Vital Health Africa is a humanitarian, medical, and educational mission providing low cost, high impact intervention in maternal, newborn, child health in Sub Saharan Africa.
An unknowing friendship on the tennis court served as the platform to change lives. Janis and Dr. Leah’s lives were changed forever when they realized they both shared the same passion. Janis had long dreamed of working hands-on with the children, while Dr. Leah went to Medical School with the intent of helping the children of Africa.
Janis’s went to Africa in 2009 and 2010 to do site visits while traveling with Segal Family Foundation. She would see many projects in a short period of time without really meeting the people or learning the culture. She had longed to work hands on and use her teaching skills to make a difference. During her 2014 Janis travel to the Nyaka AID’s Orphans Project with Dr. Leah where she was able to work in the classroom teaching art and develop a personal relationship with the grandmothers and community.
In 2014, both Janis and Dr. Leah realized their dreams and traveled to Uganda together. Dr. Leah worked as a general physician in a rural clinic while looking for her niche. Upon return, and through research, she realized the appalling statistics of maternal newborn child health in Africa. This was the jumping off point for Dr. Leah to realize that she did not have to reinvent herself, but she already had the highly specialized skills and training to make a big impact on babies’ lives. She quickly transformed her high-tech NICU skills to adapt to the rural resource-poor setting by taking Helping Babies Breathe, Essential Care for Every Baby, and S.T.A.B.L.E training.
From these experiences Vital Health Africa was born. Janis and Dr. Leah took their partnership back to the tennis court and played Barry Segal, Founder of the Segal Family Foundation, for funding of equipment needed to pilot their project. Needless to say, Janis and Dr. Leah won – in so many ways.
Janis Simon, Co-Founder of Vital Health Africa
Janis Simon has eight years of experience in the non-profit arena specializing in Africa. She became involved in Africa in 2008 as a founding board member of the Segal Family Foundation. Since 2010 she has been the Board Chair of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project located in Uganda. She has a Master of Education degree, was a school teacher in Connecticut for ten year, and is a certified Master Trainer in Helping Babies Breathe.
Dr. Leah Greenspan Hodor, Co-Founder
Dr. Greenspan is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Neonatal Medicine. Dr. Greenspan has developed extensive experience during her humanitarian missions in both Sub Saharan Africa and Haiti where she has taught Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) and Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB). She is a Master Trainer in HBB, ECEB, and is a certified instructor for S.T.A.B.L.E. Dr. Greenspan is a practicing Neonatologist at a large community hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Greenspan serves on the board for Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in rural Uganda, as well as serving on the board of VHA.
See Dr. Greenspan’s CV
Ronny Simon, President of Vital Health Africa
Ronald Simon has extensive experience in business and philanthropy. Before retiring he was CEO of the nation’s largest commercial and industrial roofing company for thirty years. Currently he is consulting on real estate and development. In addition, he is on the board of Slingshot Power and B'nai Vail. He is also overseeing the business portion of Vital Health Africa, including legal, accounting and insurance.
Dr. Jonathan Hodor, Vice President
Dr. Hodor is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal Fetal Medicine. He is currently a practicing Perinatologist at Maryland Perinatal Associates, providing the highest quality care for high-risk pregnancies in greater Maryland and Washington DC. In 2006, he completed a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington DC. (Insert CV doc with link on website)
Suzanne Mintz, Nurse Coordinator
Suzanne Mintz is a neonatal intensive care nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland. She holds national certification in her field. Suzanne went on her first VHA medical mission trip to Uganda in November 2015 and has been hooked ever since. Suzanne is passionate about working with babies and their parents. She is equally committed to teaching and sharing knowledge to ensure sustainable outcomes. She also founded and ran a nonprofit organization focusing on literacy development with inner-city youth. Suzanne holds an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Montgomery College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Florida, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Indiana University.
Tracy Ritter, Project Coordinator
Tracy Ritter is a Bachelor prepared Registered Nurse, with a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences & Global Public Health. For 20 years, Tracy has consulted with a variety of domestic and international aid nonprofits in Africa. Tracy has spent considerable time in Africa and has extensive experience in cross-cultural organizational development. Tracy has lived out her passion of sustainable development by providing her expertise in organizational development, fundraising and project management.
Lori Smith, Governance Chairperson
Lori has more than 25 years of legal experience in a corporate environment managing corporate entities. Currently she is an Executive Assistant for a Real Estate Investment firm. Lori has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the State University of New York.
Matt Stauble, Media Manager
Matt Stauble lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, splitting his time between independent media production and farming. With over a decade of professional photography and video experience, Matt captures visual content to document and share the Vital Health Africa story. Matt is the web master of the VitalHealthAfrica.org website, and oversees the internet presence. Along with media and marketing, Matt utilizes his nutrition knowledge and food growing skills on the Vital Health Africa board of directors with a focus on education. He traveled with the team on the pilot trip to Uganda, to document with his camera and to help teach nutrition and gardening skills.
Sandrine Henton, Education Advisor
Sandrine is the founder of Educate Global Fund (EGF), an investment adviser and asset manager dedicated to Education and its ancillary sectors. EGF seeks to improve educational outcomes and life chances for children in low-income communities with an initial focus on East Africa. Sandrine was previously Strategy Director for a non-profit organization and has over a decade of professional experience in strategy consulting. Sandrine holds an MSC in International Business from Maastricht University, and was part of the inaugural class of the Oxford Impact Investing Program at Said Business School.
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, Development Chairperson
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is the founder of The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, which he created in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown. He graduated from Makerere University in Kampala and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University where he studied Human Rights Advocacy. Jackson has been named a 2012 CNN Hero, a Heifer International Hero, recognized in Time Magazine’s ‘Power of One’ Series, and is the recipient of the 2015 Waislitz Global Citizen Award.
Linda Dornbach, Secretary
Linda Dornbach is a Master trained Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) Instructor. Linda is Vital Health Africa's first volunteer, she has been on three mission trips and has taught HBB in eight districts. Furthermore, she is a middles school substitute teacher at Old Lady of Grace Catholic School in Edina, Minnesota. She was the Executive Director of the Minnesota Blades and President of Our Lady of Grace Parent School Organization. Linda has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin. Linda is highly organized with strong computer skills and a passion to give back.
Liz Smith, Treasurer
Liz has over 20 years of experience in sales management, business development, and executive leadership. Currently she is an Executive Leadership Consultant at the Avalon Institute. She served as Chair of a school educational foundation for 5 years as well as serving on various other foundations supporting woman and children. Liz has a BA from DePaul University. She lives in The D.C. area with her husband and teenage children.
Dr. Chrys Gaitatzes
Neonatologist Holy Cross Hospital, MD
Dr. Masaba Baniru
Medical Director of Tobin Health Center Mbale
Dr. Emily Tumwakire
Medical Director at Kanungu Health Center IV
Nurse and Midwife Trainers
Enrolled Nurse at Kambuga Hospital
Enrolled Midwife at Kambuga
The Gould Family Foundation provides grants, to qualified NGOs in
sub-Saharan Africa, to support prenatal screening, clean safe deliveries and post-delivery care for mother and infant. Our grants fund Maternal Newborn Health (MNH) supporting equipment like ultrasound machines, exam-delivery tables, OB-GYN instruments & supplies, neonatal resuscitation kits, sterilizers and incubators.