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Program Staff: The Hispaniola Initiative

Hispaniola Initiative Program Staff

Gregory Noland, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, and Malaria

In 2020, Gregory Noland was named director of the Carter Center’s River Blindness Elimination Program, Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program, and Schistosomiasis Control Program, as well as the Center's Hispaniola Initiative, which supports binational coordination between the Dominican Republic and Haiti to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis on the island of Hispaniola.

Noland joined The Carter Center in June 2011 as a program epidemiologist with more than a decade of basic and applied research experience in parasitic diseases. Prior to joining the Center, he was a project manager and postdoctoral fellow for a University of Minnesota malaria research program in Kisumu, Kenya, in partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute. While in Kisumu, Noland managed operations of a more than 40-person staff on a multimillion-dollar research program to examine the epidemiology of malaria transmission and immunity in western Kenya. From 1998 to 2001, he was a guest researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Parasitic Diseases.

Noland received a doctorate in molecular microbiology and immunology in 2007 from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he examined the impact of intestinal helminth infection on malaria disease progression, transmission, and vaccine response. He also holds a master of public health degree in global epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Davidson College.

Frank O. Richards Jr., M.D.
Senior Advisor, River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, and Malaria

Dr. Frank Richards served as director of the Carter Center's River Blindness Elimination Program, Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program, and Schistosomiasis Control Program from 2005-2020. During his tenure, these programs assisted ministries of health in 11 countries to provide (cumulatively) more than half a billion treatments to treat and prevent these debilitating diseases. Millions of treatments for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis have been safely stopped in nine of these countries. Richards also was co-director of the Center's Malaria Program from 2007-2014. That program helped distribute over 18 million bed nets to prevent malaria in Nigeria and Ethiopia, reducing infection rates in the areas where the program was active by 50% and 90%, respectively.

Richards came to The Carter Center from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he spent 23 years in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria. He retired with the rank of captain in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Read full bio.

Stephen Blount, M.D., M.P.H.
Advisor, Hispaniola Initiative
Director, Special Health Projects

Dr. Stephen Blount joined The Carter Center as director of Special Health Projects in 2013. Blount oversees the Center's work to intensify binational coordination between the Dominican Republic and Haiti to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis on the island of Hispaniola. He is also leading the Center's effort to expand public health training in low-resource countries.

Before joining The Carter Center, Blount spent 25 years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a succession of leadership positions, the last of which was as associate director for global health development. Prior to that, he directed the CDC's Office of Global Health from 1997 to 2005 and the Coordinating Office of Global Health from 2005 to 2010. In these roles, Blount provided programmatic and financial oversight for the Global AIDS Program, global immunization and disease eradication activities, as well as malaria, tuberculosis, and tobacco control efforts. Read full bio. 

Karen Hamre, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Epidemiologist

Karen Hamre joined The Carter Center in 2021 after nearly a decade of experience with malaria, including recent work as an epidemiologist and CDC Foundation field employee at the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria in the Malaria Zero consortium. In Haiti, she provided technical assistance to Haiti’s National Malaria Control Program to strengthen surveillance and implement malaria elimination activities. Hamre earned a doctorate in epidemiology in 2015 from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. As a National Institutes of Health Fogarty Global Health Fellowship Scholar, she lived for 11 months in Kisumu, Kenya, where she contributed to the Kenya Medical Research Institute clinic, laboratory, and field data collection operations and helped build capacity at the local level. She holds a master of public health degree from Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor of arts degree from St. Olaf College.

Brianna Poovey, M.P.H.
Program Associate

Brianna Poovey provides programmatic support to the Carter Center Hispaniola Initiative. She joined the Center’s Special Health Projects unit as a graduate research assistant in 2018, having been a program assistant with the River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis, and Schistosomiasis programs and a volunteer and intern for the Trachoma Control Program. Some of Poovey’s earlier accomplishments include work in Senegal with the World Social Forum, where she helped develop innovative techniques to educate Senegalese youth on STI prevention, and her work in Togo where she co-designed and implemented a project to support maternal health and family planning work with Association des Sages-Femmes du Togo. Poovey holds a bachelors degree from Emory University in psychology and linguistics, with a minor in global health, cultures, and societies. She earned a master of public health degree with a concentration in health promotion and behavior from Georgia State University.

Andrea Echols
Program Assistant

Andrea Echols provides logistical and administrative support to the Center's river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and malaria programs. She is a native of Atlanta who graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s degree in history and theater. Her history concentration in law, economics and human rights inspired her to work in the nonprofit sector, as her studies focused on minority communities and their disadvantages. Previously, Echols worked as a program assistant for Emory’s Master’s in Development Practice program.

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