Mary Ann is a pediatrician who after two decades in private practice became an author and specialist in newborn care. Currently she is the Medical Director of the Newborn Nursery at Morristown Medical Center and the Director of the Global Child Health Program for Atlantic Health Systems. A graduate of Barnard College and the University of Pennsylvania where she received her medical degree, she is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. She is one of HUFH's co-founders and currently serves as President of the Board. She created the Global Health Education Program for the organization and is dedicated to introducing medical students and residents to the challenges of working in Haiti.
Allison Platt, M.D., FAAP – Vice President
Allison is a pediatrician in full-time practice for more than ten years in Mount Kisco, New York. After graduating from Barnard College in 1998, she received her Medical Degree from New York University School of Medicine in 2002 and completed her training at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center. She has been on faculty at New York Medical College since 2006, a clinical preceptor to first-year medical students. Allison became interested in Global Health through Hands Up for Haiti. Since October 2011, she has been a trip leader, active in providing medical care at Haitian Clinics, implementing the malnutrition program, improving access to clean water and educating Haitian doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Through her work for Hands Up for Haiti, Allison continues her commitment to improving the lives of the Haitian people. She resides in Westchester, New York with her husband and their two young children.
Wendy Marx, M.D. – Secretary
Wendy is a pediatrician who until recently was in private practice in Mount Kisco, New York. She graduated from Cornell University and received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College (now known as Weill Cornell Medical College). She did her pediatric training at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she also served as a Clinical Instructor before moving to Katonah, New York. After almost 20 years in private practice, Wendy decided to pursue more personally fulfilling interests, which led her to her first medical mission with Hands Up for Haiti in January 2013. Since that time, she has become a trip leader and a member of the Medical Committee, and looks forward to continuing the critically important work of the organization.
John Partenza – Treasurer
John has over 39 years of healthcare finance experience. Currently, he is the Senior Vice President & Treasurer of Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) in Mount Kisco, New York, a position he has held since 1989. John’s administrative expertise includes the development and oversight of NWH’s financial operations, budgeting process, and fiscal administration of a multi-million dollar organizational budget. In addition to supervising 185 employees, John is responsible for overseeing the departments of Patient Financial Services, Fiscal Services, Health Information Management, Laboratory, Radiology, and Information Technology, and he has been responsible for securing financing for capital projects. John is a graduate of Pace University and earned his Fellowship in the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He also teaches and lectures in the financial healthcare management field. John is married and has one son and two grandchildren.
Jill Ratner, M.D. – President Emeritus
Jill, HUFH's co-founder and a key driving force, has been in full time pediatric practice for over three decades in Mount Kisco, New York. She has served as Chief of Pediatrics and on leadership committees at Northern Westchester Hospital and she is Chief of the Pediatric Department at CareMount Medical. Jill graduated as a Durant Scholar from Wellesley College, attended medical school at Boston University, and completed her training at Children’s Hospital of New York, then known as Babies Hospital of Columbia Presbyterian. After raising two children with her husband of thirty-three years, she has committed to improving the global health of children through her work in Haiti. The work and people she has met through this work has been life changing. Her initiatives include visits to Haiti each year, bringing new volunteers with her, and working for the organization while at home. She is head of the Medical Committee for Hands Up for Haiti, a role that has allowed her to be instrumental in the creation and ongoing work of our malnutrition program, the delivery of medical education in Haiti, including championing Helping Babies Breathe and Essential Newborn Care, and guiding HUFH’s involvement in the battle to eradicate cervical cancer in Haiti.
Hope Bechard, R.N.
Hope is a registered nurse from Ontario, Canada. She provides care to a wide variety of patients and has worked throughout the west coast of Canada in rural areas. Her passions are education of nursing students and emergency nursing. Hope took her first trip to Haiti in 2010 after the earthquake inspired her to want to help, and has returned many times since with a variety of organizations. She started volunteering with Hands up for Haiti in 2012 and has been actively involved ever since, focusing on expanding HUFH's global health program for nurses and specifically partnering with Lambton College’s BScN program.
