Initiatives Inc. is a US-based women-owned small business. Our global staff are profiled below, by office location.
In addition, Jenny Huddart served as Initiatives’ Vice President until her passing in 2008. You can learn more about her legacy and how to donate to the Jenny Huddart Scholarship Fund here.
Joyce V. Lyons, RN, Ed.D.
Dr. Joyce Lyons is the President and founder of Initiatives Inc. Her education and experience in health care delivery, public health management and education was the starting point for Initiatives’ focus on developing human and system capacity for service delivery. Her interest and technical focus is the development of management and operational systems to improve and maintain high-quality health services, particularly organizational and human capacity development.
Dr. Lyons has written, edited and coauthored books, guidelines, training materials and standards to enhance the knowledge, understanding and practices of health care providers and health system managers. She has experience working in dozens of countries across the globe.
Nicole Dupré, M.A.
Director of Finance and Administration
As Initiatives’ Director of Finance and Administration, Nicole Dupré manages the business operations of the Boston office, including proposal preparation, budgeting, personnel administration, and contract and financial management. Ms. Dupré has served as Task Order Manager for many of Initiatives’ IQC Task Orders, and has provided technical assistance to projects including the development of an NGO management handbook and advising new PEPFAR grantees on organization policies and procedures related to US government funding compliance issues.
Charlotte Halbert, MPP
As Project Assistant, Charlotte Halbert provides administrative and accounting support to Initiatives’ projects. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Virginia and is bilingual in English and French. Her prior professional experiences include clerking with the US Embassy in Paris and interning with InterAction.
Meredith Narayanan, MPH
Meredith Narayanan is a Technical Advisor with Initiatives, providing technical support in program planning, training materials, monitoring and evaluation, and donor reporting for Initiatives’ projects. Since earning her Master of Public Health from New York University, Ms. Narayanan has seven years of experience in managing sub-Saharan African, Latin American, and Indian portfolios for a variety of New York-based global health organizations. Ms. Narayanan has specific expertise in HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, vaccines, and public-private partnerships.
Donna Bjerregaard, M.S.W., C.P.H.Q.
Senior Technical Advisor
Donna Bjerregaard, Initiatives’ Senior Technical Advisor, has 20 years’ experience providing technical support to NGOs and FBOs, government ministries, community organizations and international organizations to improve planning and performance, identify best practices, and create system approaches for performance improvement. Ms. Bjerregaard has extensive experience in curriculum design, quality improvement, community health worker assessment tools, organizational and program capacity assessments, training and community health promotion, and is the author of a number of training manuals, position papers and handbooks. She has lived and worked in India, Nigeria, and Jordan and provided technical assistance in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Rebecca Furth, Ph.D.
Senior Technical Advisor
Rebecca Furth is a Senior Technical Advisor with Initiatives, supporting Initiatives’ human resources management, organizational development, quality improvement and operations research activities. Dr. Furth has worked across Africa and in South Asia and has contributed to Initiatives’ health systems strengthening work for HIV, TB, and reproductive health programs. She holds a PhD in cultural anthropology, with a focus on African culture and social change. She has lived in Guinea and India and speaks Pular and French.
Molly Dinardo, BA
As a Project Assistant, Molly Dinardo supports the administrative and financial aspects of Initiatives’ projects. She holds a dual degree in anthropology and sociology from Saint Michael’s College and has conducted comparative public health case studies in India, Argentina, and South Africa through the School for International Training study abroad program. Prior to joining Initiatives, Ms. Dinardo interned with Health Alliance International and provided support to their Timor Leste Program.
Sarah Murungi, M.A.
Senior Capacity Development Specialist
Sarah Murungi currently serves as the Senior Capacity Development Specialist for the Advocacy for Better Health project based in Kampala. In this role, she is responsible for the institutional capacity building of sub-grantees in the 35 districts served by the project. Ms. Murungi has a lead role in conducting organizational capacity assessments, supporting civil society organizations to develop capacity development plans, and providing technical assistance to address existing gaps in areas of governance, human resources management, organizational management and project performance management.
She previously worked for Initiatives on the Technical Assistance to New Partners Initiative (TA-NPI) project, where she supported ten non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in eight African countries, designing and delivering trainings for NGO boards and senior management teams to empower them to effectively manage their organizations.
Ms. Murungi is an organizational development specialist with over 15 years of experience managing and implementing projects focused on education, HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, human resources for health, and orphans and vulnerable children. She has strong skills in both organizational and technical capacity building for NGOs and government departments. Ms. Murungi has a Master’s degree in organizational leadership and management and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology.
Doreen Ruta, M.A.
Organizational Development Officer
As the ABH Organizational Development Officer, Ms. Ruta provides capacity development technical assistance to community-based/civil society/non-governmental organizations implementing advocacy programs focused on health care and health services in Uganda. Ms. Ruta has over 16 years of experience working across health, education, and natural resources management sectors. She has provided technical expertise in gender mainstreaming, citizen engagement, and local governance and has a strong skill-set in gender research, development training, program management, and livelihood assessments.
Before Ms. Ruta joined the Advocacy for Better Health project as an Organizational Development Officer, she served as a consultant on a project facilitating organizational advocacy and capacity assessments, and also worked with a diverse group of stakeholders to mainstream gender into the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Uganda (2015-2025). Ms. Ruta has a Masters Degree in Women and Gender Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration.
Shishira Mnjokava, M.Sc.
