USA-Based Staff

Ellen Starr, MSN, WHNP

Executive Director

Ellen Starr started her relationship with Grounds for Health as a volunteer preceptor for clinical training in Tanzania and ultimately became Tanzania Program Manager. Before becoming Executive Director, she acted as Clinical Director, providing oversight and direction in the clinical practices of Grounds for Health.

She is a Nurse Practitioner with over 30 years’ experience working in women’s health with a focus in gynecology and family planning. During this time she has worked as a provider at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England where she moved through the management ranks and ultimately became Vice President of Health Center Operations. In these roles, she developed strong leadership and management skills while continuing her clinical practice.

Ellen holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MSN from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.

Kathy Hollandsworth

Administration Manager

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Kathy brings more than 30 years of administrative management experience to Grounds for Health. Kathy spent over 20 years as the Operations Director at Laureate Learning Systems, Inc., a Vermont-based company dedicated to publishing innovative software specifically designed to improve the lives of children and adults with special needs. During her tenure at Laureate, as the company’s revenues grew, Kathy implemented numerous systems to improve function, efficiency and productivity. She looks forward to doing the same for Grounds for Health as the organization expands its reach and impact. 

Justin Mool

Communications Specialist

Justin works as a contractor for Grounds for Health and manages its Websites, Facebook page and all marketing campaigns, including print ads, the annual report and the E-newsletter. Grounds for Health is Justin’s first real venture into the nonprofit sector and is a welcomed addition to his client base at Discern Marketing, Inc, where he is currently President. Prior to Grounds for Health, Justin spent three years as a content manager at outdoor gear etailer Mr. Mool graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Northwestern University.

In-Country Staff

Dagmawi Iyasu Eminetu

Program Manager – Africa

Dagmawi Iyasu Eminetu spent his early days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and lived in the United States for 12 years until his return in 2004. Dagmawi’s prior experience, spanning biochemistry, coffee and public health, was the ideal preparation for a career with Grounds for Health. Dagmawi has worked in the US and East Africa since 1998 and held multiple positions as Cancer Researcher, Country Program Advisor and Director, Public Health Consultant, and Master Coffee Roaster before joining Grounds for Health in September 2016 as Africa-based Program Manager. Dagmawi specialized in program evaluation and organizational development, with a focus on health rights and services for marginalized groups such as women, young people, and pastoral communities. Dagmawi has worked with teaching and research institutions, UN agencies, public donors, private foundations, NGOs, and private businesses. Dagmawi has also published articles and commentaries in international journals on diverse health and policy related topics such as DNA damage and repair, sexual behavior, and traffic safety. Dagmawi is fluent in English and Amharic.

Ashenafi Argata, MPH

Program Coordinator, Ethiopia

Ashenafi Argata has 28 years of technical and managerial experience in the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia. His previous experience includes heath center staff nurse, health center technical coordinator, head of a district health office, program coordinator for zonal health department and tropical diseases consultant for WHO. Ashenafi is committed to working with the rural communities and believes that they are the primary change agents for any health intervention. Ashenafi holds a Master of Public Health in field epidemiology from Addis Ababa University and a BA in public health from Dilla University and nursing diploma from Jimma University. He is fluent in English, Amharic and Sidamigna.

Amare Assefa

Finance and Administration Officer, Ethiopia

Amare Assefa comes to Grounds for Health with 14 years of accounting experience working with non-profits in Ethiopia. Along with his knowledge of finance and administration, he possesses a strong background in award and budget management and in donor compliance. He holds a Masters degree in Accounting and Finance from Hawassa University.  He is fluent in English, Amharic and Sidamigna.

Evah Maina, MS, NP

Program Coordinator

Evah Maina is from Kenya and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing and Public Health, a Master’s degree in Public Reproductive Health, and postgraduate diploma in project management. She comes to Grounds for Health with seven years’ experience as a nurse and nursing manager with both private and public health facilities and national and international NGOs.

Abiy Semunigus Dejene, MS

Community Coordinator, Ethiopia

Abiy Semunigus Dejene is a licensed public health educator with more than nine years of experience in higher education and education projects. In 2004, Abiy obtained his Master of Science in rural development and also holds a bachelor’s degree in public health education and promotion, a diploma in English language, and certificates in project management/public health. Before joining Grounds for Health, Abiy was working in Hawassa with SOS children’s village program as a program officer and as a country manager for Student Leaders of the World, Inc. Abiy has experience working as a vocational counselor, English and Amharic language teacher, consultant and trainer in governmental and non-governmental organizations and as a freelancer in local mass media. Abiy is passionate about development management, leadership and communication, particularly in the areas of health, education, research and capacity building. Abiy speaks English, Amharic and Sidamigna.

Mesfin Wana

Clinical Coordinator – Ethiopia

Mesfin Wana is an experienced health professional, who has over 13 years of experience in leading and managing health-related program. He has in-depth knowledge of issues related to maternal, neonatal and child health, HIV/AIDS/PMTCT, immunizations, reproductive health and disease surveillance. Mr. Wana is also an expert within the fields of infection prevention and family health care. Mr. Wana is a skillful clinician and manager who brings an excellent focus on supportive supervision and clinical quality assurance and improvement. 

