Our team brings the best of both worlds to the challenge of mental health: We combine seasoned mental health practitioners and leaders with 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.
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
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 well being, which became the raison d’être for citiesRISE. With citiesRISE, Moitreyee brings her unique vision for collective, community-based action to mental health and represents the culmination of a lifelong project of breaking down barriers. She received GE’s highest technical team award and the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Highest Award for Philanthropy. Moitreyee received a PhD in Physics from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Pamela is a psychiatrist and mixed methods researcher with 25 years of experience in global public health and global mental health research, education, training and capacity-building, and science policy leadership. Dr. Collins’s research has focused on social stigma related to mental illness and its relationship to women’s health behaviors; the intersections of mental health with HIV prevention, care, and treatment; and the mental health needs of diverse groups in the US, Latin America 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), 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. Currently the Principal Investigator of EQUIP Nairobi: a pilot implementation of Trauma-Focused CBT in Nairobi, Kenya, she is leading a more comprehensive effort to meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents in Nairobi. Pamela received her MD from Cornell University and her MPH from Columbia University in New York, NY.
Global Technical Programs
Lukoye Atwoli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at Moi University School of Medicine, and a Consultant Psychiatrist for the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and other facilities in Eldoret and western Kenya. He also holds visiting positions at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Duke University’s Institute of Global Health and an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. His work integrating city programs and implementation at citiesRISE is supported by years of global work, including with several consortia involved in mental health research and development in Kenya and in other parts of the world, including the Orphans and Separated Children’s Assessment Related to their health and well-being (OSCAR project) in western Kenya, the South African Stress and Health Survey (SASH), and the World Mental Health Surveys Consortium. Lukoye received his medical degree in Pyschiatry from University of Nairobi Medical School, Nairobi, Kenya and his PhD in Psychiatry from the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Global Insights & Analytics
Emily Queen is an operational analyst and storyteller who thrives on using research and strategy to create innovative content that inspires curiosity, wellbeing, and social cohesion. She has a background in psychology and storytelling platforms, as well as an understanding of successful digital media, always informed by analytics and data. Emily has gained experience helping patients navigate the intricacies of the mental health care system at a mental health technology start-up and also helped launch a “conscious entertainment” media platform, as the Producer and Director of Strategy. Her interests lie at the intersection of sustainability, culture, craft, art, and science. She is passionate about projects that encourage people to prioritize health and happiness as well as to connect meaningfully with one another. Emily graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a BA in Psychology and French.
Global Youth Programs
YooNa is an international educator and mental health advocate with over 10 years of experience empowering youth in capacity building and resilience. As a seasoned mental health specialist and trainer, she has extensive experience in developing and implementing various psychosocial support systems for youth.
As a founding member of the largest international boarding school in Korea, YooNa initiated the early identification and screening practices for mental health. She led comprehensive school-wide wellbeing programs, curated mental health policy and created a scaled coalition tasked with integrating systematic change at the city and national level. She has also served at Manhattan Hunter High School, International Rescue Committee, and Columbia’s Global Mental Health Lab, where she has actively bridged theory and practice by integrating knowledge gained from academia.
She possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in international relations and law, a license as school counselor(South Korea), and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in Education with concentrations in Global Mental Health & Trauma and Spirituality, Mind & Body(Columbia University, Teachers College).
Global Youth Engagement
Dawnique has dedicated her career to leading youth initiatives and campaigns for mission-driven organizations. In partnership with international and local organizations, she spearheaded several girls’ education campaigns and served as a strategist on youth reform.
Dawnique has extensive knowledge and work experience in healthy buildings and aging communities. She spent the past three years informing and providing resources for companies to position health and wellness as a priority for buildings and communities. Dawnique’s work in the aging community was centered around designing education and creative projects for seniors across New York City.
With this background, she brings a unique perspective on how to build and sustain global programs and campaigns.
Stephanie is a strategic communications expert providing guidance to nonprofit organizations in leveraging the power of communications to enhance their reach and impact. She collaborates with executive and development teams to identify and define their organizational needs, form clear communications objectives, and analyze target audiences to create customized communications plans that include detailed strategies, tactics, messages, and content tailored to resonate with various stakeholder groups. Stephanie has extensive experience in film and television development, production, and programming, spanning 15 years in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. As a creative executive at NBC Universal, she forged and fostered strategic partnerships and served as a liaison with elite-level clients to produce and deliver high quality, compelling, and visually stimulating content for many different platforms. As a result, she has sold and developed television projects with nearly every U.S. network. With this background, Stephanie brings valuable transferrable skills and a unique perspective on how creative content can be used to tell stories that effectively resonate with large and diverse audiences. Stephanie graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a B.S. in Film & Television and a minor in Sociology, and she recently earned a M.Sc. in Strategic Communications from The London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.