Community Health Program Advisor
Shishira Mnjokava is the Dar es Salaam-based CHSSP Community Health Advisor, responsible for the project’s efforts towards an expanded and better-equipped community health workforce in Tanzania. Mr. Mnjokava leads the project activities related to community health worker (CHW) program strengthening and service delivery including national policy development, training curriculum design, training implementation, local coordination of CHW service delivery, and the implementation of a collaborative model to test and troubleshoot problems and identify and scale up successful practices.
With close to a decade of experience in public health, Mr. Mnjokava has worked with a variety of non-governmental organizations and local governments in Tanzania to build staff capacity in program implementation, integration of nutrition interventions, and policy development. In addition to his Master’s degree in nutrition, he holds a certificate in low country development and a diploma in clinical medicine.
Cyprian Chilowaka, M.Sc.
Community Health Improvement Officer
As the CHSSP Community Health Improvement Officer, Mr. Chilowaka is responsible for coordinating and managing the implementation of community improvement collaboratives and other community systems strengthening activities. Specific activities include the development of case studies, guidelines, and other tools for the project’s Regional Community Health Coordinators.
Mr. Chilowaka is extensively experienced in designing and coordinating community health interventions and providing technical support to health care workers, including community health workers. He also has practical experience working with grassroots communities, government and private sector, and providing technical support to community-based health organizations. Mr. Chilowaka holds a Master of Science degree in International Public Health along with an advanced diploma in health education and promotion in addition to a diploma in clinical medicine.
Regional Public Systems Strengthening Coordinators
The CHHSP Public Systems Strengthening Coordinators contribute to strengthening local governing authority structures as well as coordinating local government and civil society actors to expand services to priority and key populations affected by HIV and AIDS in Tanzania. Specific responsibilities include orienting civil society organizations (CSOs) to government planning processes, assisting local governments to enhance CSO participation in district planning and budgeting, and supporting district authorities to monitor local government structures.
Amina Rajabu, M.A.
Regional Public Systems Strengthening Coordinator - Mbeya
Ms. Rajabu’s skills include community development and organizational strengthening support, and she has worked with vulnerable populations of youth, women, and refugees. Her professional experiences include time as a community social worker and several years both in project management and coordination on international NGO programs. Ms. Rajabu holds a Master’s degree in Community Economic Development in addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Sociology.
Halima Kaombwe, M.Sc.
Regional Public Systems Strengthening Coordinator – Mwanza
Ms. Kaombwe’s professional career of more than a decade includes serving as a program officer with a variety of international programs in Tanzania. Her strengths lie in providing technical and capacity building support to organizations. She holds a Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
Pamela Msei, M.Sc.
Regional Public Systems Strengthening Coordinator – Dar es Salaam
Before joining CHSSP, Ms. Msei spent 15 years working on sexual and reproductive health issues, providing coordination, supervision, and training for community health clinics. She is well-versed in identifying organizational training needs, monitoring service standards, and managing project activities. Ms. Msei holds a Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development and advanced diploma in community development.
Furaha Ebalo, M.A.
Public Systems Strengthening Coordinator – Njombe
Mr. Ebalo’s nearly ten-year career in social welfare has honed his skills in community capacity enhancement, community communication techniques, advocacy, and project management. He has professional experience managing and providing technical support to local government authorities in Tanzania for the implementation of HIV/AIDS and TB interventions. Mr. Ebalo has also developed and designed project proposals related to gender and social welfare. Mr. Ebalo is fluent in English, French and Kiswahili and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Language Studies.
Regional Community Health Program Coordinators
The CHSSP Regional Community Health Program Coordinators assist district authorities to recruit and deploy community health workers (CHWs), orient local government structures to the national community based health program (CBHP) policy and strategy, and implement community collaboratives to adapt and expand successful practices for improving systems for community referral and linkages with the general health system.
Clarence Mkoba, M.Sc.
Regional Community Health Program Coordinator – Mbeya
Mr. Mkoba has worked as a researcher on several health studies and evaluations, and spent four years as a research officer and project manager on a multidisciplinary evaluation project focused on improving access to ACT therapy in three regions of Tanzania. He also worked on a university-sponsored “learning agenda” for the development of the national CHW cadre. Mr. Mkoba holds a Master’s degree in Health Systems Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
Edda Mmasi, M.P.H.
Regional Community Health Program Coordinator – Mwanza
Before joining the CHSS project, Ms. Mmasi served as community mobilization officer on a maternal and child health project, and she has also worked as a principal investigator, a trainer, and an ethnographer. Her professional skills include training and developing information, education, and community and advocacy materials for use in organizational capacity building. Ms. Mmasi has a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
Greyson Chagama, M.Sc.
Regional Community Health Program Coordinator – Dar es Salaam
Mr. Chagama began his career as a nursing administrator with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, and, in the two decades since then, he has worked as a national-level trainer and coordinator with the government and on donor-funded health programs. Mr. Chagama has developed policy guidelines, strategic plans, proposals, and manuals, and he is experienced in quality assurance and community health work Mr. Chagama holds a Master’s degree in Community Economic Development and a diploma in general nursing.
Lillian Byers, M.D.S.
NGO/CBO Capacity Building Specialist
As the NGO/CBO Capacity Building Specialist with the Systems for Better Health project, Lillian Byers is responsible for leading activities to strengthen non-governmental and community-based organizations. She helps to improve the technical and organizational capacity in the provision of community-level services in family planning/reproductive health, maternal and child health, and nutrition. Ms. Byers’ position supports the project’s Grants under Contract component.
Ms. Byers is a development expert with more than 20 years of development experience, 15 of which were spent in the NGO sector. She has worked as a facilitator, trainer, tutor, and researcher, and her professional skills include capacity building, grant making and monitoring, institutional strengthening, and project management. Ms. Byers holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Education.