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Who we are

Core team

Marie Dahl

Director

Marie Dahl, MA is a humanitarian professional with 13 years of experience in the humanitarian sector, with a core focus on children and youth‘s rights to protection, education, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Marie’s academic background includes a BA in International Social Work and a MA in International Humanitarian Action. Marie brings field experience from across Asia, the Middle East and Africa on humanitarian response, interagency coordination, capacity building, strategy and advocacy.  

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Dan Kirk Biswas

Senior MHPSS Technical Advisor

Dan Kirk-Biswas, MSc, is a public health specialist with focus on mental health and psychosocial support for children and youth. Dan’s experience includes working 10 years in Greece where he co-founded and led a NGO supporting unaccompanied children and refugee teenagers through protection, education, accommodation, and integration programs. Dan has strong experience and interest in bridging research and practice, and has led projects on child protection, education, and mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in collaboration with UC Berkeley, MIT, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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Victor Ugo

MHPSS and Youth Engagement Advisor

Dr. Victor Ugo, MD is the founder of Nigeria’s and one of Africa’s biggest youth-led and user-led youth mental health network, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI). With an MSc in Global Mental Health from Kings College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Victor has been at the forefront of elevating the global discourse on youth mental health and is passionate about conversations regarding meaningful engagement and participation of children and young people at all levels of programming, research and advocacy in mental health. 

At The MHPSS Collaborative, Victor leads the youth engagement portfolio. 

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Kate Harris

Programmes Advisor

Kate Harris, MSc is a project management generalist with a bachelor’s degree in law and psychology, and a master’s degree in global studies, focusing on migration. Kate has provided project support across the legal, educational, and humanitarian sectors in Australia, Peru, Mexico, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as volunteering in a variety of refugee programmes. Kate is motivated to ensure programmes run efficiently to enable MHPSS technical staff to focus their expertise to promoting mental health and wellbeing for children, youth and families. In her current role, Kate oversees the MHPSS Collaborative’s programmes and budget, guides the programme team with grant management and partnership agreements, while advising the Director on strategic staffing, finance, and operational decisions.

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Deepali Pavagadhi

MHPSS Specialist

Deepali Pavagadhi (she/her), MSc is a mental health researcher with extensive experience in qualitative and quantitative research in low- and middle-income contexts, including India, Vietnam, and Nigeria. At the Collaborative, she is currently leading a research study that seeks to understand the well-being of children with disabilities. She is also supporting the development and evaluation of a global child and family MHPSS course for frontline workers in humanitarian settings. She has a M.Sc. in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health from King’s College London and is passionate about strengthening evidence and action on social determinants of mental health.

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Louise Juul Hansen

Advocacy and Communications Advisor

Louise Juul Hansen (she/her), MA is an advocacy and communications specialist with a master’s degree in media studies from the University of Copenhagen. Louise has worked with advocacy and communication in the field of MHPSS supporting both communication, advocacy and development of training material, handbooks and guidelines for more than 10 years. She has a special expertise in dissemination and communication of EU funded research projects.  

At the MHPSS, Louise advises on advocacy and communications for The Collaborative and its projects. She leads the communications and dissemination work for the REFUGE-ED project.

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Karlo Dukic

Programmes Officer

Karlo Dukic, MSc, has more than three years of experience at the intersection of humanitarian and development programming in development consultancy, INGO, and the public and private sectors. Karlo has worked on several assignments in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen, Nepal, Denmark, and Croatia focusing on livelihoods, food security, nutrition, education, and MHPSS. Karlo holds BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Dag Hammarskjöld University College in Zagreb and an MSc in Global Development from the University of Copenhagen. Karlo is currently supporting the development of the child and family global course for community workers in emergency settings, as well asthe  joint Ukraine response in child and family MHPSS for national and international agencies. 

