Pure Earth staff work from our headquarters in New York City, and also globally in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
NEW YORK STAFF
|Richard Fuller President and Founder
Richard Fuller is an Australian-born, U.S.-based engineer, entrepreneur, and environmentalist best known for his work in global pollution remediation. He is founder and president of the nonprofit Pure Earth (formerly known as Blacksmith Institute) dedicated to solving pollution problems in low- and middle-income countries, where human health is at risk. Pure Earth focuses on polluted places where toxics cause significant public health risk, initiating projects that solve these exposures thus ensuring healthier lives for local inhabitants.
|Jack Caravanos, DrPH, CIH Director of Research
Dr. Jack Caravanos is presently Professor at the College of Global Public Health at NYU. He received his Master’s Degree in Environmental Health Engineering and proceeded to earn his DrPH from Columbia University. He is board certified in industrial hygiene (CIH) and prides himself as being a practicing field-based environmental health scientist. Since 2005, Dr. Caravanos has assisted the international NGO, Pure Earth, with its Toxic Site Inventory Program and has traveled to over 20 countries assisting partners in both the private and governmental sector in sampling and assessing environmental health threats from hazardous waste sites and operations. Dr. Caravanos conducted dozens of environmental health assessments of e-waste sites, backyard smelters, gold mining sites and tanneries.
|David Hanrahan Principal Technical Advisor
Hanrahan is an expert in water and wastewater planning, environmental engineering, pollution control and soil clean-up; technical director of Pure Earth; former lead environmental specialist, Environment Department, World Bank
|Angela Bernhardt Director, Communications
Angela leads the communications efforts for Pure Earth, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution and The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. She develops and implements digital products, social media and messaging strategy, global media relations and media partnerships in support of advocacy, awareness raising and development campaigns to bring attention to the global pollution crisis and promote solutions. She has 20 years of experience in communication, education and policy advocacy on a range of environmental and health issues holding positions in private corporations, nonnprofits and academia.
|Sandra Page-Cook Managing Editor, Journal of Health and Pollution
Sandra is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Health and Pollution (JH&P), an on-line journal published by Pure Earth
|Rachael Kupka Director, Strategy & Development
Rachael is responsible for developing Pure Earth’s relationships, strategy and funding initiatives with bilateral and multilateral agencies around the world. She also manages the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, and oversees is activities. Rachael has more than 12 years experience in nonprofit, program management, development and fundraising. Prior to Pure Earth, she worked at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Rachael holds a MA in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University, and a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Her interest in environment and environmental health stems from her upbringing in the leatherstocking region of upstate New York, near the Adirondack State Park. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
|Carol Sumkin Chief Development Officer
Carol has devoted the past 25 years to a career in the nonprofit field. Carol specializes in developing and implementing multi-million dollar strategic campaigns that raise diversified resources for nonprofit organizations. She has extensive experience developing Boards, managing fundraising events, writing grant proposals and budgets, and establishing administrative systems. As the Chief Development Officer at Pure Earth, Carol worked with the staff and Board to create the organization’s first strategic plan: The Campaign for 10 Million Lives. The goal is to raise $10 million to launch 35 pilot cleanup projects of toxic sites in key developing countries. Carol received a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from the New School for Social Research and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University.
| Eric Fecci CFO
Eric is a Financial professional with broad experience in all aspects of accounting, auditing and financial and systems management.
|Andrew McCartor Director of Global Policy and Planning and Regional Director for Southeast Asia
Andrew (Drew) McCartor leads the Health and Pollution Action Planning programs, as well as all regional projects and programs in South and East Asia. Drew is a lawyer and environmental health professional with nine years of field experience designing and leading environmental assessments and remediation projects at sites contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides, radionuclides and other chemicals. Drew has served in a variety of roles as Pure Earth since 2008, including Regional Director for the former Soviet Union. Drew helped coordinate the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health and frequently represents Pure Earth at relevant international events and conferences.
|Elena Rahona TSIP and Africa Program Coordinator, GAHP Research Associate
Elena has worked in nonprofits for over 15 years, including direct service work with HIV-positive adolescents, study coordination of an NIH-funded, nation-wide children’s environmental health study, and management of a global health institute within one of New York’s largest hospital systems/medical schools. At Pure Earth, Elena is a member of the Africa regional team and also helps coordinate the Toxic Sites Identification Program database. In addition, Elena oversaw the production of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health Report. She has a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a concentration in International Law and is an avid musician.
