Core Team

Our team of seasoned emergency response, logistics and laboratory specialists have decades of global health experience in Africa, Asia and South America. Core team members are fluent in French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish and have worked in multiple languages including Khmer. 

Members of our extensive network of subject matter experts have undertaken long-term overseas missions. We also work in transitional and post-conflict states. Our pool of talented, multilingual consultants has expertise in the full range of biomedical disciplines.

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Paula Fernandes, MBA, PhD

Founder & CEO

Paula Fernandes has spent much of her career identifying, evaluating and increasing access to high-quality, well-established and novel diagnostics. A biomedical scientist with over 20 years of clinical, research, and public health experience, Dr. Fernandes works on medical diagnostic and quality assurance challenges specific to resource-limited, conflict and post-conflict settings. With a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University and an MBA in international business, she leads scientific direction and ensures streamlined business practices to maximize efficiency at GSSHealth. 

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Katya Milgotina, MS, PhD

Senior Analytics Specialist

Ekaterina Milgotina possesses over 20 years of experience in biological sciences and laboratory quality assurance. Her expertise includes diagnostics product development for blood diseases, infectious disease research, and the development and establishment of QA programs for clinical malaria microscopy laboratories. Dr. Milgotina has Master's degrees in biotechnology and bioscience regulatory affairs and a PhD in bioorganic chemistry. She is also fluent in Russian.

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Michele Merkel, MS

Senior Program Manager

Michele Merkel is a laboratory professional with deep experience operating and strengthening laboratories in low-resource settings. She brings expertise implementing quality management systems in clinical laboratories, conducting research, developing lab and clinical trials networks, and managing clinical trials in the fields of HIV, oncology and cardiology. At GSSHealth, Ms. Merkel oversees the implementation, tracking and completion of core programs, including providing technical assistance to deliver high quality program results. She has a master's degree in biotech from Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Spanish.

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Jorge Martins,
BA

Project Manager

Jorge Martins is passionate about global health and brings significant experience in international healthcare, customer relationship management, project coordination, interpreting, and translation. At GSSHealth, he coordinates the administrative, logistical, and operational support of an international HIV program that extends clinical training to rural and underserved populations, and provides support for Portuguese language projects. Mr. Martins holds a BA in Mass Communication and is a certified healthcare interpreter and translator. He is a native Portuguese speaker.

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Mitra Feldman, MBA, MSc

Public Health Specialist

Mitra Feldman is an experienced public health specialist with a background in infectious disease control and health program implementation. Ms. Feldman has worked on primary care, malaria control, and disease research programs across Africa and Southeast Asia. She is adept at project management, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), operational research, and technical writing, having worked for several government organizations and international NGOs. She has served as public health consultant for diverse projects, providing program evaluation, technical writing, and technical expertise. With GSSHealth, Ms. Feldman supports project management and operations research for different US DOD infectious disease initiatives.

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Susan Grieco,
BA

Office Manager

Susan Grieco has 30 years of experience in administration and client relations. At GSSHealth, Ms. Grieco supports core team member travel and other personnel needs. She is responsible for maintaining accounts payable and receivable, payroll, and acquisitions book-keeping. Ms. Grieco is trained on the GSA Federal Travel Regulations and DCAA booking and timekeeping practices.

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Rachel Crane, MSW, PMP

Senior Project Manager

With a background in International Relations and French, Rachel Crane has 10 years of experience managing global health projects. At GSSHealth, she tracks project process and keeps regular communication with clients to ensure the advancement of goals and objectives. Ms. Crane also supports operational, communications and marketing activities, co-developing GSSHealth processes, policies and content. Ms. Crane is fluent in French.

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Martin Adams,
MS

Senior Biosecurity Specialist

Martin Adams brings a wealth of expertise in biosafety, biosecurity, mobile outbreak response and laboratory capacity building. He has an extensive molecular biology laboratory skill set drawn from time working in research, diagnostic and industry environments. He holds a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science from King’s College in London. At GSSHealth, he coordinates with partners and clients to ensure the detection and safe management of infectious diseases of international concern. Mr. Adams has a working knowledge of French.

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Rémi Charlebois, MS

Technical Specialist

Rémi Charlebois has significant technical experience as a biosafety and biosecurity lead. Mr. Charlebois has worked as a laboratory specialist and biosafety advocate in North America and the Asia Pacific region. He holds a master degree in Microbiology from Laval University, Quebec City, and Fellowship in Biosecurity from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. At GSSHealth, Mr. Charlebois oversees a multi-country laboratory quality improvement program across a dozen African countries. He is a native French speaker and is proficient in Spanish.

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Rosalie Whedbee, MPH

Research Specialist Lead

Rosalie Whedbee is a public health professional with experience in monitoring and evaluation, advocacy and stakeholder management, and program administration. Her responsibilities at GSSHealth include ensuring the timely implementation of project activities, developing operational documents for program implementation, conducting research and analysis on markets for new diagnostics and public health interventions, and writing grant proposals. Ms. Whedbee is proficient in French.

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Mona Kiriakos, MS, MBA

Administrative Director

Mona Kiriakos, a professional administrator with strong management and finance skills, has 25 years of experience in health program administration including financial reporting, human resource and medical practice management. She has spent the last seven years overseeing the administrative functions of U.S. Federal Government-funded programs at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine including financial reporting, payroll, human resources, preparation and the management of cooperative agreements and grants. Ms. Kiriakos is fluent in Arabic and French.

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Yvonne Séne

Project Coordinator

Yvonne Séne has a background in environmental science and environmental health and has experience in laboratory and toxicology research. In addition, she has a master's of health science in Environmental health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 
At GSSHealth, she coordinates the development and implementation of HIV-related clinical and laboratory strengthening initiatives in African countries. She is a native French speaker.

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Sebastian McClendon, PhD

Technical Advisor

Sebastian McClendon is a disciplined science program manager and analytical researcher with strong interpersonal skills reinforced by multiple years of experience working in international and cross-cultural settings. He has expertise managing government bio-surveillance projects, leading  biochemical research programs, providing  training to junior scientists, and serving as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) specialist for the Armed Forces. Dr. McClendon previously led the establishment of CBRN detection programs in New York and New Jersey and has overseen the establishment of biological threat reduction programs in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. He has a PhD in biochemistry.