Meet Our Team

The Minga Foundation is an all-volunteer organization. We work and live all over the world and have backgrounds ranging from public health to finance. Nevertheless, our number one passion is the same: improving the health and well-being of underserved communities. As a family and team, we have dedicated our time to this organization and the people it serves. We thank you for your support and generosity.

Brian Minga

Brian Burke

President

Brian has found his passion working with grassroots development, environmental, and health projects around the world. He has worked with environmental health projects in Nogales, Mexico; farming cooperatives and fair trade programs in Colombia, Brazil, and Paraguay; ecovillages, alternative currencies, and barter systems in Colombia; and environmental movements in southern Appalachia. He is a socio-cultural anthropologist and a professor of sustainable development at Appalachian State University, where his students and colleagues study the theory and practice of community-based and genuinely sustainable development. Brian earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Arizona in 2012.

Minga Foundation Julie Titus

Julie Titus

Treasurer

Julie joined the board in 2010, but first became involved with our work as a volunteer in El Páramo in 2002, while working on education projects with community health promoters and women’s groups. She graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN in 2000 with a degree in Women and Gender Studies. Julie lives in Forest Grove, OR with her husband and dogs, and does fundraising and volunteer coordination for a non-profit community health center.

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Jessica Levy

Board Member, Co-Founder

In 2002, Jessica was the first gender health outreach coordinator at our project site in El Paramo, Ecuador. In years since, she has expanded her work with women to other regions of the world, continuing to focus on issues related to gender equality and women’s reproductive health. In 2013, Jessica received her PhD from the University of North Carolina, School of Public Health, in the department of Maternal and Child Health. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Practice at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis and is the Senior Reproductive Health Associate for Iris Group, a consulting firm focused on gender equality and social inclusion. She loves applying the lessons she learns in the field to her classroom and vice versa!

megan snair minga foundation

Megan Snair

Executive Director

Megan recently transitioned from a board member to the new Executive Director for the Minga Foundation. She also acts as a public health consultant and writer for SGNL Solutions. Previously she worked as a senior program officer with the Board on Global Health at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. She directed consensus studies on Global Health and the Future of the United States and Improving the Quality of Health Care Globally, planning multiple international meetings and site visits. Previously with the Board on Health Sciences Policy, she was part of the Global Health Risk Framework team at the National Academies and led multiple workshops related to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, examining both international and domestic impacts. Her portfolio consisted primarily of projects related to health policy, global health security, and community and health system resilience. Ms. Snair received her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University concentrating in Epidemiology and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biophysics from St. Lawrence University in New York.”

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Rhianon Liu

Board Member

Rhianon Liu, M.D., joined the Minga board in 2018. She received her B. A. in Human Biology and M.A. in African Studies from Stanford University, followed by a M.D. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is currently completing her family medicine residency in Santa Rosa, California. She has done global health and community development work in Zambia, South Africa, and Nepal, as well as research examining the relationships between child health and governance in conflict zones. Her other professional interests include refugee health, integrative medicine for the underserved, and medical education. She enjoys soccer, skiing, yoga, and exploring beautiful Northern California.

Erin Lund

Board Member

Erin has worked with our organization since 2003, when she received a Fulbright scholarship to serve as the doctor and women’s health outreach coordinator at our project site in Ecuador. She earned her M.D. from Harvard University Medical School in 2005 and an MPH at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Erin lives in Northern California and works at a federally qualified health center, where she provides family medicine and obstetrical care to underserved populations and teaches family medicine residents.

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Brennan Keiser

Board Member

Building on his graduate school practicum in Nancholi, Malawi over summer 2019, Brennan cultivates the partnership with NAYO by providing technical assistance and follow up to the field staff on programs designed to promote gender equity, menstrual hygiene, and adolescent sexual health. In addition to this role with Minga, he is a consultant with Iris Group, where he works collaboratively on global gender projects, and a research project coordinator at Northwestern University, where he helps to organize and communicate among 65 different HIV Implementation Science academic-community partnerships across the U. S. With experience living and working in 8 different countries including a stint in the
Peace Corps, Brennan’s work is guided by a belief that we all have a human right to health. He is passionate about sexual and reproductive health and rights and has also contributed to local advocacy efforts to modernize HIV-specific criminal statutes in Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in Social Work specialized in International Social and Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Piku Patnaik

Board Member

Piku joined our organization in 2021. Piku pursued her childhood passion for supporting underserved communities through training in public health, which culminated with a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Over 15 years, Piku worked as an infectious disease epidemiologist on global health research and programs across 14 countries in Africa, South Asia, and Central Asia. The broad scope of her work has included research in HIV-malaria co-infection in Malawi; HIV risk in men who have sex with men in Mali; sexual behavior surveys in Burkina Faso, India, and Rwanda; microbicide trials for HIV prevention in Zambia; evaluation of large-scale HIV prevention programs for female sex workers in India; and providing technical assistance on monitoring and evaluation of national antiretroviral treatment programs and opioid substitution therapy for people who inject drugs. Piku lives in New York and currently provides epidemiological support for the treatment of life-threatening lung diseases at a family-owned pharmaceutical company.

minga board member ag

Anna Grace “AG” Tribble

Board Member

AG Tribble discovered her passion for studying health disparities and ameliorating social inequities while completing her B.A. in Anthropology at Wake Forest University. Coincidentally, Karin Friederic, of Minga fame, was her anthropology professor! She went on to pursue her MPH/Ph.D. at Emory University in global epidemiology and biocultural medical anthropology. Her recent project has focused on the complex relationships linking intergenerational health disparities, household food insecurity, governmental food aid, and disrupted food systems in the context of the economic sanctions regime experienced in Iraqi Kurdistan. With her new position as Lecturer within the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University, she has begun to coordinate a community-led project on local health disparities with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She enjoys building coalitions across disciplines and communities to solve big health and food systems problems. AG lives in Starkville, MS with her partner, Will, and corgi, Waffles.

