Advisory Board

The Grounds for Health advisory board provides valuable technical and practical advice and guidance. The team of experts in coffee, women’s health, global public health, story-telling, and communications helps expand our breadth of experience and knowledge.

Unlike our Board of Directors, the Advisory Board members cannot vote nor do they have fiduciary responsibilities. But, like the members of the Board of Directors, these individuals are dedicated to Grounds for Health’s mission of reducing the unacceptably high rates of cervical cancer in coffee producing regions and beyond.

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Advisory Board

Julia Alvarez

Award-winning Author and Educator
Vermont

Julia Alvarez is the author of several novels, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, as well as a book of essays, Something to Declare, and several poetry books including The Woman I Kept to Myself.  She has also written for children, and young adults, most recently Before We Were Free and Finding Miracles.  With her husband, Bill Eichner, she has established a sustainable-farm-literacy project in her native Dominican Republic on which she has based her “green fable,” A Cafecito Story. She is also a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.

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Tina Berard

Vice President, Atlantic Specialty Coffee, Inc.
California

Tina Berard has been vice president of Atlantic Specialty Coffee, Inc. since its inception in 1996. Atlantic Specialty,  a San Francisco Bay Area company that imports green coffee, is a member of the multinational Ecom Coffee Group with mills and exporting offices in every major coffee-producing region around the globe. Ms. Berard specializes in sustainable coffees and  environmental and socially responsible programs. From 1985-1992, Ms. Berard served as vice president of Berard Trading Inc., and from 1992-1996, was chief operations officer of Berard Corporation. Ms. Berard has nearly 25 years experience in specialty coffee, serving as an active member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the National Coffee Association (NCA), as well as the Pacific Coast Coffee Association (PCCA), where she acted as president from 2002-2003. A native Californian, she is recognized for her active involvement with many local civic organizations, community service programs, and the Catholic Diocese.

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Sally Grooms Cowal

Senior Vice President, Global Health, American Cancer Society
Georgia

Sally Grooms Cowal is currently the Senior Vice President for Global Health at the American Cancer Society, where she leads efforts to reduce the global burden of cancer through control, prevention, early treatment and effective global partnerships. Prior to her position at the American Cancer Society, Cowal was Senior Vice President and Chief Liaison Officer at Population Services International (PSI), overseeing PSI’s New Business Development, Advocacy, Corporate Marketing, and Communications Departments. Ms. Cowal had a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service in which she served in India, Colombia, Israel, New York, Mexico, Washington, and Trinidad and Tobago, where she acted as Ambassador under Presidents Bush and Clinton. She became one of the founders of UNAIDS, serving as its deputy director for four years, prior to joining PSI. She lives with her husband in Washington.

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Peter Eisner

Author and Journalist
Maryland

Peter Eisner is an award-winning author and journalist with years of experience as a foreign correspondent. His most recent books are The Pope’s Last Crusade and The Italian Letter. He has worked as an editor and writer for PBS World Focus, the Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press. He was also the founder of two on-line news agencies: The Public I and Newscom. He currently lives in the Washington, DC area.

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Francis Fote, MD

Co-founder, Grounds for Health, Obstetrician/Gynecologist – Retired
Arizona

Along with board member Dan Cox, Dr. Fote founded Grounds for Health after a trip to Mexico in 1996. Through the years he has lent the organization indispensable insight, calling on over 50 years of experience in women’s health. He is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist who currently lives in Arizona.

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Lynne Gaffikin, PhD

President, Evaluation and Research Technologies for Health (EARTH) Inc.
Consulting Associate Professor, Stanford University

California

Lynne Gaffikin is an epidemiologist who has worked for over 25 years to help improve maternal and child health in developing countries. Notably, Dr. Gaffikin served five years with Jhpiego as an advisor to their cervical cancer prevention work where she led groundbreaking work that demonstrated the feasibility of VIA and the screen-and-treat method. She also served as Jhpiego’s Director of Research and Evaluation. Following her tenure at Jhpiego, Ms. Gaffikin worked as a technical advisor to the USAID/Madagascar mission to help strengthen linkages between family planning, health and conservation initiatives. In 1996, she founded her own research and evaluation organization, EARTH Inc., which provides technical assistance related to initiatives focusing on women’s reproductive health; maternal child health; population health, poverty and the environment; and the interface of human and livestock and wildlife health. She is currently a consulting associate professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine and provides support to the Woods Institute’s INOGO effort.

