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Our Staff

NICK ELLIS, MD

Emergency Medicine Physician
MEDLIFE Executive Director & Founder

Dr. Ellis was first inspired to create MEDLIFE through working with a local organization in Panama in 2001. It was there that he saw how effective a grassroots organization could be in listening to the needs of people living in resource-poor settings. From there Dr. Ellis lived and worked in Ecuador and Peru. He continued to see that organizations that had strong community ties were able to best meet the needs of these communities. During that time he also translated for medical missions, he quickly appreciated the resources that could be brought to bear in a resource-poor community but felt the strong communities ties were missing. It was here that the idea for MEDLIFE was born. Dr. Ellis felt that if he could create a community-based, community-led development organization that prioritized listening and empowering community leaders and changing key elements to the medical mission model (working with local doctors, ensuring patient follow-up) that we could improve on the medical mission model. In 2004 Dr. Ellis led the first trip of volunteers on what would become the mobile clinic model.

On his own initiative, Dr. Ellis began working with doctors in Ecuador to deliver medical services to rural villages in the Andes mountain range. After encountering patients who were in need of surgical intervention, Dr. Ellis returned to Maine and, with the help of committed students, raised money to pay for these patients medical care.

In 2011, Dr. Ellis received his Medical Doctorate from Dartmouth Medical School. He then went on to finish his Emergency Medicine residency at Dartmouth as well. He says that he chose Emergency Medicine because often in resource-poor settings the ER is the primary care doctor and that trauma and EMS services are major areas for development in the developing world.

His future goals for the organization are twofold. Firstly, to develop MEDLIFE into a leading global health NGO that works in resource-poor settings worldwide to establish better and more sustainable access to healthcare, education and a safe home. Secondly, to educate and empower students along the way, setting anyone interested in global health or international development on a clear path toward impacting a positive change in our world.

Dr. Ellis currently lives with his wife and 3 dogs in Lima, Peru where he works out of our international headquarters. Each month he travels to the US to work his ER shifts.

 

LEAH HACKLER

Vice President of Sales

Leah’s passion has always been centered on expanding knowledge, constantly working to understand other global perspectives. Throughout her career, she has worked for companies large and small, most with a global presence. Her travels have spanned many countries and she is thrilled to be exploring more of Latin America! Outside of MEDLIFE, Leah enjoys hiking and is also the “proud parent” of two miniature Dachshunds, Katie and Lily.

MARTHA CHICAIZA

Director of MEDLIFE Ecuador

Martha was born and has spent most of her life in Riobamba, Ecuador. She has been involved with MEDLIFE since 2002 and served as Director of MED Programs Ecuador since May 2008. Martha coordinates our Mobile Clinics and community development projects in Ecuador arranges patient follow-up care and assists MEDLIFE’s interns.

ALBERTO PAREDES

Director of MEDLIFE Lima
Director of Finances for Field Offices

MEDLIFE’s first employee in Peru, Alberto has worked in the logistics of the Service Learning Trips in the country since day one. He is a skilled and efficient administrator, and coordinates all aspects of our Mobile Clinics in Lima and Cusco, working tirelessly to ensure that all participants have educational, meaningful, and safe experience.

HEIDY ASPILCUETA

Director of MEDLIFE Cusco

Born in Cusco, Peru, Heidy graduated in Computer Engineering at the San Antonio Abad University and has an MBA from ESAN Business School with an emphasis on Finances. Heidy has about ten years of experience organizing travel, volunteer and other education programs for international participants in Peru and other countries in Latin America.

NEEMA LYIMO

Director of MEDLIFE Tanzania

Born in Tanzania, Neema holds a B.S. in Human Nutrition from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, and an MPH from the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences.

She was introduced to MEDLIFE in 2014, and since then, has become increasingly more involved in the development of the organization in Tanzania.

CARLOS BENAVIDES

Director of MED Programs Lima

Carlos has lived most of his life in Lima, Peru where spent over 20 years working in community development. Serving first as a community leader, Carlos joined the MEDLIFE team in 2010 right when it began in Lima. Carlos oversees all projects and clinics in Lima and helps build stronger working relationships with our communities.

MATT KINCH

Director of Operations

TIM ANSON

Director of MED International and Communications

Tim is originally from Vermont and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Franklin Pierce University. He moved to Peru in late 2012 to become the Marketing Director for a luxury travel agency. For Tim, MEDLIFE is the perfect fit: he can continue to work in his specialty while simultaneously helping the underserved communities of the world.

KATY KEENAN

CPA Partner

MATT GREENBERG

Good Life Expeditions Director of Sales

Matt has lived and worked in Lima, Peru for virtually his entire professional life. He has over a decade of experience in the South American travel industry having personally planned thousands of trips for all types of travelers with all types of budgets, and managed dynamic and diverse sales teams of travel planners.

