Staff

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 Richard Fuller Founder and CEO
Richard Fuller is an Australian-born, U.S.-based engineer, entrepreneur, and environmentalist best known for his work in global pollution remediation. He founded Pure Earth (formerly known as Blacksmith Institute) in 1999, using profits from Great Forest, the sustainability consultancy he started a decade earlier, to rally attention to the under-reported issue of pollution and its impacts on poor communities worldwide. In 2012, Richard convened the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) to scale up the global response to toxic pollution. He continues to serve as Chair of the board for GAHP. In 2017, Richard co-chaired the groundbreaking Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, bringing a group of 50 top researchers together to produce a report, which outlined the enormous health and economic costs of pollution and laid out solutions. In 2018, Richard was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his services to conservation and the environment. He is the author of the book The Brown Agenda. He remains President of Great Forest Inc.
Mark Schnellbaecher Mark Schnellbaecher President and COO
Mark Schnellbaecher joins Pure Earth after a 30-year career overseas leading humanitarian and refugee assistance programs. Most recently Schnellbaecher was Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa for the International Rescue Committee, based in Amman, Jordan. Prior to that, from 2002-2012 he worked in Beirut, Lebanon as the Regional Director for the Middle East and Europe for Catholic Relief Services. Earlier in his career Schnellbaecher served in Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cambodia, Pakistan and Thailand. He was raised in upstate New York, graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and has recently relocated to New York City with his spouse.
Rebecca Stiles, Chief Financial Officer 
Jack Caravanos, DrPH, CIH 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.
Gordon Binkhorst Gordon Binkhorst, Ph.D. Vice President of Global Programs
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 Lara Fisher Crampe Vice President of International Operations
Lara has championed community-led development for more than 20 years, working with programs ranging from girls’ education in Ethiopia to environmental justice advocacy in Washington, D.C.. Lara managed Pure Earth’s toxic site identification and remediation work in The Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and currently oversees civil society engagement projects in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Senegal. She joined Pure Earth after leading fundraising for the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, running education programs at the International Rescue Committee, and serving as Deputy Director at the Taproot Foundation. She has a Master’s Degree in Geography concentrating on Community Development and a Bachelors degree in International Affairs concentrating on International Development. She was raised in the mountains of West Virginia.
Andrew McCartor Andrew McCartor Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships
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.
David Hanrahan 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 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.
Angela Bernhardt Angela Bernhardt Vice President, 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 Carol Sumkin Vice President, Development 
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.
Judith St. Fort 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 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 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 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.
Charles Espinoza 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.
Jen Marraccino 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 Magdalene Sim Asst. Director, Communications
Magdalene helps guide communications efforts for Pure Earth and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP).  She oversees editorial efforts, including the production of the Pollution Blog and the Pure Earth and GAHP newsletters, which she launched, and the development of  videos and other outreach vehicles. She implements day-to-day social media strategy for Pure Earth, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, and The Journal of Health and Pollution, and creates content across channels. She also works on global media campaigns and provides support on special projects. Her experience includes work in television news, film production, and communications for some of the leading arts organizations in the country.  Magdalene holds a M.S. in marketing communications from Boston University.
Lori Fried Lori Fried Grant Manager
As Pure Earth’s Grant Manager, Lori tracks funding prospects, develops grant proposals, and secures funding for ongoing and new projects. Skilled in project and grant management, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and resource mobilization, Lori previously has worked with Trickle Up, managing a 10-country refugee livelihoods program; with Winrock International, creating proposal M&E plans; and with Tetra Tech, supporting an access to justice project in Iraq and a post-conflict peace and security project in Liberia. Lori, who grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota, has an M.A. in International Affairs from The New School and a B.A. in Film Studies from University of Colorado.
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. 

 

Hassanatou Anna Samake Program Associate for Africa
Anna graduated from Antioch College, where she completed a self-designed major in Transnational Environmental Science and Political Economy, with a focus on French and Spanish. Anna has completed a series of full-time cooperative work terms with organizations in New York, Connecticut, Ecuador, and Mali. Most recently, she spent several months working as a Division Assistant with a Malian Company for the Development of Textiles, where she had the opportunity to launch various environmental protection initiatives. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Bambara.  She is passionate about environmental protection and mitigation initiatives that aim to help and empower marginalized communities.
Lavanya Nambiar Program Associate for South Asia
Prior to joining Pure Earth, Lavanya worked in different resource settings including India, Kenya and the United States. Her main areas of focus include health governance, systems strengthening, and evidence driven policy development. Lavanya holds a Master of Public Health degree in health policy from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering in biotechnology.
Rhona McGill 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.
Sandy Lakhan-Chabot Program Assistant for Global Operations
Sandy assists in the Operations department at Pure Earth. She worked previously for 15 years as a childcare provider and for various community programs for inner-city children. She received a BS in Communications from Northeastern University. She joined Pure Earth to help make a difference in the lives of children on a larger scale. She enjoys traveling, attending live music events and helping others.

