2013 Faculty Biographies

Faculty Biographies

Marc Altshuler
Marc Altshuler, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Altshuler also serves as an Attending Physician and the Associate Resident Director for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Altshuler’s volunteer work began in the late 1990’s with his involvement in Jeff HOPE, Jefferson Medical College’s free student-run clinic serving the homeless community of Philadelphia. Dr. Altshuler’s passion for the underserved community’s health has expanded beyond the homeless population to the refugee population in Philadelphia. In 2007, Dr. Altshuler started and is now serving as the Director of the Jefferson Center for Refugee Health wherein he works with refugee resettlement programs in Philadelphia to initiate health screens and provide other much- needed services for refugees in Philadelphia. Moving forward, Dr. Altshuler is interested in improving immigrant access to healthcare, educating the healthcare community on cultural competency, and improving the healthcare outcomes for all immigrant populations in the US.

Anna Banerji
Dr Anna Banerji is a pediatric’s infectious and tropical disease specialist and works as a global health specialist. She has trained in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Harvard University, where she completed her MPH in International Health. In 2007 she created the Immigrant Health and Infectious Disease Clinic, a clinic for immigrant and refugee children. In 2009 she created the Canadian Refugee Health Conference which evolved with their American counter parts to become North American Refugee Health Conference in 2012. She has been studying lower respiratory tract infections for the past 18 years. Her research among Inuit children have resulted in changes to the Canadian Paediatric Society guidelines for RSV prevention. She is a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society, First Nations Inuit and Métis committee, which has a mission to advocate for improved health conditions for Indigenous children. Dr. Banerji has travelled extensively around the world including work in Haiti after the earthquake. Dr. Banerji uses a human rights framework for her work, research and education and is often an advocate for vulnerable populations. She has won several awards including the “promising graduate” for Harvard School of Public Health in 2003, the U of T Educational Excellence for Community Care Award in 2008 and the Canadian Public Health Association Certificate of Merit in 2010. In January 2012, she was inducted into the Order of Ontario.

Jill Benson
Dr. Jill Benson AM MB.BS.DCH.FACPsychMed.MPH Jill is Director of the Health in Human Diversity Unit in the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. She has been a GP for over 30 years and currently works with refugees at the Migrant Health Service in Adelaide; in the remote Aboriginal communities of Yalata, Oak Valley and Tjuntjuntjara and as a WHO consultant teaching mental health in Vanuatu. Jill has worked in refugee health for the last 11 years, originally at STTARS (Survivors of Torture and Trauma Service) and for the last 10 years at the Migrant Health Service where she is Senior Medical Officer. She was part of the Australian Society of Infectious Diseases writing group who put together the ‘Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Infection in Recently Arrived Refugees’ and has written a book entitled ‘Mental Health Across Cultures. A practical guide for health professionals’.

Martin Cetron
Martin Cetron, MD, is the Director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The DGMQ mission is to prevent introduction and spread of infectious diseases in the U.S. and to prevent morbidity and mortality among immigrants, refugees, migrant workers, and international travelers. Dr. Cetron has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications and received numerous awards for his work since joining CDC in 1992 including Research America’s Public Health Heroes Award 2009 and the 2010 Tufts University School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Distinguished 25th Year Alumnus. Dr. Cetron holds faculty appointments in the Division of Infectious Disease at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1981 where he was a Biochemistry Major and Senior Fellow. Dr. Cetron received his M.D. from Tufts University in 1985. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington before joining the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and becoming a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) in 1992. His primary research interests are global health and migration with a focus on emerging infections, tropical diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases in mobile populations. Dr. Cetron’s program is responsible for providing medical screening and disease prevention programs to 80,000 refugees prior to U.S. resettlement and over 1 million immigrants annually. Additionally, DGMQ publishes the textbook Health Information for International Travel, providing health promotion and disease prevention guidance to travelers globally. Dr. Cetron has also been a leader in public health emergency preparedness and response activities at CDC and is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health & Kennedy School of Government’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute. Since 1992, he has led several domestic and international outbreak investigations, conducted epidemiologic research in numerous countries, and been involved in high profile international emergency responses. He has played a leadership role in CDC responses to intentional and naturally-acquired emerging infectious disease outbreaks including the 2001 Anthrax bioterrorism incident, the 2003 global SARS epidemic, the 2003 U.S. Monkeypox outbreak, the 2005 Hurricane Katrina/ Rita response and 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, 2010-11 Haiti Earthquake / Cholera Responses and 2011Japan Tsunami-Radiation Response. Dr. Cetron is a consultant to several WHO Expert Committees.