|Lara Crampe Director, Community Outreach
|Judith St. Fort Regional Director, Africa
Judith joined Pure Earth in 2016 and brings more than 15 years of experience in international development, with extensive expertise in program implementation, supervising teams, working with multiple donors and partners, and building staff capacity. She has managed programs across a diversity of technical areas, including HIV/AIDS, community development, emergency humanitarian assistance, refugee and IDPs support, gender based violence, livelihoods, water and sanitation and conflict transformation. Judith has led teams in Liberia, Rwanda, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Judith has a BA from Hunter College, NY, and completed Master’s courses in International Relations at City College, NY. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
|Petr Sharov, PhD Regional Director, Eastern Europe, Central Asia
Dr Sharov is a specialist with twenty years of experience working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East. His main area of expertise is Human Health Risk Assessment from exposure to heavy metals. He specializes on conducting environmental heavy metal contamination assessments, health risk assessments, designing and implementing remediation projects. He holds an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho and a PhD from the Far Eastern State University, Department of Ecology.
|Jen Marraccino Senior Director of Development
Jen joined Pure Earth in 2011 and brings over 20 years of fundraising experience at non-profits including the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Rockland County YMCA. As Senior Director of Development, Jen works on all aspects of fundraising for Pure Earth with a specialty in creating, managing and growing major events including Pure Earth’s Gala dinner and golf tournament. Jen graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Marketing. She is a mother of four and a community activist focused on causes related to children and education.
|Magdalene Sim Director, Communications
Magdalene handles press and outreach for Pure Earth and its projects. She oversees the production of the blog and newsletter, content for the website, and pens articles and other thought leadership pieces on behalf of the company. She also guides social media outreach and the development of videos and other special projects for clients. Magdalene holds a M.S. in marketing communications from Boston University.
|Karen McGill Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Karen has more than 20 years of international and nonprofit experience and has lived and worked on three continents. She is originally a native of Glasgow and is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art.
|Karti Sandilya Senior Advisor
An expert in development policy and strategy, Karti works closely with Pure Earth and international governments on Pure Earth’s effort to end toxic pollution in some of the world’s worst polluted places, focusing in particular on Pure Earth’s work on the World Bank’s Global Alliance for Legacy Pollution and Health initiative, a worldwide effort to clean up pollution left behind by past industrial activities.
|Lina Hernandez, MPH Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean
Lina is an Industrial Microbiologist with a certification in Epidemiology and a MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health. Before joining Pure Earth, Hernandez worked for the Colombian government at the National Institute of Food and Drug Monitoring (INVIMA) and at the National Institute of Health (INS). Hernandez has 10 years of experience in Public Health.
|Rhona McGill Accounting Assistant
At Pure Earth Rhona assists the accounting manager and the Budget Director and aids in the organization of special events. In addition to a broad knowledge of accounting software, Rhona holds a BA (Hons) in Interior Design from the Glasgow School of Art. She has an interest in graphic novels, prints, and illustration.
|Julius Ngalim Finance Manager
Julius is a Cameroonian based in the USA. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for about 5 years. Pure Earth has been pivotal in expanding his experience in nonprofit Finance. At Pure Earth, Julius ensures timely financial reporting for a number of complex projects in over 25 countries. His organizational style has been vital in supporting the accounting system. He was key in assisting the organization in its transition to a paperless reporting system. He keeps a positive atmosphere and ensures adequate and timely reporting. In his free time, he is an avid fan of Chelsea F.C.
|Emily Nash, MPH Regional Director, South Asia
Emily joined Pure Earth in early 2018. She implements programs in South Asia and supports the development of Health and Pollution Action Plans across the world. She is also heavily involved in Pure Earth’s research projects and publications. She brings experience in environmental health research and governance in a range of international settings. Emily earned a Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Cornell University and a Master’s of Public Health in environmental health from the University of Michigan.
The Pure Earth global team includes many experts from around the world, among them are lecturers, doctors, engineers, researchers and other pollution and public health experts, who bring with them knowledge of the local community. Many have worked with the environment ministries of their countries, and some are founders of local and regional NGOs. Meet some members of our global team below.
Regional and Country Program Coordinators
Yaw Amoyaw-Osei is Pure Earth’s expert in Ghana. He is the executive director of Green Advocacy Ghana, a local partner on our e-waste recycling center pilot project in Agbogbloshie. Yaw previously worked with Ghana’s environmental agency conducting research on e-waste and helping to raise awareness about the problem.