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Catherine Wambui

Programmes Officer

Catherine Wambui (she/her) holds an MSc and a BA in Social Work from University College Absalon, along with an MA in Global Studies and International Development from Roskilde University. She has extensive experience supporting vulnerable populations, working with children, youth, families, and refugees in both public and private sectors. Catherine’s work spans national and international health strategies, emergency responses, and development projects. She is passionate about human rights and community inclusion, particularly for marginalized groups. At The MHPSS Collaboratives, Catherine is the Programmes Officer, overseeing administrative project management, including project development, portfolio management, and budget control in close collaboration with the team.

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Omar Al Sayed

Communication & Project Officer

Omar Al Sayed is a humanitarian professional with experience working on the intersection of Arts and Humanities. For over five years from a total of ten years of personal development, Omar has built a solid background in communications. On the flip side, Omar has a robust background in youth outreach and mobilization, engaging in projects spanning topics from child protection to fostering youth participation in local societies, notably in Lebanon, Greece and Denmark.

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Lead Consultants

Jennifer Flemming (she/her)

Research Advisor, Lead on Education and ECD

Dr. Jennifer (Jenn) Flemming is an applied social science researcher focused on education in emergencies and support to children, youth, and families in humanitarian contexts. Jenn holds a PhD in Education Policy, Research, and Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MEd in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For the last decade, Jenn has led research  for I/NGOs focused on holistic education programming, MHPSS in EiE, refugee and education policy, and resilience with emphasis on community, youth, and participant led design and methods. At the Collaborative, Jenn currently leads the three-year ‘MHPSS in Action’ research project studying education-based MHPSS programming in Kenya, Colombia, and Greece and serves as advisor for the education and ECD portfolio.

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Jura Augustinavicius, PhD (She, her)

Research Advisor, Lead on Climate Change

Jura Augustinavicius is the Lead Researcher on Climate Change and MHPSS at the MHPSS Collaborative. She is also an Assistant Professor at the School of Population and Global Health at McGill University and an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Jura’s climate change and mental health work has a strong program implementation and evaluation focus. She regularly provides technical support to governments, NGOs, and UN agencies on mental health and psychosocial support in the context of climate change. Jura supports the MHPSS Collaborative’s Climate Change and MHPSS portfolio.

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Suzan Song, MD, MPH, PhD

Research Advisor, Lead on Emerging MHPSS Challenges

Suzan Song, MD, MPH, PhD is the Portfolio Lead on Emerging MHPSS Challenges and Strategies at the MHPSS Collaborative. As well, she is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Global Child and Family Mental Health at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital. For the past two decades, she has focused on clinical care, policy/advocacy and research for children and families of forced migration, armed conflict, torture, trafficking and hostage across the U.S., sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe for various multilateral, governmental, academic, and community organizations. At the Collaborative, Suzan is developing a portfolio to convene actors and develop strategies on addressing emerging MHPSS challenges, anticipatory action and strategic foresight for children and families in humanitarian settings

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Advisory Board

Anne Filorizzo Pla

Save the Children MHPSS Global lead

Focus area: MHPSS

Graduated in Child Psychology, Anne started her clinical practice in 2005. After her first humanitarian mission in Lebanon, she stepped end of 2010, into her 1st emergency in Haiti, leading mental health and care practices responses integrated into health and nutrition programs. For the past 13 years, she has been advocating for human rights, building capacity on MHPSS and disability inclusion, contributing to the development of inter-agency guidance and promoting strategical cross-sectoral mainstreaming of MHPSS.

Olivia Biermann

Karolinska Institutet

Olivia Biermann, PhD, is a health policy and systems researcher at Karolinska Institutet and a knowledge translation consultant at the World Health Organization. Her current research focuses on the political economy of adolescent mental health and well-being, and she is co-leading a workstream on the topic as part of the 2023 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. Previously, Olivia was a Fellow at the Boston University-Rockefeller Foundation Commission on Health Determinants, Data, and Decision-making. She also worked as a consultant at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (2014-2017), supporting the Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Europe. Olivia was named an Emerging Voice for Global Health in 2018.