BRENDA ELLIS

Administrative Assitant

Brenda Ellis received her degree from Husson College in Bangor, Maine. She worked for many years in a major medical center in New Hampshire. Helping people has always been a passion of hers. From the MEDLIFE office in the USA, she plans to continue to do this in any way she can.

JORGE VIDAL

Administration

Jorge graduated as a Dentist at the San Martin de Porres University in Lima. Jorge has been supporting the MEDLIFE mission by acting as a main dentist on our mobile clinics, where he attended thousand of patients with passion and dedication. As well as working in the field, Jorge supports MEDLIFE through working in the administration area in the office.

AMPARO ULLOA

Lima Office Manager

Amparo is a long-time supporter of MEDLIFE and wears many hats as a full-time employee with the organization. In addition to assisting in administrative duties, Amparo brightens the office with a positive, can-do spirit and boundless energy.

CARA HAGAN

Community & Chapter Development Manager

Cara Hagan has experience and a deep understanding of responsible supply chain management from investigating labor rights violations, advising businesses, managing supply chains in Latin America, and supporting and promoting a supply chain certification program in South Asia. She holds an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Study at Monterey, with a specialization in Sustainable Supply Chain Management.

CRISTINA VALDERRAMA

Volunteer Support Representative

Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, Cristina received a B.A in Communication and Journalism and a M.A in Communication and Development with a focus on Gender and Sexuality Studies. For over three years she worked designing social responsibility and public relations strategies. She has also worked with rural communities in Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States implementing development projects.

CRISTINA NEGRON

MED International Regional Manager

Cristina (Kiki) studied at Clark University where she studied and obtained a BA in Biology. While taking a gap year before pursuing medical school she applied for an internship with MEDLIFE. During this internship, she fell in love with working with those most in need and decided to stay to continue being an advocate for public health.

ASHLEY BATRUD

MED International Regional Manager

Ashley received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She discovered her true passion for human rights while partnering with an NGO for immigrant services in Washington State and teaching minority students in Guizhou, China. Ashley is very excited to join the MEDLIFE team to continue advocating for global communities and healthcare equality.

ERIN STVAN

MED International Associate

Originally from Washington, DC, Erin graduated from The George Washington University with degrees in International Affairs and Latin American Hemispheric Studies. While at University, Erin worked with LatinX immigrants at a non-profit law firm and a public health clinic. She is excited to join the MEDLIFE International team and promote healthcare equality.

LIZ MCQUADE

MED International Associate

Liz graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Public Health. She went on to join the Peace Corps as a community health volunteer in Northern Peru. After three years, Liz decided to relocate to Lima. In her role at MEDLIFE, Liz is excited to share her passion for sustainable development and health equality.

KATHERINE COKORINOS

MED International Associate

Katherine (Kiki) first came to Peru in 2014 as part of her studies in Communications & Human Services at Northeastern University. After later spending a year and a half in the Cusco region working in development & health, Kiki joined MEDLIFE in Lima to connect university students to service-learning opportunities because she knows how transformational international volunteering experiences are.

SAMEER ABOUFADEL

MEDLIFE International Associate

Sameer graduated from the University of California Davis with a B.S. in Neurobiology Physiology and Behavior. After attending a Service Learning Trip his first year at Davis, he discovered his passion for global health and empowering low-income communities. He went on to spend two years on MEDLIFE’s Student Advisory Board before moving to Lima to further support the MEDLIFE Movement.

BRIANNA MCCLURE

MEDLIFE International Associate

Brianna is from Manhattan, New York and received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. Prior to her work with MEDLIFE, Brianna worked as an intern at the Peruvian Consulate in Hartford, CT and has participated in various Service Learning Trips in Central America and the Caribbean. She is excited to share her passion with others through her role at MEDLIFE.

QUINN SCARLETT

MEDLIFE International Associate

Quinn graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where he received his undergraduate degree in Honors Biology. Quinn has spent the past four years working in various leadership capacities internationally, having spent summers in Norway and Spain. Quinn will be returning to Canada in 2020 to pursue a career in health law. He is excited to continue spreading the MEDLIFE Movement across Canada.

EMMA BLYSTONE

MEDLIFE International Associate

Emma graduated from Binghamton University in New York with a B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Anthropology. She owes her passion for health equality to her time spent on MEDLIFE SLTs. After helping found her school’s chapter and spending two years on MEDLIFE’s Student Advisory Board, she moved to Lima, Peru to continue her work with MEDLIFE.

SOPHIA REES

Junior Field Associate

Sophia was first inspired by the MEDLIFE mission when she participated in the Community Development Internship in 2018. Since then, she started a Chapter at the University of Exeter in the UK and sat on the Student Advisory Board for a year before moving to South America to join the MEDLIFE team!

