Team

Our core team brings the best of both worlds to the challenge of mental health: we combine seasoned mental health practitioners and leaders with the impact scale-up expertise across sectors and geographies. citiesRISE is led by Moitreyee Sinha, who brings extensive experience working across sectors and creating public-private partnership to scale innovations for healthier communities.


Team Members

Moitreyee Sinha

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Moitreyee Sinha

Moitreyee is a humanitarian, social entrepreneur, scientist and seeker. Moitreyee’s journey with impact work began with leading the GE Foundation’s Global Health portfolio in 22 countries, where she successfully developed critical care programs for children, maternal child health, clean water, ICT, humanitarian relief, and education. At Global Development Incubator, she directed the Beyond Health portfolio and continued to mobilize social entrepreneurs and large institutions to build healthier communities. These experiences revealed to her the centrality of mental health to overall wellbeing, which became the raison d’être for citiesRISE.  

With citiesRISE, Moitreyee brings her unique vision for collective, community-based action to mental health. This initiative represents the culmination of a lifelong project of breaking down barriers.

Moitreyee has a PhD in Physics, has received GE’s highest technical team award and the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Highest Award for Philanthropy.

Chris Underhill

Co-Founder and Senior Advisor

Chris Underhill

Chris is the co-founder of citiesRISE, and a global expert in the delivery of health and rehabilitation systems to very poor people. A serial social entrepreneur he is the founder of BasicNeeds which concerns the delivery of a holistic model to mentally ill people and people with epilepsy in resource poor communities worldwide.

In addition to BasicNeeds, he has founded a number of organizations related to disability and mental health, including Thrive, and Action on Disability and Development. Chris has served as chief executive of Practical Action and is currently Chair of Carers Worldwide and the International Centre for Social Franchising. Chris is a Senior Fellow of the Ashoka Fellowship, a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur. Chris has been honored as an MBE by the Queen for his services to disability and development.

Pamela Collins

Director of Research

Pamela Collins

Pamela brings over 15 years of work focused on mental health and psychosocial aspects of the AIDS epidemic in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has served as the director of the Office for Research on Disparities & Global Mental Health and the Office of Rural Mental Health Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Pamela was a leader of the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative, an editor of the 2011 Lancet series on Global Mental Health, and the editor of the 2013 PLoS Medicine Policy Forum series on global perspectives for integrating mental health in diverse platforms of care.

Nadi Kaonga

Technology Advisor

Nadi Kaonga

Nadi is the Technology Advisor at citiesRISE. She has worked extensively in her home country of Malawi, as well as in over a dozen other locations throughout the world, managing, implementing and evaluating projects that have included the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, emergency medical response and digital health. She has served as a consultant to organizations including the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and Malaria No More. Previously Nadi was the Senior Program Manager and Senior Technical Advisor at HealthEnabled, helping lead the Africa-based not-for-profit’s digital health work across the globe.

She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior, and she also holds a Masters in Health Science from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Masters in Science from the Tufts University Sackler Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Medicine Program at the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Jamie LePinnet

Program Officer

Jamie LePinnet

Jamie is a program officer at citiesRISE, and joined the initiative at its inception in 2016. Prior to citiesRISE, Jamie worked on the Beyond Health portfolio at the Global Development Incubator across various projects such as Digital Health, Water and Sanitation, and Financing and Innovation in Global Health.  

Previously, Jamie worked with the Huairou Commission, a network of grassroots women organizations advancing policy and resilient community development practices, and Issuu.com a digital publishing and platform technology company on the business development team. Jamie has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University at Albany and has earned an M.A. in International Affairs from The New School in New York, where she focused on sustainable development and governance.

Sara Lizzo

Business Development Manager

Sara Lizzo

Sara Lizzo has over 10 years’ experience working in the international development field. Most recently, Sara worked for the Synergos Institute, a philanthropic consulting firm established by a member of the Rockefeller Family. In this position, Sara worked on revenue-generating activities to fund the organization’s international poverty alleviation programs. Previously, Sara has worked directly on health-delivery initiatives within the
Millennium Development Project at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and for Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. These projects focused on providing access to quality health services for rural and marginalized populations living in South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sara holds a B.S. in Biology from Sacred Heart University, and a M.P.A. in finance and management from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Sarah Molbert

Finance Manager

Sarah Molbert

Sarah Molbert has an undergraduate degree in Accounting with a minor in Spanish from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Upon graduation, she served as the Rotary Foundations Ambassadorial Scholar to Salamanca, Spain where she completed a Diploma of Hispanic Studies at the University of Salamanca. Sarah earned her CPA license in January 2012 and worked for 5.5 years in the fields of Auditing and Accounting. She is currently pursuing an MS in Nutrition and an MS in Global Health degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, with a focus on the relationship between mental illness and chronic disease. Her anticipated graduation date is July 2018.

