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 Co-Founder
Originally from India, Moitreyee has been guided by the core belief that everything is connected, and that large-scale social transformation happens when people, communities, and institutions work together. Moitreyee spent 10 years in research and development at General Electric (GE) where she successfully led multidisciplinary teams, leveraging diverse skill-sets to find ways to translate discoveries across sectors. From R&D, she moved to leading GE Foundation’s Global Health portfolio in 22 countries, forging connections across cultures and sectors to build multi-stakeholder initiatives in maternal child health and technology for health.
With citiesRISE, Moitreyee brings her unique vision for collective, community-based action to the issue of mental health, breaking down barriers and unifying people, communities, and institutions in the service of helping others. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics and has received Cambodia’s highest Medal of Honor for Philanthropy, the Global Business Coalition’s Award for Disease Prevention & Beyond, and GE’s Highest Technical Team Award.
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.
Malvikha is a health systems, leadership, and policy enthusiast with a focus on mental health among youth in humanitarian and development settings. She is fascinated by the ways in which youth leaders and collaborators can create meaningful reform by transcending the traditional silos and barriers that often stand in the way of building a stronger world for all. She has witnessed this over the past two years in her role as a co-founder and current Chair of the International Working Group for Health Systems Strengthening (IWG) – a global collaborative of emerging public health professionals committed to health systems reform at all levels and across sectors.
Malvikha has also served as a consultant for mental health and psychosocial support among children and adolescents at UNICEF HQ and the Middle East and North Africa Regional Offices. At UNICEF, she collaborated with country, regional, and global stakeholders to leverage sound data and M&E strategies to guide evidence-based programming and policy processes. Malvikha holds a M.S. in Public Health in Health Systems from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has additional certifications in Evaluations of International Health Programs, as well as in Humanitarian Health. She is excited to join citiesRISE, and to collaborate with the team to create stronger mental health systems for all.
Learning and Acceleration
Raili is a Seattle-based professional with lived experience in mental health who has dedicated the past 15+ years to making positive social and environmental change through strategic, advisory, and operational roles in the social sector. For the past six years she has focused on ways to scale solutions to the size of the problems they seek to address. Raili’s last role was with Spring Impact, a boutique consultancy focused on the aforementioned issue area, where she led teams in engagements supporting hundreds of organizations and senior leaders to design and execute strategies and operational plans to sustainably scale their impact.
Her professional background also includes on-the-ground implementation of community-based development and agricultural projects in Benin, West Africa, as well as a strong foundation of project management while running utility-scale renewable energy projects in the private sector. Raili holds a Project Management Professional Certification, and is thrilled to be working with citiesRISE and use her extensive expertise to help move the needle in the adolescent mental health space.
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 transferable 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.
Mental Health Friendly Cities
Ramya is a public health professional with over 14 years of experience in strategic planning, program and portfolio management, network building and stakeholder engagement for public health programs in low and middle income countries. In her last role, as Senior Manager with the Partnership for Healthy Cities, she worked with governments and other stakeholders across 18 cities, helping them design, implement and scale public health interventions across multiple program lines. Prior to this, Ramya worked in organizations such as the Institute for Reproductive Health, the World Health Organization, and ACCESS Health International, establishing and delivering programs across a range of health sectors.
Ramya holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Policy Studies from the University of London and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. She is currently pursuing a Professional Doctorate in Health from the University of Bath, and her research interest is broadly in the area of mental health. Ramya is very excited to join citiesRISE, where she can combine her expertise in program management and network building with her interest in mental health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Milka is a public health professional who is passionate about mental health and development. She has over 10 years’ experience in mental health research, evaluations and policy, working with community based organizations in Kenya and collaborating with partners internationally. She has participated in and led several collaborative research projects in Kenya and beyond. Milka contributed to mental health evidence generation and advocacy in Kenya with her well documented work and co-authorship with other research team members in three reputable international journals. She was involved in the formative stages of citiesRISE’s work in Kenya through a partnership with BasicNeeds, and has played a key role in the early stages of the development of that platform. Milka looks forward to working with the team to enhance evidence generation and documentation to ultimately influence practice, programs, and to support policy work.
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.
Maureen is a dedicated mental health advocate based in Kenya. She is a co-founder of Speak Mind Love Foundation, a youth-led mental health organization that focuses on advocacy, raising awareness, public education, and building resilience. Maureen is particularly passionate about transforming and empowering communities, ensuring that persons with lived experiences are fully included in mental health decisions, and ensuring that young people have a place of meaningful participation in society. As part of her quest to deepen her knowledge on advocacy, she was selected to attend the Bridge SDG-CRPD Module 1 training by the International Disability Alliance, which she successfully completed. Maureen is a member of the citiesRISE Nairobi Youth Leaders Network as well as a member of the lived experience council of Healthy Brain Global Initiative (HBGI). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Needs Education with a focus on emotional and behavioral disorders.
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.
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.
Christine is a global health and youth development practitioner who is passionate about research and global health equity. Most recently, she served as a Project Manager with the Adolescent Research Collaborative at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley working on a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project with Very Young Adolescents (VYAs) in Tanzania. This work resulted in the creation of a guidance manual which informed ways to integrate principles of developmental science to VYA programming for sexual and reproductive outcomes and well-being.
Through her work in Ukraine, Christine found appreciation for helping build individuals and communities as vehicles of change. She worked as a capacity building specialist for AIDS/HIV NGOs and CSOs, strengthening the organizational capacity of organizations in advocacy programs and project development, and she utilized public relations to increase the impact that these organizations have on addressing needs around HIV prevention and the reduction of stigma of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Christine holds a Master in Social Work from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Community Organizing and a focus on Communities and Social Systems with an emphasis on global health, human rights, and gender. She is excited to join citiesRISE and to contribute to a model of health that is holistic and inclusive.