TALYA GRECU

Junior Field Associate

ALBA MENDOZA

Junior Field Associate

RODRIGO SALDARRIAGA

Operations Associate

Rodrigo studied Hospitality Management at San Ignacio de Loyola University. After finishing he started a second degree in Business Management. Since he finished his internship at the United Nations Development Program he discovered the passion for working in the social development sector and wants to help society improve their reality.

DOMENICA DELGADO

Operations Intern

Before joining MEDLIFE, Domenica studied business management at Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. Her interests include social responsibility and sustainability, which is why she’s really excited about working at MEDLIFE. She hopes to learn as much as possible, as well as contribute to the Movement. She also loves music and all forms of art.

FATIMA CORRALES

Operations Associate

Fatima was born in Leon, Nicaragua and studied Clinical Bioanalysis at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua. During her time as an undergraduate, she volunteered at various health centers. Before joining MEDLIFE, Fatima initially worked at the Pediatric Oncology Hospital of Managua, later returning to her alma mater to become a research assistant in the microbiology department.

MONICA CORI

Operations Associate - Cusco

Monica was born in Cusco and studied Tourism and Hospitality at the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin in Arequipa. She worked many years in the field of hospitality on travel agencies organizing groups. Her greatest interest is being able to teach and through MEDLIFE, grow as a person and professional.

RODRIGO CORTES

Operations Associate - Cusco

Born and raised in Cusco, Rodrigo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Universidad Andina del Cusco. He has always been in touch with the reality of Peru, learning from books and the experience from his travels and the people he meets. He loves nature, literature and all types of music.

RICARDO CCASANI

MED Programs Lima Projects Associate

We met Ricardo during the construction of the staircases and the daycare at his community, Union Santa Fe. Thanks to Ricardo’s extensive construction experience, we were able to optimize costs and logistics. Currently, Ricardo continues to work in the development of his community while working full-time in MEDLIFE.

ALBA LUCIA PACHECO

MED Programs Lima Architect

Alba has a bachelor in Architecture and Urbanism from Ricardo Palma University in Lima. She is interested in sustainable city development and believes in public spaces as a key agent to change communities. As an architect and MEDLIFE team member, she’s convinced that her career has the power to improve people’s lives in many different ways.

ARIANA CERNA

MED Programs Education Associate

Ariana believes that working with students worldwide can make a difference in the way countries develop, especially the ones whose social and economic needs are the highest. She has studied Educational Psychology. After being in charge of the Academic and Psychological department with a different NGO project, she is very happy to be a part of our team.

MARIA CHAVEZ

MEDLIFE Ecuador Nurse

Born and raised in Cebadas, Ecuador, Maria speaks both Quechua and Spanish. She has been with MEDLIFE since 2007 and acts as a liaison between MEDLIFE and the communities we work in. María announces Mobile Clinic visits, coordinates new projects, visits patients who require follow-up care and provides assistance in operating our Mobile Clinics.

VALERIA MALDONADO

MEDLIFE Ecuador Nurse

Valeria Maldonado was born in Riobamba, Ecuador. She is a nurse graduated from the Metropolitan University of Guayaquil and works with MEDLIFE as a Field Nurse doing social work in the communities where we held the Mobile Clinics. Valeria is really happy to work in MEDLIFE because she can support people from rural areas in her community.

RUTH VARONA

MEDLIFE Lima Nurse

Ruth was born in Lima, Peru where she studied to nursing. Ruth has always enjoyed working with children and serving those in need. She first began working with MEDLIFE in 2011 in our mobile clinics and later came on full-time as a field nurse. Ruth now manages our follow-up program in Lima and coordinates all medical professionals.

CARMEN NARVAEZ

MEDLIFE Lima Nurse

Carmen has been a nurse technician for the last 19 years. She loves working with her patients in our follow-up program because she enjoys helping people get well and supporting people through difficult times. Outside of work, Carmen enjoys cooking and spending time with her two children and husband.

JANET LUDEÑA

MEDLIFE Lima Nurse

Janet was born in Ayacucho, Peru but has lived in Lima most of her life. She studied nursing, specializing in care for the elderly and young children. Janet started with MEDLIFE in 2011 working in our mobile clinics as a community coordinator. Janet has since joined our full-time staff as a field nurse in our follow-up program.

KAREN TACUSI

MEDLIFE Cusco Nurse

Karen studied Nursing at the Didaskalio Cristo Rey School and the Technological University of the Andes where, as part of her training, she supported medical mission campaigns in rural areas of the Andean highlands. She is happy to join the MEDLIFE team where she can continue to help those patients who need it most.

