2017 Pure Earth Staff & Board Retreat
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
|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.
|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
|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, nonprofits and academia.
|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.
|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.
|Eric Fecci CFO
Eric is a Financial professional with broad experience in all aspects of accounting, auditing and financial and systems management.
|Gordon Binkhorst, Ph.D. Senior Technical Advisor
Dr. Binkhorst comes to Pure Earth from the private environmental consulting world. As a Senior Hydrogeologist and Project Manager at ALTA Environmental Corporation in Connecticut since 1998, Gordon was primarily responsible for providing technical oversight and direction on projects involving complex hydrogeologic and contaminant investigations, water supply development, underground storage tank removals and closures, expert witness work, various types of remediation including mitigation of exposure pathways using engineered and institutional control measures appropriate to site usage. Gordon is currently an Adjunct Professor at UConn where he teaches an undergraduate class on completing environmental site assessments and pertinent regulations, and serves as a member of UConn’s Geoscience Advisory Board. At Pure Earth, Gordon serves as the Senior Technical Advisor after being an active member of Pure Earth’s Technical Advisory Board for over 7 years, and assists in the management of Pure Earth’s programs and grants.
|Lara Crampe Director, Community Outreach
Lara has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit programs. She joined Pure Earth after working in community-led development at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction and as Deputy Director at the Taproot Foundation, the largest nonprofit consulting firm in the US. Prior to that, she ran programs for refugees at the International Rescue Committee and served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors for US Servas. She has a Master’s Degree in Geography and a Bachelors degree in International Development. She grew up in the mountains of West Virginia.
|Andrew McCartor Director of Global Policy and Planning and Regional Director for Southeast Asia
Andrew (Drew) McCartor leads Pure Earth’s Global Lead Program, which aims to assess, mitigate and prevent children’s exposure to toxic lead from unsound industrial activities and contaminated products. Drew is a lawyer and environmental health professional with 11 years of field experience designing and leading environmental assessments and risk-reduction projects at sites contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides, radionuclides and other chemicals. Drew has served as Pure Earth’s Regional Director for South Asia; Southeast Asia; and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Drew helped coordinate the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health and frequently represents Pure Earth at international events and conferences.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Greg Ferraro Research Associate
Greg provides research and data analytics support for the broad spectrum of PureEarth’s projects and studies. He draws from years of experience in the fields of agriculture & environmental resources, development, and economics, with some additional experience in urban affordable housing, education, and gender equity in UN Peacekeeping. He received both an MA in Int. Political Econ of Development and an MA in Economics from Fordham University, New York. Greg is an avid runner, former Peace Corps Volunteer, and French language aspirant.
|Charles Espinosa Latin America Program Officer
Charlie joined Pure Earth in 2017, with a background in environmental non-profits and extensive experience working in Latin America. At Pure Earth, he leads a program in the Peruvian Amazon helping artisanal gold miners reduce mercury-use and reforest degraded mining areas. He also works with The Amazon Aid Foundation, a non-profit that raises awareness about the importance of the Amazon rainforest and promotes sustainable gold supply chains. Charlie holds a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Columbia University. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, hiking and playing soccer.
|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.
|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.
|Leland Malkus Grantwriter
Leland has been a social worker and a grant writer for a wide range of nonprofits and has helped raise funds for university research, homeless services, and several other social service and environmental programs. He has degrees in social work and anthropology, with a focus on international development projects, and is always happiest outdoors.
|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.
|Rhona McGill Accounting Assistant
At Pure Earth Rhona works in the Finance Department under the CFO 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.
|Yesenia Santiago Finance Assistant
Yesenia assists the CFO with accounting tasks. She has previous experience working in non-profit organizations. Born and raised in the Bronx with an Associates In Accounting degree from LaGuardia Community College she enjoys helping people and making a difference in their lives.
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.
|Amenda Sibulele Zingelwa||MADAGASCAR
Ms Amenda Zingelwa’s professional capacities and experience over the past 2 decades has enabled her to work in a wide range of sectors of Malagasy Public and Private life. Ranging from Diplomacy, Advocacy, National Reconciliation, Socio-Economic Development, Civil Society Organisations, the Travel Industry, Interpretation and Protocol. She possesses a sound understanding of the political, economic, and social-cultural environment of Madagascar and the country’s needs going forward as an emerging economy.
|Khadidiatou Sy Djigo||SENEGAL
Khadidiatou Sy Djigo
|Abdallah Ramadhani Mkindi||TANZANIA
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||PHILIPPINES
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||SOUTH ASIA
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.
|Duong Thi To||VIETNAM
Duong Thi To
EASTERN EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA
Aelita Sargsyan, MD, MPH joined the Pure Earth family in 2018, first as a TSIP Investigator, and later – as the Country coordinator in Armenia. She is a Medical doctor in the field of Laboratory Diagnostics and has a Masters Degree in Public Health from the American University of Armenia. Her Master project, dedicated to the environmental health – the effect of heavy metals on the reproductive health of women in a certain region of Armenia, was presented in the European Public Health Conference in 2017. The current project in Armenia is the identification of toxic sites, mainly dumpsites, contaminated with heavy metals.
|Dr. Rovshan Abbasov||AZERBAIJAN
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||TAJIKISTAN
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||BOLIVIA
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||BRAZIL
Joya Emilie de Menezes Correia-Deur
|Daniel Estrada||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 Jure Caderón||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.
Forestry engineer by training, with a master’s degree in environmental management, with more than 14 years of experience in the forestry sector of Peru, working on the problem of alluvial mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, since 2011, investigating issues related to environmental mining management, mercury-free technologies, as well as the restoration of areas degraded by mining in the Amazon.
|Dr. Lilian Corra||SOUTH AMERICA
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||URUGUAY
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.