Monica holds an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced international Studies, and a B.A. in Business and Administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Dorje Mundle

Director of Innovations and Financing

Dorje Mundle

Dorje brings 20 years’ experience in sustainability, specifically global experience in issues related to strategy, governance, access to healthcare, business model innovation, bottom-of-the-pyramid business strategy, innovative financing, climate change, human rights, responsible procurement, and stakeholder engagement. Dorje previously was leading BSR’s healthcare practice and formerly the global head of corporate responsibility management for Novartis, where he focused on corporate responsibility strategy, governance, leadership development, investor ESG engagement, business model innovation, program implementation, and external engagement.

Samantha Nzessi

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Samantha Nzessi

Samantha is a trained technical and social science translator and editor, having worked on health policy and patent-related documents. She co-hosts a podcast about masculinity, which explores the ways in which the binary system of patriarchy is debilitating for men as well as women. Specifically, she works with experts in gender-related fields to create content unearthing the dynamics and inequalities pervading through our institutions. Samantha is working on how mental health around the world influences gender dynamics and access, and in using a gendered lens to provide adapted support.

Olivia Rokotuiveikau

Cities Manager

Olivia Rokotuiveikau

Olivia has spent nearly 15 years working in urban planning and policy with a focus on community engagement. She was most recently an Associate Director with 100 Resilient Cities at the Rockefeller Foundation, working directly with city governments across North America to support the development of urban resilience strategies. Her career has focused largely in disaster-affected jurisdictions in Colorado and New Orleans in the US context. Internationally, she has worked in Jakarta, Indonesia as an urban specialist for the World Bank and in post-earthquake Port-au-Prince, Haiti with Architecture for Humanity.

Olivia holds a B.A. in Art History from Carleton College, a Masters of Urban Planning from New York University, and Certificate in Urban Redevelopment from the University of Pennsylvania.

Adrian Sell

Director of Accelerator Program

Adrian Sell

Adrian has over 20 years’ experience in the charity, social enterprise, government and private sectors and is the CEO of BasicNeeds. Adrian has worked for Oxfam in six countries across three continents as well as from the UK supporting overseas programs. His other roles have included Director of Service for an older people’s charity, Operations Manager for a social enterprise, working on organizational change in a county council as well as front line roles in a hospital, a care home and an insurance company.

Jaya Srinivasan

City Coordinator, Chennai

Jaya Srinivasan

Jaya is coordinating activities in Chennai for citiesRISE and possesses over seven years of experience in business development and communications. She worked as Clients Manager at Ennovent, a catalyst for businesses with sustainable solutions for low-income markets. Jaya has a strong interest in mental health and the well-being of young people in her city. Having lived and worked in different cities across the country, she is keenly aware of the dynamics of urban India, which has built her understanding of the key drivers of mental health challenges and the need for solutions, especially among youth. Jaya previously worked at Driptech, a drip irrigation startup catering primarily to smallholder farmers.

Karthik Subbaraman

India Program Manager

Karthik Subbaraman

Karthik has been working in public health for the past decade, specifically engaging in several healthcare consultancy projects with governments and global organizations to design clinical and operational workflows for primary care facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa through Philips. Karthik has led engagement with technical teams to support innovative product and service development, and brings extensive experience in the areas of technology development, R&D and monitoring and evaluation. Karthik has worked in Kenya, US and India and brings key insights into path to market in various geographies.

Sara Wallace Beatty

Communications Manager

Sara Wallace Beatty

Sara leads communications at the Global Development Incubator (GDI) where she guides communication efforts across all initiatives, advances GDI’s thought leadership, and oversees branding processes for new initiatives. Before joining GDI, Sara was part of the communications team at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and supported communications and fundraising at AppleTree Institute for Education Innovations.

She has worked at an array of journalism outlets including Media Matters for America, Philadelphia Magazine, and the Olive Press in Andalucía, Spain. Sara holds a B.A. in Sociology from Princeton University.

Lian Zeitz

Youth Program Manager

Lian Zeitz

As program manager at citiesRISE, Lian has been an active contributor to the philosophical underpinning of citiesRISE and leads international youth activities. Prior to joining citiesRISE, Lian worked with therapeutic programs for struggling youth in 15 states in the US to identify pathways for young people to play a greater role in their own care and the development of mental health programs. He has also worked internationally on areas such as suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse in Bhutan, Indonesia, and Zambia.

He frequently speaks at national and international conferences about student experiences in therapeutic programs, trauma-focused community development, and pathways to successful transitions in life. Lian earned a B.A. from Quest University Canada, where he focused on public health and international development, and a certificate for Leadership in Mental Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. If he isn’t dreaming big about playing his part in solving the world’s most pressing challenges, Lian can most likely be found playing outside or climbing mountain peaks.