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Ryan Shields

Board Member

Ryan graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in biology and sociology. He subsequently spent a year as a Watson Fellow studying healthcare redevelopment after civil war and genocide. He earned his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where his research focused on medical education and sexual and gender minorities. Ryan completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Yale New Haven Hospital, spending time expanding resident global health opportunities in Uganda. He is currently part of the HEAL initiative through UCSF, working at a district hospital in eastern Rwanda and a private hospital near Navajo Nation in Gallup, New Mexico.

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Thembi Chitenga

Board Member

Sithembile “Thembi” Chithenga is a public health physician who uses her passion for clinical medicine, public health, and advocacy to advance healthcare delivery and to enhance resilience to infectious diseases. She is particularly interested in reducing inequities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights among women and the youth. At present, she is a Medical Epidemiologist at the CDC Foundation assigned to the District of Columbia’s COVID-19 Emergency Response. Thembi earned a medical degree from the University of Malawi and a master’s degree in public health from Washington University in St. Louis. She also completed a Global Health Corps Fellowship with New York City’s Health Department in the Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Infections. Prior to this, Thembi spent time as a physician in Malawi working and volunteering with adolescent populations at the community level. In her spare time, Thembi enjoys dancing, photography, and consulting for groundbreaking healthcare entrepreneurs.

Volunteers

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Caitlin Murphy

Web Designer

Caitlin graduated from the University of Dundee in 2013 with an MA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations. After obtaining her degree, she worked and volunteered extensively within marketing and fundraising in the non-profit sector before pursuing a career in digital design. Caitlin has since developed extensive skills in website development including HTML, CSS and PHP as well as a variety of digital marketing knowledge and experience, focusing on Search Engine Optimisation, Pay per Click marketing and social media management. In 2016, she gained a CPD accredited diploma in Digital Marketing and started her own design agency in Broughty Ferry, Scotland.

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John Ben Soileau

Carrazedo Partnership Coordinator

John-Ben works in the community engagement unit of the National Academy of Sciences and is completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University in his hometown of New Orleans. He conducted ethnographic research with peasant communities in the Brazilian Amazon from 2012-2016 and maintains sustained contact with those communities. He joined Minga in 2015 as coordinator for the Carrazedo project, in which he organized the implementation of a water distribution network and led a re-forestry initiative. His academic and policy interests converge through a commitment to community-engaged and empirically-based field research in the development of equitable and locally relevant social and environmental policies. John-Ben is passionate about grassroots projects for community empowerment and sustainable livelihoods. He also loves cooking and climbing trees.

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Mary Kate Cartmill

Partnerships M&E Coordinator

Mary Kate joined Minga as a practicum student in 2019 where she focused on developing strategies for the monitoring and evaluation of rural agriculture and menstrual hygiene projects in collaboration with our partner organization LUWODEA in Kamuli, Uganda. She continues her involvement as the Partnerships M&E Coordinator, working to support partner organizations in project tracking, monitoring, and assessing programmatic impact. In addition to her work with Minga, Mary Kate has experience working in food security, nutrition, and participatory community development in domestic and international settings and is currently engaged in research on inclusive education practices in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her main passions are centered around environmental sustainability, food sovereignty, and grassroots capacity building. She holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Board Members on Temporary Leave

jennifer tucker minga foundation

Jennifer Tucker

Board Member

Jennifer is currently in the process of becoming a “médico de ciencia y conciencia” (“doctor of science and conscious”) at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba. She looks forward to practicing community-based medicine, and she has demonstrated this passion throughout years of service to her own community in Northwest Indiana with her most recent service experience involving community and volunteer organizing through her local AmeriCorps program at the United Way of Porter County. With a foundational dedication to improve the health and social conditions of underserved and under-resourced communities both in the United States and abroad, Jennifer seeks to engage in and support community-level, sustainable projects that empower communities around the world to take charge of and maintain agency concerning their individual and population-wide health outcomes. In 2013, Jennifer received her B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis with minors in Spanish and Public Health.

karin frederik minga foundation

Karin Friederic

Secretary, Co-Founder

Karin has a long history of working at our first project site in Ecuador, and now visits at least once a year (with multiple Ecuadorian godchildren to show for it!). In 2011, Karin received her Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Arizona and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. A cultural anthropologist, Karin specializes in global health, human rights, development, gender, violence, and inequality. Her most recent research examines how ideas about human rights are changing both women and men’s experiences of and responses to intimate partner violence in rural Ecuador.

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