Mark Jordans

War Child Holland

Mark Jordans, PhD, is a child psychologist and researcher. His research interests are the development, implementation and evaluation of psychosocial and mental health care systems in low and middle income countries, especially for children in adversities and in fragile states. Mark is the founder and Senior Technical Advisor of TPO Nepal, a mental health NGO in Nepal. He is an advisor to several global mental health initiates, including several WHO Expert Committees. He was a commissioner for the Lancet Commission Report on Global Mental Health.

Zeinab Hijazi

Senior Mental Health Technical Advisor, and Global Mental Health Lead at UNICEF

Focus area: Mental Health, Psychosocial wellbeing and development of children, adolescents and caregivers.

Dr. Zeinab Hijazi-  is the global technical lead on mental health at UNICEF, based in New York Headquarters. She provides program guidance and technical support across sectors and divisions to enhance UNICEF’s multi-sectoral approach to the provision of mental health & psychosocial support for children and families in humanitarian and development settings, this includes policy, data, research, innovations & advocacy work at UNICEF headquarters, and supporting coordination across sectors of health, education, and child protection to aid UNICEF country teams and partners in designing and implementing locally relevant, comprehensive and sustainable MHPSS strategies that (1) promote safe, nurturing environments for the recovery, psychosocial well-being and protection of children; and (2) engage children, caregivers and families, community systems and service providers at all levels of the social-ecological framework.  Zeinab has 15 years of experience supporting community based mental health and psychosocial programs globally across the Middle East and North Africa, East and South Africa,  West and Central Africa, Europe, South Asia, and Latin America

Ananda Galappatti

MHPSS.net

Ananda Galappatti is a medical anthropologist and MHPSS practitioner based in Sri Lanka. Over the past 27 years, he has worked to strengthen services for vulnerable children and adults in conflict, disaster, post-war transition and development contexts. He has also been cconcerned with improving practitioner access to knowledge and skills, building collaborative networks and enhancing coherence within thee field of MHPSS in Sri Lanka and globally. Ananda is a co-Director of the global online platform MHPSS.net, and was a co-founder the journal Intervention. Ananda is also a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo.

Sharon Sitania

Co-President Self Love Warrior Indonesia

Sharon Sitania is a 20-year-old youth from Indonesia, she’s passionate in advocating social rights & mental health since the age of 16. Therefore, she’s continuously making movements through Self Love Warrior as the Co-President. She was also one of the UNICEF x AstraZeneca Young Leaders 2021. With this program, she has been a moderator for the INSPIRE Conference 2021 by WHO & UNICEF, Youth Speaker for the Global Mental Health Summit 2022, and one of the panelists for the AEAN-AUSTRALIA Youth Mental Health Fellowship Forum

Alessandro Massazza

Policy & Advocacy Advisor, United for Global Mental Health

Alessandro Massazza completed his PhD in clinical psychology at University College London and worked as a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In his academic career, he specialised in the development and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support interventions in settings affected by adversity such as disasters and armed conflict. After working at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use at the World Health Organization on mental health in humanitarian settings, he transitioned to the Wellcome Trust where he was the focal point for work on climate change and mental health. He is now a Policy and Advocacy Advisor at United for Global Mental Health where he leads on their environment and climate change strategy.

Chiamaka P. Ojiako

Innovation Lead, East Midlands Imaging Network/Health Innovation East Midlands

Amaka is a lawyer and health policy professional with diverse work experience in the public, nonprofit and international development sectors. Her work is at the intersection of law, research, policy, and innovation, with a focus on health system governance and fostering health equity.  She has published opinion pieces and articles on several global health topics with BMJ Global Health, PLOS Global Public Health etc. and hosts the Global Health Law and Policy Dialogue (GHLPd) platform on LinkedIn. Currently, she is working in the public sector to drive digital transformation for health and health data governance for research and innovation.