Who We Are

Directors

Kimberly Baltzell is the PI, founder, and Director of Global Action in Nursing (GAIN), and a Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at UCSF. In addition, she is the Director of Partnerships for UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences and a member of the UCSF Global Cancer Program. She works extensively in sub-Saharan Africa to support the development of nurse leaders. Dr. Baltzell’s research interests include malaria, non-malarial fevers, and point-of-care diagnostic tools for health providers in remote locations. Her PhD work focused on infectious disease and cancer prevention/development—especially among women.

Daniel Maweu is the Co-Director of GAIN in Liberia, Neno district, Malawi, and Sierra Leone with Partners In Health (PIH) and a registered nurse-midwife. He is a reproductive health care educator with nine years of experience working in clinical midwifery, perioperative nursing, and nursing education. Daniel worked with PIH in Liberia as a nurse-midwife coordinator/educator from 2018 to September 2021. In his current role, he is the GAIN-PIH cross-site lead supporting nursing and midwifery workforce development initiatives. He has been vital in improving maternal and neonatal care at JJ Dossen Memorial Hospital and Pleebo Health Center through continuous mentorship of midwives in southeastern Liberia. Daniel also works as a visiting obstetrics faculty member at the V.S William Tubman University School of Nursing where he played a key role in setting up the midwifery department. Daniel has worked in various institutions as a nurse-midwife, perioperative nurse, and educator in both Kenya and Liberia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Kenyatta University, a Master of Science in nursing (midwifery) from Mount Kenya University, and an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in global maternal and child health from James Lind Institute, Switzerland. He also holds a Master of Public Health in policy and research from University of Stirling, Scotland. He is an Atlas Corps fellow under the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute fellowship program. Daniel's biggest passion is building resilient maternal health systems and he is a strong advocate of respectful, dignified maternity care for all women in reproductive age.

Luseshelo Fanny Simwinga is the Co-Director of GAIN in Blantyre district, Malawi and a state registered nurse-midwife. Luseshelo has vast experience in bedside maternal and newborn care and holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing and midwifery and a Master of Science in nursing and midwifery education from the University of Malawi Kamuzu College of Nursing. She has worked in the public sector at Ntchisi District Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital as a bedside midwife and a nurse-midwife leader. She previously worked as a district Safe Motherhood Coordinator, Maternal and Neonatal Health Quality Improvement Team Leader, and Quality of Institutionalized Care (QIC) Focal Person. She was one of 10 midwives under the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Young Midwife Leaders (YML) program for the 2019 – 2020 cohort, where she trained in leadership and mentorship. Luseshelo is a trainer in quality improvement, specialized newborn care education, Helping Babies Breathe (2nd edition), essential care of every baby, and essential care for small babies. She is also a champion provider and trainer in respectful maternity care (RMC), where she was working on a project which aimed to promote RMC at Ntchisi District Hospital in the central region of Malawi during her time in the ICM YML program. 

Team

Patricia Efe Azikiwe is the Maternal and Child Health Clinical Program Manager for GAIN at Partners In Health in Sierra Leone. Patricia is a nurse, midwife, nurse-midwife educator, and public health officer with special interest in health programs, like GAIN, that support maternal and newborn health through mentoring of health care providers. She is known as one of the pioneers of the Mother–To–Mother Support Initiative that aims to improve exclusive breastfeeding in Benin-City, Nigeria through capacity building of hospital staff and community engagement. Patricia holds multiple degrees in nursing, midwifery, and public health with over 25 years of experience. She has worked in various capacities such as head of nursing and midwifery colleges, nurse-midwife specialist, UNFPA nurse-midwife clinical training advisor, and health and nutrition program manager. Her work has spanned countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Laos, South Sudan, and Bangladesh. Patricia also holds certificates in leadership and people’s management, emergency preparedness and disaster nursing, quality and health system strengthening, and OnePIH social medicine.

Alden BlairAlden Blair is the Director of Research for GAIN and Associate Director of the Master's program in Global Health Science at UCSF. He holds a PhD with a focus on mix-methods epidemiology from the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, and an MSc in environmental epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has almost two decades of professional experience working across sub-Saharan Africa, including NIH-funded research projects exploring the intersection of mental health, substance use, and communicable disease among conflict-affected populations. He helps lead the GAIN epidemiological teams to ensure the fidelity, applicability, and transferability of the information gleaned from the GAIN intervention.

Madhavi Dandu is the Director of Education for GAIN where she supports the development of online learning materials and quality improvement initiatives. She also serves as Director of the University of California Global Health Institute—a UC-wide initiative that stimulates, nurtures, and promotes global health research, education, and collaboration to advance the University’s global health agenda. Madhavi received her undergraduate degree in comparative literature and biomedical sciences and then a medical degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She completed her residency training in the Categorical Medicine Program at UCSF in 2003. Afterwards, Dr. Dandu attended the University of California, Berkeley and received a Master of Public Health with a focus on international health and health and human rights. In addition she continues to collaborate with colleagues and community-based partners on cultural humility training and initiatives focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She is also a hospitalist and Professor of Medicine at UCSF.

Gladys Jepkogei is the M&E Specialist for GAIN with Partners In Health in Sierra Leone. Gladys has over seven years of professional experience working for international NGOs in research and implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems. Prior to joining PIH, Gladys served as a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) Officer at Danish Refugee Council. Her tenure of two years was marked by the design, development, and management of databases, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, project indicators, and logical frameworks for donor-funded projects while ensuring data quality and efficient communication systems. She previously worked as a MEAL Coordinator for Village Enterprise, MEAL Officer II with Nuru International Kenya, Data Assistant with Beacon’s Consulting Group Limited and interned at National Council for Population and Development in Kenya. Gladys holds an MSc in epidemiology and biostatistics and a bachelor’s degree in applied statistics with computing. She has successfully executed baseline studies and evaluations in GBV, child protection, livelihoods, peace building, health, and education. She has a keen interest in quality data, inferential analysis, and reporting for timely feedback and evidence-based decision-making by stakeholders.

