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 and Chair of the Board of Directors
Susanna Cohen, CNM, MSN, MPH – Curriculum Expert
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 Program Operations
Kimberly Calkins is a Research Coordinator and Commercialization Director at PRONTO International, coordinating PRONTO’s projects in Kenya, India, and Mexico, and oversees the PRONTOPack Project. 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, and she is a Certified Birth Doula. Kimberly joined PRONTO because she is passionate about low-resource sustainable solutions to improve maternal health worldwide.
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 W. Kibore, MBChB, MMed – Project Director
Dr. Minnie W. Kibore, MBChB, MMed (Pediatrics and Child Health) is the University of Washington (UW) program coordinator for the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program in Kenya, a collaborative partnership with the University of Nairobi that aims to develop a multidisciplinary program focused capacity building and strengthening of implementation science research in Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) in Kenya. Dr. Kibore also serves as the project director of the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) funded study that aims to study the impact of PRONTO training in emergency obstetric and newborn care on 24 hour neonatal mortality in Kisii County in Kenya. Dr. Kibore is also a member of the Technical Advisory Committee overseeing the implementation of the Community Based Maternal Newborn Health project in Kakamega County, Kenya. She serves in this committee in her capacity as the PRONTO Kenya program coordinator.
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.
Elizabeth Butrick, MSW, MPH – Project Advisor
Elizabeth Butrick, MSW MPH, is a Public Health Researcher with over ten years of experience implementing public health research in diverse international settings. She has spent the last 8 years focusing on maternal health in developing countries. Elizabeth is a PRONTO Project Advisor, and has played a key role in launching our newest project in Guatemala and planning for future work in India. Elizabeth joined PRONTO because she is committed to seeing interdisciplinary teams get high quality training that truly prepares them for neonatal and obstetric emergencies.
Solange Madriz, MA, MS - Academic Coordinator
Solange Madriz is an Academic Coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco. Before joining UCSF as an employee, she completed a master’s degree in Global Health Sciences there and a master’s degree in International Studies at the University of San Francisco. Solange oversees the implementation of PRONTO curriculum and data collection and analysis in rural Guatemala. Solange joined the team in August 2015 because she believes that simple and affordable solutions like the ones promoted by PRONTO have a big impact in the lives of mothers and babies in low-income countries.
Melissa Morgan, MD, MSc – Research Manager
Melissa Morgan is a Neonatology Fellow at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and completed medical school at the University of Texas-Houston and Pediatric Residency at UCSF. She also has a Master’s in Global Health Science from Oxford University. She works as a Research Manager, overseeing monitoring and evaluation for PRONTO’s work in India. Melissa has a long-standing passion for neonatal and maternal global health as well as experience with simulation-based training through NRP in the US and Helping Babies Breathe internationally, so she was enthusiastic to combine these interests through work with PRONTO.
Hilary Spindler, MPH – Senior Data Scientist
Hilary Spindler, received her MPH in the division of Biostatistics from Yale University. She has over ten years of experience implementing public health research and currently serves as a Senior Technical Advisor on surveillance and monitoring and evaluation of global HIV/AIDS prevention programs at the University of California San Francisco. She has a wide breadth of international public health experience and has worked in many countries including Botswana, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Russia, Tanzania, the Ukraine, and Zambia. Hilary joined the PRONTO India team in 2014 as a Senior Data Scientist. As an advocate for international public health and a mother of two young children, Hilary is passionate about providing quality care during childbirth to mothers and babies across the world. Hilary is eager to apply her background and skills to developing and implementing data simulation and training models to further the goals of PRONTO in India.
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.
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.
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.