Khadidiatou Sy Djigo
Abdallah Ramadhani Mkindi is Pure Earth’s country coordinator in Tanzania. He has a background in human ecology. Since joining Pure Earth in 2012, Abdallah has worked with his local team to identify over 70 polluted sites contaminated with heavy metals, mainly mercury, which are impacting human health and the environment. Abdallah previously worked with a local NGO, Envirocare, advocating for pollution prevention.
While Budi Susilorini and her local team have assessed hundreds of hotspots in Indonesia, she tells us that there are still many more. Among her projects, Budi is working with Pure Earth in Indonesia to test the “Benguet” method, which eliminates the use of toxic mercury in the gold mining process. Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of gold. Over 300,000 artisanal miners (including many children) release more than 1000 tonnes of toxic mercury every year. She is also working to break the cycle of extreme lead poisoning in Pesarean, Indonesia. Read a full profile of Budi here.
Nicklaus Hariojati, Program Officer.
Larah Ortega Ibañez oversees a variety of projects for Pure Earth in the Philippines, including both research and cleanup. Larah is currently preparing for a large-scale project aimed at reducing heavy metal contamination in fishponds in the river systems surrounding Manila.
Promila Sharma Malik has been associated with Pure Earth since 2005 representing the organization in India, as well as one of its global initiatives, the Toxic Sites Identification Project (TSIP) in the South-Asia Region. She holds a degree in Environmental Sciences and has been involved in planning and monitoring various projects in different states of the country. Along with providing general management ,oversight and co-ordination between all sub-partners and the NY office, she provides research support to the head-office teams as well. Prior to Pure Earth, she has served Child Rights and You (CRY) and Pragya in various capacities providing development support to various programs run by the organisations in Rajasthan and Indian Himalayan Regions.
When an American plane went down in North Vietnam during the war, the story goes that a villager knew how to smelt down the plane for valuable aluminum.
Today, that village is one of thousands of toxic “craft” villages that dot the Vietnamese landscape. Duong Thi To is working with Pure Earth on a plan to clean up this polluting legacy.
EASTERN EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA
Ms. Lusine Taslakyan has twenty years of experience in water and environmental sector in Armenia and the Southern Caucasus. She has a Masters Degree in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, UK, MSc in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho, USA and MSc in Biology and Ecology from the Armenian State Pedagogical University. Ms. Taslakyan is specialized in natural resources management, policy development, river basin planning, trans-boundary cooperation, environmental impact assessment, pollution prevention, climate change and stakeholder relations. She has long term experience in promoting public awareness and participation in environmental decision making.
Dr. Rovshan Abbasov is an associate professor at Kazar University, teaching classes on environmental science, geography, disaster management, water resource management, climate chance, and related issues. Rovshan has consulted on projects for a variety of international organizations, including the World Bank and OXFAM. His team has identified and screened over 50 sites in the first year of Pure Earth’s Toxic Sites Identification Program in Azerbaijan. Pure Earth is now working with the relevant ministries in Azerbaijan to create a national strategy to address abandoned waste sites, and to design a pilot cleanup project.
In 2016, Pure Earth completed its first cleanup project in Azerbaijan—at a toxic beach along the Caspian sea in Sumgayit. “I believe this cleanup is a symbol of what can happen in other polluted areas in Azerbaijan. People here have been telling me that this gives them hope. I live miles away in Baku and I feel the same way.”
Indira Zhakipova has been working in the environmental field since 2003. Now she represents local NGO Ekois-Bishkek, and is part of Pure Earth’s team in Kyrgyzstan. Indira began as coordinator of the environmental information news portal www.ekois.net and went on to serve as International projects manager in Kyrgyzstan for organizations including Milieukontakt, Green Cross, FAO, UNEP, UNDP, WB, and EC. She has an excellent network in the Kyrgyz government, science community, NGO and business sector; and works diligently and passionately to get results on every project.
Dr. Naidansuren is the director of the Environment and Security Center of Mongolia (ESCM) and holds an MS in Environmental Science and a PhD in Risk Assessment and Disaster Management.
In 2009 Alena graduated with honors from Far Eastern State University, Academy of Marine Biology, Ecology, and Biotechnology, in Vladivostok, Russia. She has an MS in Ecology and is currently studying at the Far Eastern Federal University graduate school for her PdD, her thesis focuses on the assessment of environmental pollution.
