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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Vaccine Delivery Team Profiles: Country Programs and Partnerships

March 02, 2016

All of our vaccine-related work together depends on strong delivery systems within countries. We therefore invest in partners—including many of you—whose programs strengthen and provide support for country immunization systems. In addition to civil society organizations, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, we make direct investments with partners in India, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, which together account for a significant proportion of the world’s unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children. Our efforts to support polio eradication are also an integral part of our country-based approach in the remaining polio-endemic countries— Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—as well as in countries that have experienced polio outbreaks.

Together, these teams guide the foundation’s vaccine delivery-related investments, engage and support the work of our major partners, inform routine immunization strategies globally and provide direct support for activities in key countries—all toward the goal of preventing 11 million deaths, 3.8 million disabilities and 230 million illnesses through high, equitable, sustainable vaccine coverage by 2020. 

Behind this work stand the passionate, dedicated individuals* who make up the Country Programs and Partnerships team. To inaugurate this first quarterly Vaccine Delivery newsletter, we wanted to give you a glimpse into who they are, both inside and outside the office.

Violaine (Vio) Mitchell
Deputy Director, Vaccine Delivery
Vio joined the Foundation in 2010 as a continuation of a career built in the areas of community development and global health. Vio counts her current collaboration on routine immunization strengthening in Northern Nigeria as among the most engaging, humbling, and moving of her career. Something you may not know? Ten years ago, Vio co-founded Small Farm Canada—a national magazine devoted to small scale agriculture. In addition to serving as publisher, she and her husband operate a mixed farm on Vancouver Island just outside Seattle, WA, raising sheep, pigs, chickens and growing wheat and hay. Her Christmas breaks are routinely punctuated with the birthing of lambs, also known as lambing.

Molly Abbruzzese  
Senior Program Officer
If you asked Molly to describe her professional background in the length of a tweet, she would say easily, “International Development with a side of Public Health.” Molly counts the Foundation’s Quality Improvement (QI) work in Uganda and Ethiopia as the most exciting and formative of her tenure, with the Strategic Learning portfolio coming in a close second. Beyond her day job, Molly is an active volunteer in the Seattle community, leading the local chapter of Amigos de Las Americas, a program that trains high school students to work in Latin America. A mother to teens herself, Molly holds out hope that her children will soon take part.

Julianne LeeJulianne Lee
Interim Program Coordinator
Julianne’s work has focused primarily on marketing, water and sanitation and vaccine delivery. In 2014, she had the privilege of attending the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in New Delhi. The experience now ranks as the most exciting and formative of her tenure. Why? “Forty-five exhibitors and their prototype toilets, fake fecal stimulant, inflatable dancing Poop mascots…all in the name of global sanitation!” she says. When not working to secure universal access to life-saving vaccines and clean water and sanitation, you are likely to find Julianne happily watching an episode of Friends—she has seen every season of the show, from beginning to end, at least 10 times (including a few seasons in French and Italian).

Amrita Palriwala
Program Officer
As a health economist, Amrita focused extensively in 2015 on the Gavi Board and their approval of half a billion dollars in catalytic support for India from 2016 through 2021. This decision will enable India to accelerate new vaccine introduction and strengthen routine immunization, and it stands to generate significant health impact for both India and Gavi. In her spare time, Amrita enjoys visiting her favorite city—Paris—as often as possible to take in the many great art galleries and restaurants spread throughout the city’s Arrondissements.

Mackenzie Piper
Program Assistant
New to the Foundation in late 2015, Mackenzie spent the last few years teaching high school and conducting public health fieldwork in Micronesia, a region east of the Philippines comprising thousands of islands and several independent countries. There, she worked with the local community on issues related to sexual and reproductive health—and today, Mackenzie is inspired by the prospect of supporting impactful public health projects globally. Never one to shy away from new experiences, Mackenzie enjoyed the bounty of celebratory Micronesian feasts during her tenure, including those that featured exotic items such as dog on the menu.

Jenny Sequeira
Senior Program Officer
Jenny joined the Foundation in 2014, bringing extensive experience in primary health care, community development, and routine immunization. Among many projects in her career, Jenny has been most rewarded by her hand in developing a field study in Ethiopia and Uganda that focused on identifying the drivers of positive routine immunization changes. In addition to her considerable skill in juggling the many tasks that come her way at the Foundation, Jenny is actually also a capable juggler!  

Amanda Shortell
Associate Program Officer
With the Foundation since 2010, Amanda is passionate about identifying methods to improve immunization training and considers the Teach to Reach Summit as one of the most exciting Foundation projects she has been a part of.  If you happen to spot Amanda on the streets of Seattle and want to say hello, be forewarned – it might be her identical twin sister Meg! The sisters both call Seattle home, and count “Saturday B&B” (Barre class and brunch) as their favorite weekend activity.


*Team members Erin Cochran and Maggie Hellis are out on maternity leave.

 
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