CARMEN UMERES

MEDLIFE Cusco Nurse

Carmen was born in Quillabamba, Cusco, and studied Nursing at the Antonio Lorena Institute. She has extensive work experience within Cusco’s healthcare system and has held jobs in public and private hospitals, pharmaceutical distributors and municipal social assistance organizations. She is proud to bring with MEDLIFE medical assistance to even the most remote areas of Cusco.

RENATO EGOAVIL

Finance & Administration Associate

After living most of his life in Honduras, where he volunteered as a translator for American medical brigades, Renato came back to Peru to study at Universidad de Lima. He is now our Finance & Administration Associate, position in which he supports all the teams in the organization on how to improve their financial processes.

MARCIO ARCE

Planning & Control Analyst

Marcio studied Business Administration at the University of Lima. After graduation, he went to Spain to obtain a post-graduate degree at the Complutense University of Madrid. His professional experience is focused on finances, consulting, intern control, and project management. Social causes have always fascinated him, and that is why he is very motivated to contribute to MEDLIFE.

GRECIA ARPI

Finances Associate

AYRTON LOPEZ ALVA

Finances Associate

TANIA PINTO

Financial Operations Assistant

Tania was born in Madre De Dios and later moved to Cusco to study the technical career of Tourism Administration at the Abacus Institute. She is currently studying Accounting and Finance at the Alas Peruanas University and is very happy to belong to MEDLIFE.

ELLEN HAYS

Marketing Associate

After growing up in Tasmania, Australia, Ellen moved to Melbourne to pursue her passion for social justice by completing a double degree in Law and Politics at Monash University. Alongside her studies, Ellen worked in digital content creation for research centers at her university and volunteered at centers providing legal services to vulnerable communities.

CAROLINE APPERT

Marketing & Content Executive

Originally from California, Caroline studied Advertising and Spanish at Syracuse University before spending the first few years of her career in New York City at an Advertising Agency. Looking for something a bit different, she left the states & headed to South America where she spent time volunteering in Ecuador and working in marketing at a luxury travel agency before starting at MEDLIFE. Here she loves that she is able to combine her passions for storytelling, Latin America, and helping those in need.

ROSALI VELA

Communications Team Lead

Born in Lima, Peru, Rosali joined MEDLIFE in 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences from UIGV and a professional technical degree in Audiovisual Communication and Multimedia from the Toulouse Lautrec Institute. Rosali is currently supporting the MEDLIFE team in Cusco while pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Marketing and Communications for Development at UNSAAC.

ANA LÍA ACCINELLI

Communications Associate

Ana Lía studied Audiovisual Communications at the Universidad Católica del Perú. She has experience creating documentary videos and photography for various companies and nonprofits. She has always been involved in community service, and in MEDLIFE she has found an incredible opportunity to develop her skills as well as help empower people at the same time.

DANIXA MANOSALVA

Graphic Designer

Danixa was born in Chepen, La Libertad. She studied Arts and Graphic Design for Business at the University of San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima. She is very responsible and committed to her work. Now that she is working in MEDLIFE, she plans to do everything possible to help in the MEDLIFE Mission through graphic design!

JULIA ALFARO

MEDLIFE Lima Housekeeper

Julia joined MEDLIFE in 2012 and is currently in charge of housekeeping at the office. A vital piece of keeping the organization running, Julia helps out an immense amount during mobile clinics when important materials need shuffling around the office. Julia never skips a beat, she is always available and willing to help out others in the organization.

Our Executive Board

The mission of the Executive Board is to help families achieve greater freedom from the constraints of poverty, empowering them to live healthier lives. The Executive Board oversees MEDLIFE’s operations domestically and abroad and is fiscally and operationally responsible for MEDLIFE’s Service Learning Trips and MEDLIFE Project Fund projects. The Executive Board also works with student groups to organize volunteer trips, fundraise, build greater support for MEDLIFE, and foster student leadership. The most committed, hard-working, and experienced individuals are invited to sit on the Executive Board. The Executive Board currently consists of five members:

Nick Ellis, MD, MEDLIFE Founder and CEO 
Education: International Development Studies (B.A.) at McGill University
Pre-Medical post-baccalaureate, University of Maine
Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School

Juan Camilo Vanegas
Education: Microbiology (B.A.) University of Maine

Jerry Ellis
Education: Counseling (M.S.) Oregon University
MDiv Boston University

Martha Chicaiza
Director of MEDPrograms Latin America
Director of MEDPrograms Ecuador

Carlos Benavides
Director of MEDPrograms Peru

Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Tiffany Fung
McGill University

I enjoyed meeting new people at project and clinics. I would because it opens your views to poverty and makes you realize there needs to be done to help.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make Yes! It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make Yes! It was such an amazing experience.