Sitalire Kapira is the Maternal and Child Health Specialist for GAIN working with Partners In Health/Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Neno district, Malawi. Sitalire is an experienced clinician responsible for optimizing maternal health through the training and mentoring of staff on maternal and child health initiatives. He also supports health programs that improves infrastructure, supply chain, systems, and clinical tools in Neno district. Sitalire holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in international obstetrics and leadership from Warwick University and a Master of Medical Science in global health delivery from Harvard University. Kapira’s master’s thesis work focused on assessing barriers adolescent girls face when accessing contraceptive services in rural Malawi. The greatest passion of Sitalire is to develop and implement health programs like GAIN that lead to better health outcomes and to conduct research to bring evidence for decision making.

Viola Karanja is the Deputy Executive Director for Partners In Health in Liberia and a nurse-midwife with 30 years of experience. Viola holds a diploma in nursing and midwifery, diploma in counselling psychology, a bachelor's degree in nursing, a master's in managerial psychology, and she is a Florence Nightingale Fellow. Viola has worked at various capacities and in different countries such as: Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, and currently in Liberia. She has over 15 years of experience in leadership, 10 years experience as a cardiac nurse, and 3 years’ experience in midwifery. Viola’s passion is to mentor junior nurses into leadership as the future of nursing depends on nursing leadership. 

Ashley Mitchell (she/her) is the Assistant Director of Research for GAIN. She is a Global Health Sciences doctoral candidate at UCSF with a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a certificate in perinatal education from the Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery. Ashley has more than a decade of experience in reproductive and health equity program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation among marginalized groups. In addition to leveraging data that illuminates and illustrates inequitable practices, policies, systems, or structures surrounding childbirth, she is motivated to promote community-based solutions that are more effective, respectful, and comprehensive.

 

Nelson Ntemang'ombe MwaleNelson Ntemang'ombe Mwale is the Midwifery Research Officer for GAIN in Blantyre district and a Malawian nurse-midwife. Prior to becoming a midwife, Nelson studied at Blantyre Teachers Training College and graduated with a Certificate in initial primary teacher education in 2007. He worked as a primary school teacher for three years before enrolling in Kamuzu College of Nursing at the University of Malawi. Nelson graduated in 2015 with a BSc in nursing and midwifery. Nelson was part of the first GAIN training cohort in Neno district. His work in Malawi includes working in the operating room at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, as maternity in-charge at Neno District Hospital, and as Safe Motherhood Coordinator for Neno district. Nelson has been recognized twice as best midwife in Neno district and has represented Malawian nursing at international meetings. He holds a Master of Science in global health delivery from the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. 

Merab Nyishime is the Neonatal Nurse Specialist for GAIN and registered nurse currently working with Partners In Health in Liberia. Before joining PIH, Merab served as an MCH Associate Director, Deputy Nursing Director, and Mentor of Mentors in Rwanda and neonatal expert with Médecin Sans Frontières in Central African Republic. She is known as one of the pioneers of the “All Babies Count” Initiative that aims to reduce neonatal mortality in Rwanda through capacity building and implementing quality improvement projects at the national level. Merab holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical medicine and community health from the University of Rwanda and a Master of Science in global health delivery from the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. Merab has extensive experience in maternal and child health at a national and international level. She published “A retrospective study of neonatal case management and outcomes in rural Rwanda” in BMC Pediatrics and developed numerous online videos on neonatal care via Pediatrics open access website. Merab has also co-authored other neonatal research papers and presented abstracts in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. She is devoted to coaching and mentoring clinicians in maternal child health case management and quality improvement.

Miranda Rouse is the Program Manager for GAIN. She has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Drexel University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Northwestern Province, Zambia from 2018-2020. While in Zambia, she collaborated on activities related to maternal and child health and nutrition, family planning, and HIV and malaria prevention. She is passionate about reproductive justice and access to reproductive health services, especially for adolescents and vulnerable populations. Her research interests include global reproductive health, maternal and neonatal health, and gender equity.

Marshall Sackey is the Senior Pediatric and Neonatal Clinical Mentor for GAIN at Partners In Health in Liberia. He is a registered nurse in Liberia and holds associate and bachelor degrees in nursing, and a master's in healthcare management. He has over eight years of experience as a clinical nurse, and has worked with the Liberian Ministry of Health in more than six counties to strengthen staff capacity and deliver quality health services. He has gained valuable clinical knowledge in different departments and hopes to improve his leadership skills. He is working to integrate evidence-based practice in advanced clinical leadership and promote advanced nursing practices in hard-to-reach areas in Liberia. He is motivated by working with the underserved and vulnerable populations.

Mphatso SayendaMphatso Sayenda is the Senior Nurse-Midwife Mentor for GAIN with Partners In Health/Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Neno district, Malawi. She is a registered nurse-midwife and holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and midwifery from Kamuzu College of Nursing. She worked as a midwife in-charge of Lisungwi Community Hospital and received an award for best midwife in organizing the ward, leading the maternity team, and improving the quality of midwifery care. As a GAIN mentor, she is responsible for mentoring midwives in four Neno district facilities. Mphatso mentors on the use of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC), modeling and teaching basic obstetric care, and developing quality improvement projects based on the needs or gaps identified in GAIN facilities. She is also involved at a national level in the adaptation and adoption of the SCC countrywide. In addition, she is working to reinforce infection prevention protocols in the clinical setting to improve obstetric outcomes, and emergency obstetric care and response.