Ted Birkhahn is president and partner of Peppercomm, a leading marketing and communications agency with offices in New York, San Francisco and London. Ted is in charge of client services and managing agency operations for the 100+ person firm. He is also an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University in New York where he teaches a course in digital communications and serves on the College of Charleston’s Department of Communication Advisory Council. He has the pleasure of serving as a member of the board for Hands up for Haiti where he counsels the organization on brand and communications matters.
Stephanie is a Registered Nurse, currently working at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in pediatrics. After graduating from Barnard College in 1998 and while attending Bank Street College of Education (2000), she taught at The Brearley School for five years. After ten years at home raising her children, Stephanie decided to become a nurse, and graduated from Pace University with a Bachelors of Nursing in 2014. She became interested in Global Health through Hands Up For Haiti in 2012 and has been on multiple pediatric missions. Stephanie is now working on the Hypertension Program, hoping to provide long-term care for adult Haitian patients. She feels passionately about her work in Haiti and is committed to helping the Northern Haitian community.
MANAGEMENT TEAM – US
Karen Akst Schecter – Executive Director
Karen has had a varied career in both law and business. After law school, she clerked for a federal judge, practiced civil law, served as school board president during a difficult time in her community, and opened and operated her own business, a fine art and crafts gallery. She has always been a passionate volunteer and life-long social justice advocate. Prior to being appointed its Executive Director, Karen served as the Director of Programs and Operations for Hands Up for Haiti for the past three years. Giving back, fighting for a cause, standing up for others…..it’s part of who she, and every member of her family, is.
LaMar Parkin – Chief Financial Officer
LaMar is a finance professional at IBM. He has worked in many capacities in both finance and accounting at IBM, spending most of his career in IBM's Global Technology Services business. He now works in IBM's Corporate Treasury responsible for coordinating and reporting all of IBM's Accounts Receivables and Inventory world-wide. He graduated cum laude with his degree in accounting from BYU’s Marriott School of Management in 2002. Over the years he has worked as a volunteer with many service organizations including Big Brother/Big Sisters, YMCA, as well as various soup kitchens, hospitals & schools. He has served as an assistant Scoutmaster for a local troop of the Boy Scouts of America for over 6 years. He became involved with Hands Up for Haiti through his wife Amy, a Nurse Practitioner, who is a founding member, and led the organization's growth as its Executive Director for the last three years.
MANAGEMENT TEAM – HAITI
Manol Isac, M.D. – Executive Director in Haiti
After completing medical school at the Université Notre-Damed’Haïti, Manol, who is passionate about serving his country, continued his education in public health, earning a Certificate in Humanitarian Action from Learning Center of the United Nations, a Certificate of Master in Global Health from the Global Health Learning Center jointly run by Hopkins University and USAID, a Certificate in Common Infectious Diseases and Women’s Health from the Women’s Association for Health and Education, a Certificate of Logistic Chain and Management from AD HOC Center of Training, and a degree in Computer Technology. Manol has effectively used his talents and experience to help improve the public health system in Haiti: Prior to joining HUFH in 2014, Manol worked as Medical Officer for World Vision International for 2 years, Collectiva Mujer y Salud as Local Coordinator and at Health For All as Volunteer Consultant.
Thermitus Jean – Assistant In-Country Executive Director and Pharmacy Director
Thermitus is a trained pharmacist, and holds diplomas in this field. He is also an accomplished interpretor, speaking Haitian Creole, French, English and Spanish. Before being appointed Assistant In-Country Executive Director and HUFH Pharmacy Director, Thermitus worked for HUFH as as a translator, pharmacist, and volunteer coordinator and as our Haiti Village Health Site Administrator where he managed the guesthouse and clinic at our Global Health training site. He has organized the community to clean large areas of the beach, polluted from offshore, stressing the connection between the environment and heath. He is very dedicated to the people in his home village of Labadee, where he has set up community projects for youth. He is a talented artist and musician.
Rose-Laure Jeanty, M.D. – Medical Director, Shada Clinic and HUFH Medical Liaison to HCBH
After earning her medical degree in 2009, Rose-Laure served as a generalist physician at Promoteur Objectif Zerosida, with Médecin Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, and at Orphelinat Maison D’Espoir. She currently serves both as the physician in charge at the Shada Clinic and as the Head of Rehabilitation Services at Hopital de la Convention Baptiste D’Haïti (HCBH), one of our partner hospitals, and she is the liaison between both to ensure that patients referred by HUFH receive appropriate follow up care.
