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University of Colorado Denver

Center for Global Health | Colorado School of Public Health

Executive Committee Members

John Brett, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Brett's research is focused on sustainable livelihoods and microfinance in Bolivia, dietary decision-making and urban food systems sustainability. Dr. Brett's just-finished project examines the relationship between food security, access to health resources and participation in microfinance programs, funded by Fulbright Scholars program and in collaboration with CRECER and Freedom from Hunger with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has done research on medicinal plant use in Chiapas, Mexico, conducted a number of large scale evaluation projects on HIV education programs in the US, Native American history in relation to Rocky Mountain National Park and a multi-year ethnographic study on the factors that influence diet physical activity patterns in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. His current research examines the host of food system “alternatives” emerging in urban areas and they might, or might not create an alternative food system. Dr. Brett received his PhD in Joint Program in Medical Anthropology at the University of California San Francisco and UC Berkeley.


Sheana Bull, PhD, Chair and Professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health

Dr. Bull's research is focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions using computer-based technologies including kiosks, the internet and cell phones. Her current work in global health involves development and testing of an internet based comprehensive sexuality education program for Ugandan youth. If successful, this technology has ample potential for scalability and replication throughout East Africa, and for adaptation in South Africa, two regions with some of the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. In addition, she is developing projects to test the efficacy of cell phones for HIV education and care seeking among populations at high risk for HIV in East and Southern Africa. Dr. Bull has been involved in data collection and reproductive health survey trainings in Paraguay; has participated in evaluation of family planning programs in Bolivia and Sri Lanka; and has trained family planning care providers in Bolivia.


Amy Casseri, JD, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado

Amy Casseri is responsible for providing top-level strategic direction for the overall organization. Prior to working at Children’s Hospital Colorado Amy Casseri served as the Chief Communications, Community Relations, and Business Development Officer for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Her experience spans over eighteen years in leadership from academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, integrated delivery systems, nonprofit community organizations, to managed care and insurance. Amy is active in the community, global health and has served on non-profit boards. She is a member of the Leadership Denver Class of 2011. Amy holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the Nashville School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee.



Blair Gifford, PhD, Professor of International Health Management in the Business School and the Colorado School of Public Health

Dr. Gifford founded the Center for Global Health and Global Health Connections, a not-for-profit that provides global health opportunities for middle and high school students. Also, he is co-founder of a new organization, Professors Beyond Borders (Fulbright), and was a Fulbright/New Century Scholar for 2009-10. Dr. Gifford is currently involved in research on the effects of health care privatization in India, Brazil and Mexico health market changes in China and, he is completing a book on sustainable business practices for small and medium-size businesses. He is also involved in a large-scale health and vocational training development project in Haiti and teaches for Yale University's Global Health Initiative in their China and Ethiopia programs. Gifford has also been a visiting professor at Yale and Northwestern Universities.



Gretchen Heinrichs, MD,DTMH, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Denver Health

Dr. Heinrichs is an obstetrics and gynecology physician and researcher who completed a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Gorgas Course in Lima, Peru and a Certificate in Public Health in 2011 from the Colorado School of Public Health. She has been in academics since 2006 and has received several teaching awards for her work with residents and medical students. She works clinically at Denver Health with a special focus on refugee and asylum seeking patients and her Global Health work is currently focused on projects in Guatemala through the Center for Global Health. She has worked in India, Mexico, Rwanda and Nigeria training physicians, nurses, and health care workers on gender-based violence, family planning, and obstetric and gynecologic conditions, as well as adapting international practice recommendations to local and low resource settings. She recently completed a mission with Doctors Without Borders in Northern Nigeria in Emergency Obstetrics. Her scholarly interests include Maternal Mortality, Female Genital Mutilat, Infectious Diseases and Refugee health services.


Kathy Kennedy, DrPH, MA, Clinical Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health and Director of the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership

Dr. Kennedy is a public health scientist and educator who has conducted numerous studies in reproductive health, focusing in the areas of lactation, fertility and contraception. She has directed several multi-center international studies, and has written on women's health, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) and post-partum issues. Although she has worked in more than 15 countries and on every continent, her global health work has been concentrated in Mexico, Egypt, Pakistan and the Philippines. Currently, Dr. Kennedy is active in research, education, public health practice, and she is an advisor to clinical practice.


