Christie Desir serves as Haiti Health Initiative’s Public Affairs Ambassador for the school initiative. Christie, former Miss Haiti Universe, holds a BBA in marketing and a minor in fashion styling. She left her career at Interscope Records doing brand marketing and partnerships to move back to Haiti to make a difference in her country. Christie understood at an early age that her purpose in life is to give back to Haiti by creating sustainable and resourceful jobs and by contributing to youth education development. She believes that every child should have access to basic education, no matter what circumstances he/she lives in. On her first mission trip with Haiti Health Initiative (HHI) to the community of Timo, Fond’Oies, she instantly felt connected with the remote and mountainous area and, most importantly, with the people. She witnessed a whole community come together in hopes for a better life, to provide for their families on their own, and for continuous education. Christie is dedicated to improving the health, education level, and well-being of Haitians, especially children, one community at a time, by joining forces and collaborating with Haiti Heath Initiative.
Luke Ellsworth currently serves as treasurer for Haiti Health Initiative. He is a certified public accountant and is employed as the controller for a growing technology company. He has experience in the not-for-profit, banking, utilities, and technology industries and is excited to be a part of HHI. When he’s not tending to his financial responsibilities, he enjoys backpacking and hiking with his wife and kids, who also enjoy raising puppies for the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization.
Kathleen Nielsen is a Registered Dietitian nutritionist. She has a Bachelor of Science in medical dietetics from Brigham Young University and will soon complete a healthcare MBA from Western Governor’s University. She has worked for Intermountain Healthcare for nearly 38 years and is currently the North Region Director of Food and Nutrition Services at McKay-Dee Hospital. She first heard of HHI when founder Marc-Aurel Martial was looking for a dietitian to go on a trip to Haiti and someone gave him her contact information. Her first trip to Haiti was in February 2010, right after the earthquake. Because of her ample experience with developing nations and her desire to help people, Kathleen traveled to Haiti with HHI every year through 2013 and is now the director of nutrition for the organization. She has served as the head dietician on medical trips to Haiti and also suggested and assisted with the implementation of a solar food dehydrator in Timo. She continues to recruit and train dieticians to go on trips to Haiti and is currently consulting on the kitchen for the new school. Kathleen loves BYU sports and has 35 nieces and nephews and more than 40 great nieces and nephews. Though she has no children of her own, she enjoys her role as the favorite aunt.
Alex Carroll earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental science with minors in both international development and French from Brigham Young University in 2013. He also obtained a Master of Science in environmental science with a minor in social innovation from Brigham Young University in 2015. He is currently working in the field of international agriculture development and research as the agriculture program coordinator for Meds & Food for Kids in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. He also instructs, translates, and interprets Haitian Creole and works to further environmental sustainability, particularly in an international development context. He heard about HHI through his membership in the Haitian Creole interpretation team with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. HHI founder Marc-Aurel Martial is the coordinator of the team and first asked Alex to participate with HHI as a medical team leader in 2014. Alex has served as the team leader for 1 medical clinic and 1 dental clinic and has been on the HHI Board of Directors since 2015, working on translation projects as well as agriculture and environmental projects such as gardening, irrigation, and tree planting. Alex was initially drawn to HHI’s focus on rural community development and he supports HHI’s mission of bringing education, healthcare services, training, and agriculture development to rural Haiti. He was born in Provo, Utah and raised in Cary, North Carolina but has been living in Haiti since November 2015. Alex enjoys hiking, backpacking, and generally experiencing nature. He also enjoys learning languages, singing, and playing music on the piano, organ, and saxophone.
Scott Ferguson is a periodontist, which is a dental specialty that diagnosis and treats periodontal disease and dental implants. He has a DDS degree and a certification in periodontics. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontics. Scott first heard of HHI when he was asked by (now fellow) HHI Board of Directors member Margaret Bennion to come on a dental humanitarian trip in 2015. He went to Haiti for the first time in October 2015 and truly enjoyed working with the people of Haiti. HHI founder Marc-Aurel Martial asked Scott to serve as resident dentist on the Board of Directors soon after the trip. Scott was drawn to HHI by the rewarding experience he had in Haiti and afterward felt that he needed to contribute his help and talents to this good cause. He also recognized that the people of Timo are appreciative and the area has a big need for health care. Scott is married and has 4 children. He loves spending time with his family, who are his heart and soul. He enjoys bicycle riding and tries to keep in shape by doing that when time allows.
