Peter Navario, PhD, MPH
Executive Director


Peter Navario is Executive Director at HealthRight International and Director of Global Health Strategy, Research Scientist, and Associate Research Professor at the College of Global Public Health at New York University. He was previously technical advisor at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and a Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Navario has extensive field experience, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where he has worked on health system capacity building initiatives in more than 15 countries. He holds a PhD in Health Economics from the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town, and an MPH in Global Health from the School of Public Health at Yale University.

Danette O’Connell, MBA
Director of Finance and Administration


Danette O’Connell is the Director of Finance and Administration for HealthRight International, a global health NGO dedicated to empowering marginalized communities to live healthier lives. She oversees the organization’s finance, budgeting, operations, human resources, administration, and information technology.

Prior to joining HealthRight, Ms. O’Connell worked as the Director of Finance and Operations at the Rodel Foundation of Delaware. In this role, Danette worked with a number of nonprofits the Rodel Foundation funded to help them start, grow, and become more efficient by increasing each organization’s revenue and operational efficiency, improving budgeting, and creating processes and procedures for compliance. Before the Rodel Foundation, Ms. O’Connell led a start-up technology company, Grok Technology, where she oversaw the creation of a nationwide wireless network and managed a team of 20 employees. Ms. O’Connell brings more than twenty years of experience leading nonprofit and for-profit organizations through successful launches and rapid growth, including eight years of experience overseeing finance and administration for nonprofit organizations.

Ms. O’Connell holds a Master of Business Administration in International Business, a Bachelor of Business Administration, and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Management.  In addition to her work, she organizes regular Nonprofit Executive Director Roundtable meetings in New York and volunteers as a fundraiser for international, educational, and humanitarian programs.

Castillo_photo (2)Theresa Castillo, EDD MA CHES
Program Director – Women and Children’s Health


Theresa P. Castillo has been working globally in the fields of gender, social justice, and health equity for nearly 20 years. Her expertise includes cultural rights, adolescent health, sexual & reproductive health, violence prevention, and community development among vulnerable populations. Working throughout Asia, Africa, and North America, she has collaborated with various non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, and Ministries of Health to build local capacity and to strengthen public health systems. Her career has focused on immigrant, refugee, and indigenous women and girls’ health issues. Dr. Castillo has served on several health equity committees, peer-review journals, and presented globally, with publications on gender integration and health disparities. Early in her career, she served as a Maternal Health Specialist in Turkmenistan, Morocco, and Mali with the US Peace Corps. She holds a master’s and doctoral degree in Public Health Education from Columbia University.


Sally Guttmacher, PHD
Senior Technical Advisor for Women and Children’s Health


Dr. Sally Guttmacher is a Professor of Public Health at NYU and a Senior Technical Advisor for HealthRight International. Her research interests include policy and prevention of chronic and infectious diseases; poverty and public health; rights of migrants; reproductive health rights; women’s health and evaluation. Much of her research in the past several years has been in the Cape Town Metro area of South Africa. Dr. Guttmacher is currently involved in two research projects in South Africa. One is on the integration of TB and HIV clinics in the Cape Town Metro are which she is doing with her Doctoral Student Jenny Uyei. The second is examining the health and educational risk faced by the youth from Zimbabwe who are currently refugees in South Africa. Dr. Guttmacher is also involved in the evaluation of a training program for NPs in Title 10 clinics. She has just published a book, “Community Based Health Interventions” with Pat Kelly and Yumary Ruiz, Jossey Bass, 2010. Dr. Guttmacher is a member of the Board of Public Health Examiners, NAF, and the Immediate Past President of the Council on Public Health Programs.

JoannaJoanna Pozen, JD/MPH
Director, Health and Human Rights Initiative/ Senior Technical Advisor


Joanna is an international public health lawyer and human rights specialist, and an Assistant Research Professor at NYU’s College of Global Public Health.  She is also the co-founder of the Restore Cup, an innovative medical device to aid women suffering from obstetric fistula.

Joanna brings over 15 years of experience at the intersection of international human rights law and public health to HealthRight. She has conceived and led projects that inform the strategic development of health and human rights policy at the United Nations and in a range of international and post-conflict settings. She previously served as Legal Advisor to the former UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, UN Women’s HIV and Health Policy Specialist, and Supervising Staff Attorney at NYU School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. She holds a Jurist Doctorate (JD) from NYU and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University.


Talia Markowitz, MPH
Program Manager – Human Rights Clinic


Talia Markowitz is the Program Manager for the Human Rights Clinic (HRC) at HealthRight International. Talia cemented her passion for serving vulnerable migrant populations while working as an immigration paralegal, where she assisted hundreds of asylum seekers and other survivors of trauma in their immigration applications. She has conducted research in multiple Latin American countries, including with a psychosocial program for internally displaced women in Colombia and with a nationwide child protection initiative in El Salvador. Most recently, Talia served as the HRC Program Associate, coordinating operations in the New York metro area. Talia obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Skidmore College and her Master’s in Public Health in Forced Migration and Health from Columbia University. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. 


