She works as a full scope nurse-midwife with a diverse population in Everett, Washington. Jennifer first heard about PRONTO as a graduate student at the University of Washington when she played the role of a patient during a simulation and was able to witness first-hand the effect of highly realistic simulations to help improve maternal care. Since then, she has been inspired by PRONTO’s ability to effect change in various settings. She has facilitated multiple PRONTO trainings and helped with curriculum development.