Gina Csanyi-Robah
Gina Csanyi-Robah is the executive director of the Roma Community Centre based in Toronto. She is from a Canadian Hungarian Romani background Her grandparents were refugees to Canada during the 1956 Revolution in Hungary. By profession she is an educator with 13 years of teaching experience in the private and public school system in Toronto. Gina began her work as a Romani Human rights activist in 2004 in Budapest, Hungary at the European Roma Rights Centre based there. Her involvement with Toronto’s Roma Community Centre began in 2007. Two years ago, she was responsible for the opening of the first independent Roma Centre office in Canada. Gina’s work advocating on be where in Budapest, Hungary.Gina’s advocacy on behalf of Roma asylum seekers in Canada has enabled her to gain a tremendous amount of support for the plight of the community, given her two opportunities to testify to the Canadian government, and earned her two awards for her work. In 2012 she received a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Advocacy Award.

Crista Johnson-Agbakwu
Dr. Crista Johnson-Agbakwu is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Maricopa Integrated Health System, Phoenix, AZ, where she is Founder and Director of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC). She is also a Research Assistant Professor of the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC), which is a NIH-funded National Center of Excellence in minority health and health disparities at Arizona State University. She received her undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University, medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the George Washington University Medical Center. She subsequently completed a fellowship in Female Sexual Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and then became a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan where she obtained her Masters in Health and Health Care Research examining disparities in reproductive health care among refugees/immigrants through mixed-method Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). She has presented nationally and internationally on refugee women’s health, and the challenges faced by health care providers in the care of women with Female Genital Cutting (FGC). She is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) where she also serves as Chair of Online Services. Her current research incorporates CBPR to address health disparities among refugee women across many facets of health including women’s reproductive, preventive, sexual, and mental health. Through the RWHC, she has implemented a best practice model of care that is improving health care access and utilization, health literacy, community engagement, and health care provider cultural competency towards improved health outcomes for refugee women.

Rana Khan
Rana Khan is a human rights lawyer with a keen interest in and commitment to refugee protection, in particular the issues surrounding women and children. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in 1993, Rana worked in private practice before joining the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1994. Since joining the UNHCR Rana has worked as the Legal Officer for the region of Ontario. In this capacity, she observes the refugee policy and practice towards asylum seekers in her region. In conjunction with her duties as Legal Officer, Rana is also the UNHCR lead in Canada on Gender and Children issues. In addition to the work she has done for the UNHCR in Canada, Rana has also taken part in some of the organization’s international operations for refugee protection and humanitarian assistance. In 1998, acting as a UNHCR Protection Officer, Rana went on mission to Luau, Angola as part of a technical team that conducted refugee status determinations of Rwandan refugees. Rana again undertook a mission as a UNHCR Protection Officer in 1999, travelling this time to Kosovo. Her work on this mission included assessment of minority protection needs, facilitating reconciliation talks between conflicting groups, and drafting reports on assessment of humanitarian assistance needs. While continuing her work as Legal Officer with the UNHCR in Toronto, Rana is active in building and maintaining close working relationships with both government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

Mona Loutfy
Dr. Mona Loutfy is an Associate Professor and Clinician Scientist at Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto where she focuses on clinical HIV research. Her clinical practice is at the Maple Leaf Medical Clinic which cares for over 2,500 HIV- positive patients. Her area of research is in women and HIV with a particular focus on pre-conception, pregnancy, parenthood, access to care, stigma, and women’s and sexual health.

Jay MacGillivray
S. Jay MacGillivray, R.M. For more than 25 years, a midwife and activist-advocate for people and communities who are marginalized because of systemic barriers to health care access. One of Canada’s first registered Midwives; MacGillivray co-founded The Positive Pregnancy Programme with Dr. Mark Yudin, providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care to HIV-positive Mothers and their babies. In February 2011, Jay received the 2011 ‘Individual Casey Award’ which recognizes national excellence in Health-care Innovation, Social Justice and HIV/AIDS.

Jorge Martin
Dr. Jorge Martin Rossi was born in 1971 in Argentina. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Cordoba with a specialization in gynecology. He has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières since 2003 in Morocco, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mauritania and most recently in Mexico, since 2011. In most of these countries, he worked on programs of medical and humanitarian assistance for migrants and displaced people, with a special emphasis on reproductive health and infectious diseases.

Mara Rabin
Mara Rabin, MD is the Medical Director of Utah Health and Human Rights(UHHR), a non-profit organization, founded in 2003. It is a direct service and advocacy agency that promotes the health, dignity, and self-sufficiency of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants who have endured severe human rights abuses, including torture and war- related trauma. As Medical Director, Dr. Rabin advocates for UHHR clients, serves as a medical consultant to physicians who provide care to UHHR clients, leads a Wellness group for survivors, and provides forensic medical examinations for asylum seekers. In addition, she does outreach in the medical community to increase awareness among Utah’s health care providers on the unique health issues facing refugee and immigrant survivors of severe human rights abuses. In her private practice, Dr. Rabin has also been one of two physicians in the state of Utah to conduct health screenings on all newly arriving refugees. She has conducted over 4,000 screenings. She also provides primary care to many refugee and asylum seeker patients. She is an Adjunct Professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and helped develop a refugee health elective for medical students. Dr. Rabin has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP), and the refugee health advisory committee for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. In 2011 she received recognition from the Utah Refugee Services Office for her “invaluable contribution to improving the health of refugees resettled in Utah” and in 2012 was given Jewish Family Service’s “Tikkun Olam: Healing the World” award.