Demis Berhan Wubye

Clinical Coordinator, Ethiopia

Demis Berhan Wubye is an experienced Senior Clinical Nurse with over 16 years of experience in public health. Through the years Demis has assumed various technical and managerial responsibilities, including HMIS Focal Person, Admission and Discharge Officer, Head Nurse for multiple departments, Matron and ART Nurse. Demis also has extensive experience in coordinating and facilitating different outreach programs with the health sector authorities at various levels. Demis has Bachelor Degrees in Nursing and Sociology and Social Work from Haromaya and Jimma Universities, respectively. He also has a Diploma in Project Management from Alison University in Ireland and has completed all the requirements for MPH from Jimma University via Addis Continental Institute of Public Health. Demis is curious to learn and practice in clinical activities and participate in communication, research and capacity building areas. Demis speaks Affan Oromo, Amharic and English.

Aster Tilahun Zeleke

Clinical Coordinator, Ethiopia

Aster Tilahun Zeleke is a Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years of experience in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Aster has worked with both local and international NGOs in Ethiopia as a Clinical Nurse, SRH Service Provider and Counsellor, Project Supervisor, and Head of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Facility. Aster is passionate about increasing primary healthcare services and has special interest in SRH rights and access to the needy and underserved populations. Aster holds a Diploma in Public Health Nursing and Bachelor Degree in Nursing from Haromaya University and MPH from Debre Markos University. Aster currently works as a Clinical Specialist in Grounds for Health in the Cervical Cancer Prevention Project in Oromia, Ethiopia. Aster speaks Affan Oromo, Amharic, and English.

Evah Maina



Program Coordinator, Nicaragua

Marlene is a licensed registered nurse (Licenciada) with a postgraduate diploma (completed in Spain) in Social Development and Management for the Promotion of Human Rights of Children, Adolescents and Youth. Her technical skills include micro-computing and graphic design. Throughout Marlene’s career she has worked in multicultural environments with humanitarian organizations such as Doctors without Borders, Plan International, as well as local organizations in Nicaragua. Although her titles have varied from health educator to administrator of health centers and hospitals to administration of the Women’s Center of Ixchen in Cuidad Sandino, Marlene’s focus has always been in cervical and breast cancer prevention, family planning, HIV-AIDS prevention and domestic violence. She brings strong skills in administration, community mobilization, and inter-institutional management with Ministry of Health, local leaders, social organizations and cooperatives.

Coordinadora General de Programas, Nicaragua

Es licenciada, Enfermera registrada con post grado en Promoción de los Derechos de la Niñez, Adolescencia y Juventud y, en Gerencia para el Desarrollo Social realizado en España. Es técnica en micro computación y Diseñadora gráfica. Ha trabajado en ambientes multiculturales con experiencia laboral en organismos humanitarios como Médicos sin Fronteras, Plan Internacional y organismos locales de Nicaragua. Ha desempeñado cargos de educadora, administración de Centros de salud, jefatura en hospitales y la dirección del Centro de Mujeres Ixchen en Ciudad Sandino, trabajando las áreas de Prevención del Cáncer de útero y de mamas, Planificación Familiar, VIH-Sida y no a la violencia hacia las Mujeres. Posee fortalezas: en Administración, Formación de líderes Comunitarios, conformación de red de casas bases, Gestiones interinstitucionales ante el MINSA, Alcaldías, organizaciones sociales y cooperativas.


Clinical Consultants

Susan Hollinger, MSN, WHNP

Susan Hollinger is a certified nurse practitioner who has been providing clinical services in women’s health for 25 years. She was educated at Boston College and received her Master’s degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She spent 10 years living and working on the south island of New Zealand where she certified as a midwife, and taught nursing. In that role she developed curriculum and taught primary care, physical assessment and community case management skills. With an expertise in reproductive health care, she has provided direct clinical services in non-profit and private practice, and has held both leadership and management positions. She is an active member of ASCCP and AUGS.

Susan began as a volunteer with Grounds for Health in 2009 when she was involved in teaching, mentoring and campaign organization. She currently works as a Clinical Consultant providing clinical oversight during screening and treatment campaigns in Ethiopia.

Erica Liebermann, MSN, ANP

Erica Liebermann is a nurse practitioner with over 15 years experience in women’s health care. At Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts, both as a nurse practitioner and as Health Services Director, she focused on providing high quality family planning and abortion services. She trained and supervised nurses and nurse practitioners, precepted students, and lectured on medication abortion to students and practicing clinicians. In her current gynecology practice she performs colposcopy and has developed a growing interest in HPV and cervical cancer. She is a member of the ASCCP and serves as a resource to her colleagues regarding abnormal pap management.

Since 2011, Ms. Liebermann has worked as a clinical trainer with Grounds for Health, on several cervical cancer prevention projects in Mexico and Nicaragua. She currently works as a Clinical Consultant. Ms. Liebermann is fluent in Spanish and French.

Elisa Vandervort, MSN, FNP

Elisa Vandervort is a nurse practitioner with 15 years experience as a primary care provider. For more than 20 years, Elisa has also worked internationally and domestically with community-based organizations engaged in issues of social justice. She is passionate about increasing primary health care access for underserved populations, and has a particular interest in reproductive health care equity and access. Elisa currently lives in central Tanzania where she is training student midwives and nurses with Peace Corps and Seed Global Health at the University of Dodoma. She holds a BA from Cornell University and a MSN from the Yale University School of Nursing.

Elisa worked as a senior member of Grounds for Health’s program team from 2009-2012, focusing on programs in Tanzania, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. Her current role is as a consultant with an emphasis on high quality clinical training. Elisa is fluent in Spanish.