About US

Our Staff

Touch employs a team of highly skilled professionals who are committed to improving the health of the Tanzanian people. Our team brings a wide-range of expertise, with private and public sector backgrounds spanning from management consulting, clinical medicine, public health, and non-profit organizational management. Together, we address the multi-faceted challenges facing Tanzania’s health system.


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Kira Elbert

Director of Development

Kira joined Touch in 2014, working initially in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania before relocating to the U.S., where she leads the organization’s development and communication efforts. Prior to joining Touch Foundation, Kira held a variety of fundraising and communications roles at SeriousFun Children’s Network. Kira is a graduate of Fordham University, where she majored in international political economics and Spanish.

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Steve Justus

Chief Medical Officer

Steve has been working with Touch since 2008, based both in Mwanza, Tanzania and in the U.S. Steve’s extensive background in emergency medicine and global health informs his work with Touch, which is focused on programmatic development and partner engagement. Prior to joining Touch, Steve, a board certified emergency physician, served for 12 years as the CEO of a multi-specialty physician group in Charlotte, NC. A graduate of the UNC School of Medicine, Steve also holds a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School. Steve received his undergraduate education at Davidson College.

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Noah Leff

Chief Financial Officer

Noah joined Touch in 2012 and is responsible for the oversight and direction of all financial functions. Prior to Touch, Noah was an independent financial management consultant for non-profit and government clients in the New York City area as well as in New Orleans. Noah received his B.A. in international affairs at Wesleyan University and later earned his Master of Public Administration at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs

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Massimiliano Pezzoli

Country Director

Massi joined Touch in 2012 and is based in Mwanza, Tanzania, where he leads Touch’s in-country programs and operations. Prior to joining Touch, Massi served as a Senior Manager at McKinsey & Company, where he focused his work on serving clients from both public and private health institutions. Massi holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an Executive MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management from the London School of Economics, and an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan, Italy.


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Valerio Parisi

Program Director

Valerio joined Touch in 2013 in Mwanza, Tanzania. Valerio manages the implementation and operations of Touch programs. Previously Valerio served as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney and as a Systems Engineer at Alenia North America. Valerio received his Laurea (equivalent to Masters of Science) at the Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’ in Rome, Italy; a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology; and an M.B.A. degree from the Australian Graduate School of Management

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Renae Stafford

Program Director, Academic and Clinical Services

Renae joined the team in 2012 in Mwanza, Tanzania. She is responsible for the development, management, and implementation of programs and partnerships. Renae is a trained surgeon with extensive experience in the U.S. and in Africa. Prior to joining Touch, Renae served as a member of the UNC School of Medicine faculty. Renae earned her M.D. at Emory University, a master’s in healthcare quality and patient safety from Northwestern University, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She received her undergraduate education at Case Western Reserve University.

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Marina Nuri

Program Manager

Marina joined Touch in 2017 as a Program Manager in Mwanza, Tanzania. Previously Marina worked as a Business Investment Manager for Partners in Health in Liberia. Prior to that she held various positions at the consulting firm, Accenture in the US (NY and Washington, D.C.), Tanzania and Russia. Marina also worked as a consultant at the Human Capital Institute in Russia. Marina holds an MBA from the University of Oxford and an MA in International Relations from the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

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Sarah Crawford

Project Manager

Sarah joined Touch Foundation in 2015 in Mwanza, Tanzania. Sarah supports the development, management, and implementation of programs in Tanzania. Prior to joining Touch, Sarah worked as a management consultant for A.T. Kearney, as well as Deloitte Consulting in Melbourne, Australia. Sarah received a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in finance and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Melbourne University.

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Shabani Ally Mbaraka

Program Assistant

Shabani Ally joined Touch in Mwanza in 2013 and is currently working as a Program Assistant. He provides operations and logistical support to the Finance and Program Teams. Shabani is a graduate of Open University of Tanzania and received an Advanced Diploma in Computer Sciences in 2016.

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Sana Alimohamed

Program Analyst

Sana joined Touch in 2017 as a Program Analyst in Mwanza, Tanzania. Sana is also a fellow from the Davidson Impact Fellowship Program at Davidson College in North Carolina, her alma mater. Sana’s previous experience includes working as a researcher for the Psychology Departments at Davidson College and at UC Berkeley; also researching with the Davidson in India Study Abroad Program, the University of Cape Coast Study Abroad Program and the Reading University Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics. Sana graduated Cum Laude from Davidson College with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience.

Development & Communications

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Bianka Patsalos-Fox

Development Associate

Bianka joined Touch in New York in 2015. Bianka’s work is focused on development and communications activities in New York and Tanzania. Bianka graduated from Colby College, where she majored in French studies

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Liz Pavlovich

Business Development Manager

Liz rejoined Touch in 2016 after having volunteered with Touch starting in 2004 and working as a Program Officer based in New York and Tanzania from 2008 to 2010. Currently based in the New York office, her role focuses on partnership and program development. Liz was previously the Senior Program Manager at Amref Health Africa in the USA. Liz holds an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.

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Alison Brundrett

Development Analyst

Alison joined Touch in 2016, based in the New York office. Alison comprehensively supports development and сommunications work at Touch. Prior to Touch, she held roles at the United States Foreign Policy Institute and Oxford Analytica. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in Political Studies and concentration in Global Public Health.

Finance & HR

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Sharlene Frank

Director of HR & Administration

Sharlene joined Touch Foundation in 2016 as the Director of Human Resources and Administration. Prior to Touch, Sharlene worked in the for profit and non-profit/NGO fields. A global HR leader, Sharlene is responsible for leading our talent management, organizational development and change management strategies and initiatives. As a member of SHRM and HRCI, Sharlene is a certified SHRM-SCP, SPHR and GPHR member. Sharlene holds an Executive MPA from NYU and an MBA from Bernard M. Baruch College, CUNY. Sharlene graduated with honors with a B.S. in Human Resource Management from the CUNY B.A. Program.

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Jill Brehm

Senior Program Manager, Finance

Jill joined Touch in 2011, initially based in Mwanza, Tanzania, where she managed program finances and procurement activities in collaboration with our partner organizations. Since 2014, Jill has been supporting the development, implementation, and oversight of our financial, accounting, and procurement systems from New York. Jill holds an M.B.A. and a B.B.A., both in Accounting, from Niagara University.

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Bonaventure Aluta Mlay

Finance and Procurement Manager

Bonaventure joined Touch in Mwanza in 2016 as the Finance and Procurement Manager. His role is to manage the daily financial operations and ensure compliance in our financial and procurement activities. Before joining Touch, Bonnie worked in finance and accounting for a variety of global NGO’s such as Abt Associates, Helen Keller International and World Vision. Bonnie also worked for Africare Tanzania. Bonnie graduated from St. Augustine’s University in Tanzania with a BBA degree in Accounting and also holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration – Finance from St. John’s University in Tanzania.