Renee A King, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. King is an emergency medicine physician at the University of Colorado. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. She then completed an international emergency medicine fellowship at the University of Illinois. At the University of Illinois, she also received a master of public health. Dr. King has worked in emergency medicine teaching in Thailand and on community health projects in India, Central America and South America. Dr. King is interested in expanding the presence of global health teaching in medical schools and within the emergency medicine residency.​ She is a member of the Joint US/Canadian Committee for Uniform Guidelines in Global Health Medical Education. Currently, Dr. King has focused much of her global health work on capacity building, emergency medicine teaching, community health and emergency development in Cap Haitian, Haiti. She is actively involved in local resource capacity research in Northern Haiti and immigrant health research in Denver


Deborah Thomas, PhD, Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, where she also has a secondary appointment in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health in the Colorado School of Public Health. She specializes in hazards and health geography, and has twenty years of experience working with geographic information systems (GIS) in a variety of social science application areas, including disaster management and health. Her research interests focus on issues of vulnerability/resilience as they relate to both natural and human-induced hazards and health outcomes. In 2005, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. She has also worked the last 3 years in Tanzania, co-directing the UCD Tanzania Field School and conducting research. Currently, she is also PI on a NSF grant exploring health sector capacity in Haiti (co-PI Renee King also affiliated with the CGH).


Ex-Officio Executive Committee Members:

Edwin J Asturias, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health

Dr. Asturias graduated as a medical doctor from the San Carlos University in Guatemala in 1989 and was board certified in pediatrics at the University Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 1995. Trained in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he has been working in the area of vaccine research and policy in Guatemala and the Latin American region since 1998. Through the conduction of epidemiological studies and the inquiry into efficacy and safety issues of vaccines against poliomyelitis, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcus and E. coli, the Center for Health Studies under his direction has provided answers to important implementation questions, especially for resource poor countries in Central and Latin America.

Dr. Asturias has served on the Guatemalan National Committee for Immunization Practices, the Poliovirus Contention Commission, and advisory groups for the World Health Organization, including the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. He is the technical coordinator of the Immunization Group of the Mesoamerican Health Initiative, and a member of the Committee of Vaccines of the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.


Nancy Lowe, ​PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, Professor, University of Colorado College of Nursing

Dr. Nancy K Lowe is a certified nurse-midwife. She joined the University of Colorado faculty in 2007. Dr. Lowe earned her PhD at the University of Illinois Chicago and previously has been a professor at Northern Illinoi​s University, The Ohio State University, and Oregon Health and Science University. She is overseeing the international educational and service activities of the College of Nursing currently focused on activities in Guatemala, Nepal, and South Africa. Widely published in nursing, medical, and interdisciplinary journals, Dr. Lowe is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN).



Susan Niermeyer, MD, MPH, FAAP, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health

Susan practices and teaches clinical neonatology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, University Hospital, and community hospital nurseries in the Denver area. In 2009 she completed a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health. Susan’s clinical and educational areas of emphasis include neonatal resuscitation and cardiopulmonary physiology in infancy. She has served as co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program Steering Committee and is currently editor for Helping Babies Breathe, the AAP global educational program for neonatal resuscitation in resource-limited settings. Her research interests center on adaptation in the neonatal period, with a focus on cardiopulmonary adaptation and low birth weight at high altitude. High-altitude research has included study of infant oxygenation in Lhasa, Tibet, studies of infant birth weight and cardiopulmonary adaptation in La Paz, Bolivia, studies of pulmonary hypertension and cardiopathies in Peruvian children, and analysis of the relationship of maternal smoking and birth weight at high altitude in Colorado. Underlying her interest in neonatal resuscitation and high-altitude physiology in infants and children is a strong commitment to the health of children around the world, including those in isolated and less-developed regions. This is reflected in her continuing role with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help disseminate the Neonatal Resuscitation Program and Helping Babies Breathe wherever babies are born.




Eric A F Simoes, MB, BS, DCH, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Simoes carried out many of the studies that provide the scientific foundation for the WHO Integrated Case Management of Childhood Illness. Over the past twenty years, he has successfully collaborated with researchers throughout the world, as well as, in Colorado on respiratory infections in premature infants. He has conducted numerous collaborative studies on the epidemiology, prevention and treatment and pathogenesis of respiratory infections (both viral and bacterial) in India the Philippines, Europe and Indonesia. His work with premature infants over the 20 years has in part led to the development and licensure of 2 products for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) prophylaxis (RSV –IGIV, and palivizumab). These studies carried out; in premature infants have assessed the effects of prevention of RSV on long term respiratory morbidity. He has a broad background in infectious diseases with specific training and expertise in epidemiology and molecular virology.




Wayne Sullender, MD, Visiting Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Sullender is interested in understanding the viral causes of respiratory tract infections of children in developing countries. Working with collaborators at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)in New Delhi viral etiologies of respiratory infections in children have been assessed and the molecular epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus described. Influenza viruses are significant causes of human illness and death in developing countries and a vaccine is available to prevent influenza infections. Along with collaborators at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and AIIMS, he is conducting a study to measure the ability of influenza vaccine given to children in India to protect both the children and unimmunized persons around them from influenza. It will also determine whether the best time to immunize in a country like India that has both summer and winter outbreaks of influenza is in the fall, as is done now, or whether immunization should be in the spring to protect against influenza infections in the summer. These investigations are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



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