Sarah is privileged to bring her business acumen and expertise to citiesRISE. She has centered her career on supporting non-profit and for-profit organizations in building out financial systems, implementing processes to create efficiencies, and creating clear lines of communication between all stakeholders. Sarah brings over a decade of combined experience in finance, accounting, global health, and operations. A myriad of experiences has cultivated an expertise in serving as a translator and liaison across departments, with the ultimate goal of streamlining processes to provide space for organizations to more fully support the population served.
Strategy & Systems, Seattle
Jim Vollendroff has been instrumental to the initiation of the work of citiesRISE in Seattle/King County and has worked in the behavioral health field for over 35 years. He spent the first half of his career as a direct service provider starting as a clinician and finally the clinical director of patient services for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Lacey, WA. Jim next worked for the King County Department of Community and Human Services for 16 years, eleven as the Deputy Director and five as the Director of the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division. In this leadership position he was responsible for the delivery of a full continuum of mental health and substance use disorder services for the Medicaid and low income community and well as the community crisis responders. In January 2019 Jim became the founding director of the Harborview, University of Washington Behavioral Health Institute. As an individual in long term recovery Jim uses his life experience, educational background and professional experience to bring a unique perspective to the delivery of effective mental health and addiction treatment. Jim has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Kevin brings over 10 years of professional experience working in youth empowerment and community development. Kevin is originally from the California Bay Area, and moved to Seattle in 2010 to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA where he began his journey learning the foundations
of community organizing, undoing institutional racism, and program capacity building. While in Seattle, Kevin gained experience in developing youth-lead programs through his work at the YMCA and Communities in Schools of Seattle. Kevin’s experience in Seattle includes engaging youth leaders to improve outcomes for young adults transitioning from foster care, and developing school and community partnerships to increase educational opportunities for students of color. Kevin moved to New York City in 2017 to pursue an MSW and gain clinical counseling experience, focusing on culturally-responsive interventions for youth and adolescence who have experienced trauma. Kevin has a B.A. in Political Economics from University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Clinical Social Work from The City University of New York, Silberman School of Social Work.
Technical Leadership, Bogotá
Miguel is head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health in the School of Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and a Psychoanalyst at the Colombian Psychoanalytic Association. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana School of Medicine and an Associate Member at Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá. He also has his own private practice in adult psychiatry. Miguel brings an extensive background to his advisory role at citiesRISE, having also consulted for the World Bank for Mental Health in Latin America and Colombia. He specialized in Consultation Liaison Psychiatry at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá and has a Masters in Public Health from Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
Technical Leadership, Bogotá
Ramon Castaño brings a wealth of experience in public health in Latin America. He has developed research on the issue of equity in health financing, financial sustainability of the health system, autonomy of public hospitals and Centers of Excellence in health. Ramon is currently dedicated to promoting innovations in business models in the provision of health services which is vital to informing his role at citiesRISE. He is a corresponding member of the National Academy of Medicine of Colombia and holds a doctor of the Institute of Health Sciences, CES, a Master’s in Management and Health Policy of the Harvard School of Public Health and a PhD in politics and public health from the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London.
M Suresh Kumar
Technical Leadership, Chennai
M Suresh Kumar
Dr. M. Suresh Kumar is an accomplished Psychiatrist in Chennai, India, currently associated with the Psymed Hospital (Chetput) as Director & Consultant Psychiatrist and practicing at his private clinic in T Nagar. He was formerly a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health and Professor of Psychiatry at the Madras Medical College, Chennai and has been involved in research and has served as an investigator for several research projects in substance use and mental health for over 25 years. Dr. Kumar brings a special level of understanding to citiesRISE work in Chennai after extensive involvement in the field of drug use prevention, treatment and mental health as a service provider, teacher, trainer, researcher and international consultant. He holds positions on a number of international boards, task forces and working groups, relating to injecting drug use, HIV/AIDS and harm reduction. He is a former Hubert H Humphrey Fellow in substance use and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Fredric comes to citiesRISE with over 10 years of experience as a public health researcher. He worked at Sangath in Goa, India where he became Executive Director, managing the overall operations of the organization across all locations. He is experienced at implementing policies and procedures, liaising with and representing organizations to develop strong partnerships. He brings strong fundraising and administrative capacity to his citiesRISE role. Fredric has a BS in Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery from Goa University and an MSc in Public Health from Oxford Brookes University, in Oxford, UK.