 

 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

AFRICA

Wilson Baaku

GHANA

Technical Project Director 

Wilson Baaku has over 20 years of professional experience in natural resource governance and mining with a focus on sustainable mineral development, Forest-Smart Small-scale Mining, and responsible natural resource use. He is a natural resource geoscientist and a project management specialist with strong interests in social and environmental issues linked to natural resource development. Prior to joining Pure Earth, Wilson was the lead Stakeholder Engagement Consultant and Water Quality Expert of the Environmental Social Impact Assessment team for the Pwalugu Multi-purpose Dam Project in the Upper East and Northeast Regions of Ghana. As a Natural Resource expert, Wilson was part of the World Bank’s ground-breaking research work on the ‘Forest-Smart Mining’ in Ghana. He is a member of the Ghana Institute of Geosciences (GhiG) and has played key roles in natural resource governance, large- or small-scale mining, and Water Sanitation and Health projects across West Africa. Wilson holds a master’s degree in project management from the University of Ghana Business School, a master’s degree in Mineral Exploration Geoscience, and a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Ghana.

ASIA

Budi Susilorini

Budi Susilorini

INDONESIA

Pure Earth Country Director, Indonesia

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.

Nickolaus Hariojati INDONESIA

Pure Earth Program Officer, Indonesia 

Nickolaus has always been interested in environmental issues. He has a background in forest resource conservation and more than 4 years of experience as a forest firefighter. He joined Pure Earth in 2014, when Pure Earth was carrying out a clean-up project on lead-contaminated land in Cinangka Village, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. As Program Officer, Nickolaus assists the Pure Earth Country Director in Indonesia and conducts Initial Site Assessments of contaminated land based on information from partners such as the Indonesian government, non-governmental organizations, universities, and the communities themselves. 

Larah Ortega Ibañez

Larah Ortega Ibañez

PHILIPPINES

Pure Earth Country Director, 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

Promila Sharma

INDIA

Pure Earth Country Director, India

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 organizations in Rajasthan and Indian Himalayan Regions.

 

Dr. Jayapriya Dhandapani

 

INDIA

Program Associate, India

Dr. Jayapriya is a medical professional with a decade of experience providing healthcare services in rural Tamilnadu. She works towards creating safe environments for future generations. She has recently completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Policy where she focused on developing policy alternatives for reducing the harmful impact of Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) waste on humans and the environment. At Pure Earth, she continues her work reducing the ULAB waste through active participation in the Toxic Sites Identification Program and remediation efforts in southern states of India.

 

Dr. Mahfuzar Rahman

 

BANGLADESH

Pure Earth Country Director, Bangladesh

Mahfuzar Rahman is a physician/epidemiologist by training; He has been with Pure Earth since 2020 after successfully completing tenure with UNICEF, BRAC, Columbia University and ICDDRB. His main research interests over the past 20 years have been occupational, environmental and molecular epidemiology, focused in studying various pollutants on health and pollution in producing acute and chronic diseases. Other interests include health systems performance particularly for the poor; universal health coverage; program evaluation; implementation research for successful delivery of evidence-based interventions to improve the quality of care services; and access to safe water and toxic elements in environment. He also serves as a cost analyst of different projects in Bangladesh. He used to work in International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France. While most of his work has related to low-income settings, Rahman has also been involved in research with the GBD in Seattle and Imperial College, London for many years.

EASTERN EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA

Alena TemnikovaAlena Temnikova RUSSIA

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.

Valeriia KovachValeriia Kovach UKRAINE

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.

LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN

Alfonso Rodriquez COLOMBIA

Pure Earth Country Director, Colombia

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. Alfonso has great knowledge about the current legislation, programs and needs in this area.

Angie Tatiana Ortega Ramirez

 

COLOMBIA

Pure Earth Project Coordinator, Colombia

Angie Tatiana Ortega Ramírez is the Project Coordinator Pure Earth – Colombia. She is a Chemical Engineer a Petroleum Engineer and a specialist in project management. She holds a Masters in Environmental Management for Competitiveness and is a doctoral student in Sustainability. She has been a member of the Pure Earth team since 2018. She is currently coordinator of the CSO project for Colombia, administrator of the TSIP database for Latin America and the Caribbean and assistant for Mercury (Hg) projects. She has 7 years of research and teaching experience, experience in the hydrocarbons sector in the field of reservoirs and HSEQ. She has experience in management of environmental remediation projects due to mining – energy impacts in Colombia has been a leader of social and environmental projects in non-profit organizations. She has published academic research on sustainability, especially in the oil industry. She is the director of her foundation “Sueño de Ángeles” in Colombia, where she works with children in a state of vulnerability.

Daniel EstradaDaniel Estrada MEXICO

Pure Earth Country Director, Mexico

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 CaderónCarmina Jure Caderón MEXICO

Pure Earth Institutional Development Coordinator, 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.

Netzy Peralta MEXICO

Pure Earth Operations Coordinator, Mexico

Netzy has a degree in Social Anthropology from the Autonomous University of Morelos, a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the College of Michoacán, and a doctorate from the CUCSH of the University of Guadalajara in Social Sciences. She is a part-time professor at the University of Morelos and has been the Operations Coordinator with Barro Aprobado since 2014. She specializes in local project management and community organizing.

Sofía Deveaux DuránSofía Deveaux Durán MEXICO

Pure Earth Director of Community Outreach, Mexico

Sofia studied Sociology at the UNAM in Mexico, and an MA in Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester in the UK. In her 15 years of field experience in nonprofits, she has specialized in participatory methods and narrative practices for social change, focusing her research and action around topics like the socio-environmental regeneration of ravines, gender equity, public spaces, community culture and collective memory. Sofia joined Pure Earth in 2020, where she designs and coordinates the community work held in Mexico, mainly with pottery artisans in the prevention of lead exposure.

France Cabanillas France Cabanillas PERU

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 CorraDr. 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.