Kiyomi has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is board certified in both pharmacotherapy specialty and ambulatory care. She currently works for Samaritan Health Services at a family medicine clinic in Corvallis, Oregon as an ambulatory care pharmacist. Kiyomi first heard of HHI through colleagues who had previously been on trips to Haiti with HHI. She has been involved with HHI since 2016 and went on the April 2016 medical trip. Since then she has continued to work with HHI by helping orient the pharmacy teams and assisting with procuring medications for upcoming trips. Kiyomi was initially drawn to HHI by the organization’s goal to improve the overall well being of Haitians not only through medical care but also through projects like school building and providing clean water systems. She also supports HHI’s goal to train and educate Timo Haitians so that they can eventually become completely self sufficient in their own community.
Dan Ursenbach, MBA
Dan Ursenbach is an engineer and manager at United Technologies Aerospace Company in Rockford, Illinois. He has a graduate degree in materials science from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Brigham Young University. Dan served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Haiti where he developed a love for the people and learned Haitian Creole. Dan was attracted to Haiti Health Initiative because of its balanced and transparent approach to health programs. He was excited to be a team leader on a medical trip in 2013. In his spare time, he likes to hike and sail with his family.
Lisa Ursenbach, MBA
Lisa Ursenbach is an adjunct professor at Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she teaches business management. She has a Masters of Organizational Behavior degree from Brigham Young University. She loves to see organizations reaching their full potential by aligning their strategy and values with action. This is what first drew her to want to be a part of Haiti Health Initiative and their passionate work in Haiti. Her specialties include microfinance and literacy. In her spare time, she likes to read and cook.
Glen has been involved in web development and marketing since 1999 for various corporations. He is responsible for the Haiti Health Initiative online presence, search engine optimization and web analytics. Glen has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a Bachelor of Commerce honors degree from the University of South Africa. He has shared his skills and talents and volunteered his time for non-profit organizations in Africa, and now with Haiti Health Initiative. He enjoys spending time with his family, travel, photography, technology and family history research.
Rosanne Lewis, RN
Rosanne Lewis has been a nurse since 1991 and has worked at Moab Regional Hospital (MRH) for 24 years. She currently works in the labor and delivery unit and loves it; she is also the lactation counselor for MRH. She heard about HHI through a nurse friend who offered one of the labor and delivery nurses the opportunity to go to Haiti to help teach traditional birth attendants (TBAs) good birth practices. Rosanne was the lucky one who took the opportunity and she has been involved with HHI for over 4 years now. She has been involved with TBA education and now has responsibility for all women and children’s health issues. Her extensive research on TBA, women, and children’s issues from a global perspective has been put to good use! She was initially drawn to HHI by the organization’s mission to make people accountable and eventually responsible for their own health and well being. She supports HHI’s education of native Timo residents and the gradual transfer of leadership and follow-through in healthcare solutions from Americans to Haitians. Rosanne is married and has six children. Haiti has become a passion for her, and she spends much of her time thinking of ways that she can teach TBAs and nurses how to improve their education and health.
Ben Thomas, DMD
Ben Thomas first completed a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a minor in French. He then completed dental school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed by master’s degree in public health and a three-year specialty certificate in periodontology. He now works as a periodontist in a private practice in southwest Calgary. Ben first heard of HHI from the Academy of LDS Dentists’ website, where he was looking for a humanitarian dentistry internship. He first volunteered with HHI in the spring of 2013 as a clinical dentist when he was a public health student. Since then he has been back twice more on dental trips, including once as a lead dentist. He now serves as the director of the Timo scholarship program as part of the Board of Directors. Ben was initially drawn to HHI by the organization’s sustainable principles like encouraging local direction and involvement in projects and bringing the people of Timo in as equals. He also appreciates HHI’s commitment to one community at a time in a wide variety of projects. Ben is happily married and has 4 children that keep him busy in his time away from work. He enjoys traveling and has visited more than 20 countries. He enjoys cooking and eating new foods as well as interacting with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Becca Peccanos, MPH
Margaret Bennion, RDH