Staff

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Lauren van der Walt, Ph.D., MPH, MA

Executive Director

Lauren has worked to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and East and Southern Africa over the past two decades. She has extensive experience working on refugee health, human rights, family planning, reproductive justice, and sexual violence and accountability. Prior to working at Optio, Lauren worked for a number of governmental, nonprofit, and UN organizations including UNICEF, the Human Rights Center, and continues to serve as a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a Masters in Medical Anthropology and Global Public Health, and a PhD in Public Health Policy from Berkeley.

 
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Neesa Medina

Director of Research & Advocacy

Neesa Medina is a Honduran feminist with 10 years of experience working to on violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights, and strategic communication. With a background in sociology, she has lead national and international advocacy efforts, collaborated on research and is actively involved in regional alliances that support women's rights.

 
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Grecia Lozano

Director of the Reproductive Justice Program

Grecia Lozano is a feminist lawyer, who graduated with academic honors from the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She is currently working toward her  Masters of Law at University of California, Berkeley and has taken courses on health law litigation at Georgetown University in United States. Grecia is a member of several Latin-American legal networks for health law & women's rights, such as CLACAI and CLADEM, and has been a member of the Honduran Bar of Lawyers since 2015. Grecia previously worked at the Center for Women's Rights as a project leader of the CAMY Fund, focused on decriminalizing abortion.

 
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Robert (Nap) Hosang, MD, MPH, MBA, FRCOG, FACOG

Director of OTC Pill Project

Robert (Nap) Hosang has more than 20 years of experience advising many national governments on the design of maternity health services to reduce maternal mortality and improve birth outcomes. A practicing obstetrician/gynecologist and public health specialist for 30 years, he cared for more than 3,000 pregnant women from their first trimester through delivery and the reproductive health management for many more. Nap retired from active clinical practice in 2010 and is now working on making it possible for American women to have a safe and affordable over-the-counter birth control pill option that does not require a prescription. Nap is also the 2016 recipient of the APHA Carl S. Shultz award for lifetime achievement in Population, Reproduction and Sexual Health.

 
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Jessica Watterson, PhD, MPH

Researcher

Jessica has worked on maternal and child health issues in South Asia, the Pacific,  Africa and Latin America. Her experience ranges from research on the use of mobile phones to improve antenatal care attendance in Samoa to overseeing health education classes for women living in slums in Kolkata, India. Prior to joining Optio, Jessica worked for the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and as a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow at the Ministry of Health in Samoa. At Optio, she works on the design and evaluation of projects to improve maternal health in Latin America and Africa. Jessica holds a PhD in Health Policy and a Master of Public Health from University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Biochemistry from New York University. 

 
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Alisha Graves, MPH

Advisor

Alisha Graves advises on strategy and development efforts for Optio. Prior to her current work, she worked for six years as Senior Program Manager for Venture Strategies to improve access to misoprostol – a generic, essential medicine – in Africa and Southeast Asia. Alisha completed her Master of Public Health in International Maternal and Child Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health in 2006.

 

Board

Karen Pak Oppenheimer, MS, MPH, Chair

Sarah Jane Holcombe, PhD, MPH, MPPM, Secretary

Sterling C. Franklin, MSEd, JD, MPA

Robert Gillespie, MPH

Malcolm Potts, MD, PhD, FRCOG