Jaya Srinivasan has a decade of experience in business development and communications supporting her role as Chennai Program Manager. Previously, she worked as the 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 and, 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. Focus on Human Rights and Political Economy of Global Finance; MA dissertation on the influence of neoliberalism in the propagation of microcredit, viewed through the governmentality framework. Jaya earned a BA in Technology from ANITS, Andhra University and an MA in International Relations from University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.
Dr. Chitayi is the team and technical lead for citiesRISE Nairobi. As the President of the Kenya Psychiatric Association (KPA) he took part in the planning of the inaugural national mental health conference in Kenya in 2019 and led the May mental health awareness month campaign of 2020 through the KPA/citiesRISE partnership. Dr. Chitayi has been a member of several ministry of health committees working on initiatives around implementation of the national mental health policy 2015-2030, and is currently a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) developing the national suicide prevention strategy. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) and Master of Medicine in Psychiatry both from the University of Nairobi.
Yvonne Ochieng has been a frontrunner at Nzumari Africa, an organization that works on poverty in slums, gender-based violence, HIV and sexual and reproductive health initiatives in Nairobi. Nzumari has been taking on mental health by empowering youth holistically using creative and interactive methodologies that fit into the dynamics of their evolving world. Yvonne is one of the key youth leaders in Kenya and the citiesRISE Youth Network and she has been synchronizing with other youth leaders from across the globe to accelerate the transformation in mental health happening in Kenya. Yvonne has a double major BA in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Michael Njeru is a Clinical Psychologist and has extensive experience working with the Centre for Assessment, Psychotherapy and Research at Nairobi West Hospital. His research interest is in mental health, especially in substance and behavioral addictions. He has been involved in mentoring students in Kenyan Universities and high schools for over 18 years and brings a deep connection to youth to his work at citiesRISE. He is a volunteer therapist and clinical supervisor for psychology interns at Mukuru Promotional Centre, a community organization helping over 5,000 young people in informal settlements receive access to mental health services and psychosocial support. He is a member of the Kenya Counselors and Psychologists Association. Michael received a Bachelors of Arts in Community Development, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya.
Youth Leadership, Nairobi
Samuel Talam is the founder of Amazing Minds Kenya, a youth led organization housed within Kenyatta University that equips students and staff with mental health resources. Amazing Minds promotes mental health through art, serves as a peer support and referral link for mental health care and services and offers youth leadership opportunities at the university. Samuel is a recipient of the citiesRISE Youth Challenge Award in 2017. Samuel is currently a student at Kenyatta University.
Technical Leadership, Sacramento
Claudia Jasin brings over 25 years of experience working on youth development in California to her role at citiesRISE. Claudia managed and then led the Jamestown Community Center in San Francisco for 18 years with a mission to provide transformative youth development services rooted in cultural and artistic traditions of communities and began working in Sacramento in 2014 with Way Up Sacramento, an initiative of Councilmember Jay Schenirer, working to drive change at a community level in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. Claudia acted as a project specialist and consultant for Way Up Sacramento and consultant to Sacramento’s City Manager (2017-2018) where she led the development of Sacramento’s Citywide Youth Development Campaign Plan. Claudia also consults with the Sierra Health Foundation to manage the Sacramento Youth Pop Up initiative in order to stay closely connected to the youth segment of the city. She received her BA from The University of Pennsylvania and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Greg Garcia has worked with young people of color since 1996, building capabilities at nonprofits serving youth in California and Washington state. Prior to bringing his skills to citiesRISE as the Sacramento program manager, he was a Community Impact Manager at United Way of King County. His expertise includes acculturation work, youth development, behavioral health and leadership skill building with youth from low-income backgrounds. He has a BS degree in Psychology from University of California, Davis and a Masters Degree in Counseling from California State University, Sacramento.