Alex Bragg, MPH
Program Officer


Alex Bragg joined HealthRight International in 2015 as the Intern Coordinator for the Last Mile Populations Lab and later transitioned to Program Officer in 2016. She works closely with the Program Director of Women and Children’s Health to develop grant proposals and support programs focused on the health of four priority populations: LGBTI, women and children, at-­risk adolescents, and migrants. Previously, she was a research assistant at Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and New York University Langone Medical Center in the Department of Population Health, where her research focused on obesity and health disparities. Alex holds a BS in Community Health from the University of North Florida and MPH in Global Health from the College of Global Public Health at New York University.

Brenda Scanzillo, MEd
Development Manager


Brenda is HealthRight International’s Development Manager, focusing on fundraising through strategic initiatives. Before moving into the nonprofit field, Brenda worked in higher education, holding positions at Simmons College, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. Most recently she relocated to New York City from the Bay Area, where she worked as Grants Manager at the Bay Area Discovery Museum and as Associate Director of Institutional Giving at Larkin Street Youth Services, the largest provider of wraparound services for homeless youth in San Francisco. Brenda attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA for both undergraduate and graduate school; she holds a B.S. in Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and an M.Ed specializing in underserved populations and nontraditional student groups.

Katherine La Puente, MPH
Program Coordinator – Human Rights Clinic


Katherine La Puente is the Program Coordinator for the Human Rights Clinic serving the New York metro area. In New York City, she recruited student volunteers and coordinated hypertension screenings for at-risk communities. She worked as an interpreter and advocate for a free clinic serving uninsured and immigrant patients. Her work abroad has involved researching access to sexual and reproductive health services for rural-to-urban migrant women in Ghana and providing recreational activities and English language opportunities for migrant domestic workers and women in the United Arab Emirates. She has language proficiency in Spanish, French, and Arabic. She received her MPH in Global Health and BS in Global Public Health and Science from New York University.

Field Leadership

Gladys Mwende Munuve, MA, MSc
Country Director – Kenya


Gladys Mwende Munuve holds a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Peace Studies (Conflict Resolution & International Politics & Security Studies) from University of Bradford, UK, and a Master of Science (MSc) in Development Management from Open University, UK. In addition, Mwende holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies from Kimmage Manor Development Centre, Dublin, Ireland. She is a winner of Dr Arthur Clark Peace Fellowship award, Calgary University, Canada.

Gladys Mwende is a peace scholar and a development and humanitarian practitioner with over 20 years of field experience. She has extensive experience designing and managing people and projects in multi-sectoral programmes including Food Security (agriculture and livestock, animal health & disease control), Health (maternal, newborn and child health, reproductive health/family planning, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, non-communicable diseases malaria control), Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH), Education, and Economic Empowerment. In Kenya, Mwende has run countrywide operations implementing programs in both humanitarian and development sectors covering several counties. Lastly, Mwende has served people such as pastoralists, people with disability, youth, women, minority groups, and internally displaced persons and refugees.

Halyna Skipalska PortraitHalyna Skipalska, MA
Country Director – Ukraine


Halyna Skipalska is HealthRight Country Director for Ukraine and the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health. She has 13 years of experience working in non-governmental organizations in Ukraine, with a focus on prevention of HIV/AIDS and provision of care for vulnerable women and girls. Prior to assuming the role of Country Director in 2009, she coordinated HealthRight’s USAID-funded MAMA+ Project, preventing abandonment of children born to HIV-positive women. Ms. Skipalska graduated with honors from the Lviv National State University named for Ivan Franko, and completed post-graduate work at the Lviv State Institute of Information Infrastructure, teaching at the Lviv Polytechnica National University. Ms Skipalska held fellowships with the Austrian and Swedish governments, and with UNESCO at the Technical Institute in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.


Hari Rana, MPH
Country Coordinator, Nepal


Hari Rana is HealthRight Country Coordinator for HealthRight Nepal.  He has a Master in Public Health (MPH) from Adventist University of Philippines, Silang, Cavite, Philippines and has worked in public health programs since 1996, developing, managing, and evaluating projects in different district of Nepal. Mr. Rana worked with Save the Children for twelve years in several management positions.  Under HealthRight’s Partnership for Maternal and Newborn Health, he provided technical assistance to HealthRights’ partner NGO MIRA in operations research for the health facility management strengthening and maternal and newborn care quality improvement programs. Mr. Rana currently leads HealthRight’s World Health Organization-supported neonatal near miss review project in Arghakhanchi, Nepal.