Youselene Pierre-Louis – Director of Nursing
After earning her degree in nursing at the Notre Dame de la Sagesse in Cap-Haitien in 2009, Youselene continued her training with courses in counseling, Helping Babies Breathe, massage for babies, and most recently, in Helping Babies Survive. She trained in several hospitals including Justinian University Hospital, Fort St Michel Hospital, and the Health Center of La Fossette. In November 2010, Youselene began working at the cholera treatment center at Carrefour la Mort with Médecins sans Frontières. From September 2011 to September 2015, she worked as the Head Nurse at the Sante Pou Yo Clinic of Bas-Limbe, directing the prenatal and post partum care and malnutrition programs with the NGO Haiti Village Health, a former partner of HUFH. In October 2015, she was promoted to Director of Nursing at Hands Up For Haiti. In this position, Youselene coordinates all nursing activities related to the malnutrition program and supervises the program nurses at each of the sites; she also runs a monthly prenatal and postpartum clinic in one location.
Dieula Toussaint, M.D. – Medical Director, Malnutrition Program
Dieula earned her medical degree in 2011. A general practitioner eager to learn from and teach her counterparts in the US and Canada, Dieula’s focus is on pediatrics, perinatal care, and the “golden minute” after birth: that period of time when a newborn’s life and health are at stake. To that end, Dieula is a master instructor in Essential Newborn Care-Helping Babies Survive, teaching matrones (traditional birth attendants) the technique and training doctors and nurses as teachers. She also helps run and supervise HUFH’s malnutrition programs, and delivers direct patient care.
Wisly Lindor, NP – Eye Team Liaison, Medika Mamba and Hypertension Program Officer
Wisly, who earned his B.S. in nursing, received his Master’s degree as a Nurse Practitioner two years ago. He also has specialized training in ophthalmology. After working at the Grace the Children Hospital in Delmas, Wisly joined Hands Up for Haiti shortly after receiving his Masters. He is our in-country coordinator for the Hypertension Screen and Treat Program, works with the eye team as the local liaison and runs the malnutrition program in Dondon.
Fritznel Jean, Av. – Human Resources Manager and Legal Liaison
Fritznel, an attorney by education, has a varied background and a diverse skill set. Certified in customer service, crowd management and technical first aid, Fritznel handles communication and ONG administration and is the Coordinator of Emergency First Aid in Labadee, a farming village outside of Cap Haitian where he was born and raised. Fritznel worked as an interpreter for about 10 years. He first began working with NGOs in 2007, when he served as General Secretary of Heart Together for Haiti, followed by a position as logistician for the Computer Center for Kids. After working for Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Fritznel joined HUFH & HVH, a former partner of HUFH, as coordinator of the Sante Pou Yo Clinic of Bas-Limbe. After earning his legal degree, Fritznel was named HUFH Legal Liaison and Manager, serving as HUFH’s in-country general counsel and director of human resources.
Miguel-Ange Michel – Malnutrition Program & Shada Site Director
Miguel-Ange first began working at the Shada clinic in 2008 as a volunteer. He began to work for HVH, now merged into HUFH, in 2011, and for HUFH in 2012. He is currently studying Administration of ONG and accounting at AHEC School in Cap-Haitian. Previously, he studied political science at the Police Academy in Port-au-prince and information technology at Dominicano Haitiano Centro Tecnologico in Cap-Haitian. About his new role as the Shada site and Malnutrition Program, director, Miguel-Ange says: “In my new role, I hope to make the program go better. I'll work to improve it but I need your help to do so.”
Sonel Eugene – Youth Training Officer and Chief Translator
Sonel is a graduate of Communications School, where he majored in TV Communication. Choosing instead education as his career, Sonel completed additional course work and earned the necessary credentials. In 2010, Sonel began to work for Open Door Haiti Ministry, one of the sites at which HUFH works and where we first met him. Sonel now serves as Hands Up for Haiti’s lead Community Youth Educator as well as our Head Translator, and is instrumental in our new Youth Leadership Program.