Sommer Hayes is passionate about supporting and building community-based programs and collaborations that can be offered to a wide variety of youth and young adults. She is a seasoned Project Manager with experience at Way Up Sacramento and the Oak Park Smart program which supports Oak Park schools by strengthening and launching new initiatives that support the educational success of Oak Park children and their families. Sommer is a founding member of the Greater Sacramento Collective Empowerment Group, an organization dedicated to serving and empowering underserved communities and she serves on the South Sacramento Kaiser Permanente Patient Advisory Council. Sommer earned a BA from California State University, Chico in Organizational Communication and Women’s Studies.
Youth Leadership, Chennai
Shravan Raghav is the founder of The Safe Place, a youth-led cohort based out of Chennai, India that advocates for mental health and promotes awareness through creative and interactive techniques. He helps The Safe Place conduct various mental health focused events in the city of Chennai and creates various digital segments and campaigns to advocate for mental health literacy. Shravan is currently pursuing his B.S. in Psychology from University of Madras, India. He is passionate about positive psychology and hopes to work in the field through storytelling and motivational coaching.
Gretchen is a creative expression and trauma therapist, a visual artist, and a social justice worker with the goal of connecting people through transformative creativity. Before attending the University of Washington to earn her Master of Social Work, she always sought opportunities to connect with others and facilitate story sharing, especially amongst young people.
Gretchen’s scope of practice has included educational systems, community-based mental health organizations, and juvenile rehabilitation systems. Within the juvenile rehabilitation system, she worked as a clinician in an acute mental health unit, as well as with police and programs within the system to elevate more equitable treatment. She has worked with King and Pierce counties in Washington state, USA in behavioral interventions, case management, and leadership consultation, and has collaborated with United Way of King County to expand mental health access and resources to students. As the Director of Restorative Justice at a local middle school, Gretchen re-designed the behavioral system to be more therapeutic and restorative.
In each setting, she has utilized the process of artmaking to inspire connectedness and radical imagination in a way that develops resiliency. Gretchen recognizes that clinical treatment is just one way to support the mental health wellness of people, and she is excited to bring her extensive experience, unique perspective, and unbridled passion to the the citiesRISE team.
Nyawira has dedicated her career to supporting the research and implementation of health programs that focus on young people. She has more than 15 years of experience in this field within LMIC settings, including multi-country clinical trials, surveillance studies, and programs that address socio-behavioural aspects of health. Nyawira has been an NIH Fogarty fellow grantee and is currently a P.I. for a research grant that focuses on the integration of mental health screening interventions within primary care for youth living with HIV. She is currently a non-tenured scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and a visiting scientist at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Previously, Nyawira was a project director at LVCT health, where she led large adolescent multi-layered socio-behavioural and biological reproductive health education and HIV prevention programs (DREAMS). She also brings skills in leadership and strategic partnerships as a director of Gold Star Kenya, a Nairobi-based NGO that focuses on health system strengthening, program implementation, and optimizing youth access to care.
Nyawira holds an undergraduate degree in Medicine, a Masters in Public Health, and is currently completing a PhD in Global Health.
Joyce is excited to be joining citiesRISE as the Program Coordinator in Nairobi, Kenya. As part of the team that worked on citiesRISE Nairobi landscape mapping and with citiesRISE youth, she brings a unique understanding of mental health in Kenya.
Joyce previously worked with BasicNeeds BasicRights Kenya (BNBR) in various capacities over nine years where, through collaborative use of diverse planning, control, and process management methods and techniques, she successfully coordinated the project and functional activities of the organization. This included, but was not limited to, proposal writing, budgeting, resource management, donor reporting, and monitoring and coordination of collaborative activities with partners and stakeholders.
She has been involved in mental health stakeholder mobilization while at BNBR and in support supervision, mentoring, and coaching of youth-led mental health organizations Amazing Minds Africa and Nzumari Africa – both of which were recipients of the citiesRISE Youth Challenge Award.
Joyce is passionate about working with young people and helping them to grow healthy minds, develop their voices, influence their communities, and reach their potential. She holds a B.S. in International Business Management from Africa Nazarene University as well as a diploma in Library and Information Science from the University of Nairobi.
Dr. Shiva Prakash is a trained Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who has trained and worked both in the United States and in India. He currently works with a NGO serving the mental health needs of people in India. Dr. Prakash has an active interest in empowering young people, not only with information about mental health, but also with ways and means of creating support for each other and building a positive environment for themselves and future generations. He is interested in research surrounding interventions that are directed towards youth, while engaging in their mental health and well-being journey.