For a number of years she worked at the public organization Far Eastern Environmental Health Fund (Russia), and took part in projects to reduce the risk of lead poisoning, the development of ecological tourism, and the promotion of eco-education. She also has years of experience working in a chemical analytics laboratory, and was engaged in the monitoring and regulation of emissions into the atmosphere from industrial enterprises. She has been with Pure Earth since 2012, and has been deeply engaged in the assessment of TSIP sites first in Russia, and now in all of the FSU region. Currently in addition to monitoring all incoming TSIP sites, Alena works on project and budget development.
Ulugov Umidjon Amonovichis (Umed) is a lawyer and the deputy director of the nonprofit group Youth of the 21st Century in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where he seems to know everyone!
He has consulted on a variety of international projects, and is active in many environmental and human rights advocacy issues. Umed is currently working on a proposal to help the government review its current chemicals policy and create a national strategy to identify and remediate toxic hotspots.
Valeriia Kovach, PhD is Pure Earth’s country coordinator in Ukraine. Since joining Pure Earth in 2014, Valeriia has worked to identify polluted sites contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, radio nuclides. Valeriia’s experience includes work with the Institute of Environmental Geochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in the Department of Environmental Problems, and on many national and international projects connected with rehabilitation and remediation of polluted areas. She has been awarded many national and international certificates, and received her PhD in Ecology in May 2015. Her areas of interest include environmental safety, nuclear safety and radiation protection.
Dr. Guido Condarco
Dr. Condarco specializes in occupational health, with experience in environmental health and development projects. He works with la Fundación Plagbol and teaches in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of San Andrés.
As our Colombia National Director, Alfonso has extensive experience in the topic of soil pollution and contaminated sites. He recently coordinated a group of experts who, at the request of the Ministry of Environment, designed a strategy to address the issue of contaminated legacy sites in Colombia (i.e. pasivos ambientales). Alfonso has great knowledge about the current legislation, programas and needs in this area.
Joya Emilie de Menezes Correia-Deur
|MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICAN, CARIBBEAN
Pure Earth is working in collaboration with the Mexican Government to solve a 500-year-old national toxic problem, and Daniel Estrada oversees all of this for Pure Earth in Mexico.
Traditional Mexican potters use toxic lead glazes to produce the colorful and popular wares that are used to cook and serve food every day in many homes and restaurants across the country. As a result, a large portion of the population of Mexico is exposed daily to toxic lead. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning because of their smaller bodies and developing brains. Daniel is working on getting Mexican potters to switch to a non-toxic glaze. (Read more about the Barro Aprobado project.) He also works on the Toxic Sites Identification Program in Mexico.
Carmina studied International Relations and has spent 7 years dedicating herself to the fundraising and strategic development of different social causes in Mexico. She is passionate about contributing to the social development of the communities and collaborates with Pure Earth in Mexico promoting the Barro Aprobado Program and seeking funds for the development of projects.
Pure Earth’s project office coordinator in Peru is Pedro Sifuentes. From Lima, Pedro is an environmental engineer who used to work in the mining industry. He now uses his experience to help us on several projects in his country, including efforts to train artisanal and small-scale gold miners in mercury-free techniques. Like in this mine in Ollachea.
Dr. Lilian Corra is Pure Earth’s government relations advisor for South America.
As a pediatrician/neonatologist, Lilian has done extensive work to raise awareness about children’s health in relation to the environment. She is the director of the Medical Specialist Program on Health and Environment at the School of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires.
She connects with global aid agencies and South American governments on behalf of Pure Earth, which acts as Secretariat for the new Global Alliance on Health and Pollution. She also works with Pure Earth on the Toxics Sites Identification Program in Argentina, which has, in some cases, led local authorities to halt development on contaminated sites. In 2016, she was part of a team of global experts who contributed to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s new series of children’s environmental health training modules.
Dr. Amalia Laborde is the director of the toxicology department at the medical school of the Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay and also the head of the Pediatric Environmental Unit at the State Administration of Health Services.
Many informal settlements are located on or near contaminated sites in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, and cleaning them up is a priority of the local government. Amalia’s background as a clinical toxicologist is extremely useful in her work with Pure Earth in Uruguay. In 2016, she was part of a team of global experts who contributed to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s new series of children’s environmental health training modules.