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Yvette Martas, MD

Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Clinical Trainer
Connecticut

Yvette Martas has worked in women’s health as a obstetrician/gynecologist and clinical trainer for over 20 years. She has held numerous teaching appointments at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York University School of Medicine. In addition, she has worked as a director of women’s health services at Bellevue Hospital and the Women’s Health Services of New York University. Dr. Martas has been active in global health projects in Latin America and the Caribbean since founding the Honduras Project for Medical Students in 2002. She is also a co-founder of the Honduran Health Organization, Asociación Para el Desarrollo Integral de La Comunidad. Dr. Martas has been volunteering with Grounds for Health on cervical cancer prevention campaigns in Latin America since 2006.

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Armetha Pihlstrom

Coffee Segment Manager, Cargill Foodservice North America – Truvia
Minnesota

Armetha Pihlstrom is the Coffee Segment Manager with Cargill Foodservice North America-Truvia. She has been with Cargill since 2008 in various roles, including with Cargill Corn Milling North America as the Human Resources Process Improvement and with Special Projects; with the Plant Ops HR team as the Senior HR Administrator; and with the Salt Food Service Sales team as an Account Representative. She also serves on the leadership team for Cargill’s Ebony Council. Mrs. Pihlstrom dedicates a great deal of time to various volunteer endeavors including: National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Women in Foodservice, Society of Human Resources Management, Twin Cities Society of Human Resources Management, American Society for Training & Development, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Corner Stone, Feed My Starving Children, and Adult Options Education. Mrs. Pihlstrom lives in Minneapolis.

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Harshad Sanghvi, MD

Vice President & Medical Director, Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University)
Maryland

Harshad Sanghvi is currently the Vice President and Medical Director for Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University. He has extensive experience assisting more than 25 low-resource countries to adopt evidence-based guidelines, design training systems, develop health trainers and leaders, scale up training programs, and seek innovative solutions to improve the performance of health services for women. He is the main contributor to “Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Manual for Doctors and Midwives” and a contributing author in Managing Newborn Problems of the Integrated Management of Pregnancy and Childbirth (IMPAC) series of manuals published by WHO which is now available in 18 languages. He has more than 200 publications in international journals covering family planning, maternal health and cervical cancer. Dr. Sanghvi has also participated on expert and technical committees at WHO, UNICEF, the National Institutes of Medicine and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a senior professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Before joining Jhpiego, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nairobi.

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Howard S. Weiss

General Manager, Texpak Inc.
New Jersey

Howard is currently the General Manager of Texpak Inc., which exclusively represents Scolari Engineering S.p.A. in North America. For more than 20 years now, Howard has been visiting coffee companies across the U.S. and Canada, successfully selling Scolari coffee roasters, grinders, and ancillary equipment to several of the premier coffee companies in the industry. Before his involvement with Scolari, Howard sold materials to the coffee and tea industry and before that he provided packaging engineering to Scott Paper, General Foods, and Tetley Inc. For several years, Howard has helped to enable Grounds For Health to participate in the many of the coffee trade shows in held in the U.S., to further “spread the word” to the coffee community. He is a holder of both a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering.

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From Salma Hayek, Former Advisory Board Member:

As a woman and a mother, I believe in speaking out strongly and passionately whenever possible to help diminish the suffering of women and children all over the world.

Just as I want to be there for my daughter, I want all mothers to be there for their children, because every child deserves to have a mother in her life. Cervical cancer has cut short these relationships far too often in poorer parts of the world — even in areas of my native Mexico — where women don’t have the same access to health care as women do in the U.S.

Grounds for Health’s cervical cancer screening, treatment and training programs successfully address this problem; and, by bringing life-saving care to mothers — and future mothers — who are the lifeblood of their families, they are saving daughters, sons, husbands and communities.