Meb Rashid
Dr. Rashid is one of the founders of the Christie Refugee Health Clinic. He is a member of the steering committee for the “Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health”-an organization that is developing evidence based guidelines for the assessment of newly arrived Canadians. He is also the founder of the Southern Ontario Refugee Health Network, an initative to bring together health care professionals in Southern Ontario with an interest in Refugee health. He is affiliated with the department of Family and Community Medicine at the UofT. He has had the opportunity to do clinical work in health care settings in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Nicaragua.

Danyaal Raza
Dr. Raza is family physician working in the Community Health Centre sector in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a former Global Health Family Medicine Fellow at the University of Toronto. In the fall, he will begin an MPH in Health & Social Behaviour at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bill Stauffer
William Stauffer MD, MSPH Dr. Bill Stauffer is an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota (UMN) with a primary appointments in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases. He also holds an appointment in the School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Community Health. He is clinical faculty in Infectious Diseases HealthPartners/Regions Hospital where he works in the Tropical and Travel Medicine Clinic. He is an expert in travel and tropical medicine working in clinical medicine, surveillance and policy development. In addition, he is a technical advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Global Health and Migration where he spearheads efforts to develop refugee guidelines for presumptive therapy and medical screening. He works extensively overseas in clinical medicine and in public health, most recently in Peru, Haiti, and in Tanzania, where he spent the 2007-2008 academic year.

Patricia Walker
Patricia F. Walker, MD, DTM&H has been since 1988 the Medical Director at HealthPartners Center for International Health, a nationally known refugee and immigrant health clinic. She attended Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, where she received a Graduate Travel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Internal Medicine. A recipient of numerous awards, she was honored in 2004 as one of the Top 100 Influential Health Care Leaders in Minnesota. She chaired the State of Minnesota Immigrant Health Task Force from 2002-2004, a state wide group of 70 experts who developed best practices in care for refugees and immigrants in Minnesota. These best practices are now being shared nationally and internationally. Dr. Walker has published multiple articles and book chapters on refugee and immigrant health, and co- edited a medical textbook published in October 2007, Immigrant Medicine, the first of it’s kind. She is an Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Disease and International Health in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and the Associate Medical Director of the Global Health Pathway. She serves as the Project Director for the Medtronic Foundation HealthPartners Equitable Care Fellows Program. Dr Patricia Walker has directed HealthPartners Travel Medicine program since 1988. She received her Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1997, and clinical tropical medicine as part of a Bush medical leadership Fellowship at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. She received her Certificate in Tropical Medicine and Travelers Health from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and a Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine from the International Society of Travel Medicine. She maintains an active practice in clinical care of refugees and immigrants. She speaks Thai and Cambodian, and enjoys teaching, learning from people all over the world, international travel and her family.

Mei-Ling Wiedmeyer
Mei-ling Wiedmeyer completed medical school at McGill University, then a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Women’s Health at the University of Toronto.

Mark Wise
Mark Wise works in North York as a family doctor and also practises travel and tropical medicine. He attended the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1978 after which he had the pleasure of working with Jay in the Tropical Disease Unit at TGH for several years. He is the medical advisor to several NGOs including CUSO International and has published two books for doctors and travellers on travel medicine. He has served on the board of Canadian Feed The Children for seven years. He has travelled exensively for work and pleasure – last trip was to Poland -, so has managed to visit most of the same places as his patients. His third grandchild has hopefully arrived by the time this bio is read!

Vanessa Wright
Ms. Vanessa Wright is currently working as a Nurse Practitioner at Women’s College Hospital’s Crossroads Clinic, where she provides comprehensive medical services to newly arrived refugee patients. She has also worked across a variety of community health centres in Toronto and provided primary health care and emergency nursing care in medically under-serviced First Nation communities in Northern Ontario. Vanessa worked as an Emergency Nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital from 2007-2012, and as a result became the nursing lead for the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration Emergency Medicine Team, where she supports the educational partnership between Addis Ababa University and the University of Toronto, as well as emergency medicine development in Ethiopia and the concept of emergency nursing. Her other professional experiences include working as a Field Nurse for Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan and Zambia. She also volunteers for the Health Bus at Sherbourne Health Centre, sits of the health advisory council for the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture and is an association member with Doctors Without Borders. When not participating in the above activities, Vanessa can be found riding her dutch bicycle around Toronto, visting art galleries and planting veggies in a volunteer garden.